Red and black wires

I have a older outlet that I'm replacing with a newer style. My outlet has 2 wires a red and black one what side does each go to I have no ground wire. The house is probably 80 years old with old wiring
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On 6/3/2017 12:44 PM, Raymond wrote:

Old wiring can be hit or miss. Black is usually the hot and the other neutral. Use a tester to be sure.
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On Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 12:44:05 PM UTC-4, Raymond wrote:

I'd test it using a meter or test light. Between one wire and a ground point, eg cold water pipe, you should have 120V. That is the hot. The other may show some lesser voltage. The hot wire goes to the receptacle side with the smaller opening, typically brass screw on that side too.
You could also pull off the cover on the panel and see where the reds and blacks land there.
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Raymond-
I assume you are in the U.S., working with a 120 Volt outlet. My first thought would be that Black was hot and Red was neutral. But because of the age of your wiring, you can not be sure without performing some kind of test or looking at which wire is connected to the fuse at the fuse box.
There is a neon test light available, made with a neon bulb in series with a high value ballast resistor. Its two "test leads" would normally be plugged into an outlet. The neon bulb would light if there was power in the outlet. You can also use such a test light to see which of the outlet's wires is hot. You hold one of the two test leads in your hand, and touch the other lead to one of the wires. The hot wire will cause the neon bulb to glow dimly. Reference: <http://www.thecircuitdetective.com/neon_circuit_testers.htm
In modern outlet wiring, the hot wire is connected to the brass-colored terminal (Narrow Slot). The neutral wire is connected to the silver-colored terminal (Wide Slot).
Fred
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Why are you replacing the receptacle? Does the old receptacle not firmly hold a plug in it, or are you changing it so it will accommodate a newer plug with a ground? If the latter, by code you must add a ground wire. That could get difficult and/or expensive for the novice very quickly.
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On Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 2:01:08 PM UTC-4, Gordon Shumway wrote:

That's not true. It's code compliant to replace an old two wire, ungrounded receptacle with a 3 wire grounded type receptacle as long as it's protected by an upstream GFCI and marked as "GFCI protected, no eqpt ground".
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On 6/3/2017 2:09 PM, trader_4 wrote:

Nonsense, just bond the neutral to the ground. It all lands on the neutral/ground buss in the panel anyway.
Yah, I know, code requires a separate ground wire but that's just a distinction without a difference.
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On Sunday, June 4, 2017 at 9:43:43 AM UTC-4, Megg A. Hertz wrote:

There are real and significant differences, some of which have been discussed here. And as I just pointed out, in this application code doesn't require a separate ground, a gfci is permissible. Too cheap to buy one gfci for a circuit?
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On 6/4/2017 5:05 PM, trader_4 wrote:

Why waste hundreds of feet of copper when a 1 inch jumper from neutral to ground screw can solve the problem? A 30-40 amp stove or dryer doesn't need a separate ground so neither does a 20 amp outlet.
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wrote:

If you swap the neutral and an ungrounded conductor, the stove or dryer will not work. If someone swaps the neutral and ungrounded conductor on a 120v circuit, everything still works, until someone gets killed because the frame of the equipment is 120v above ground.
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On 6/4/2017 7:51 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

who said "swap"?
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On Sun, 4 Jun 2017 20:05:23 -0700, Taxed and Spent

It happens a lot, particularly on old 2 wire systems. Before polarized plugs became the norm (~1970s), it was not even important to keep the hot and neutral straight. When I was a kid, there was no silver screw on the receptacles in our house and both slots were the same size. (house built in the 40s)
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On 6/5/2017 10:30 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

but that was not what was being discussed here.
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On Mon, 5 Jun 2017 10:38:02 -0700, Taxed and Spent

If you went to one of those houses and bootlegged a neutral/ground connection, that is exactly what we are talking about. If the ground is present (50s and later), why bother?
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On Mon, 5 Jun 2017 10:38:02 -0700, Taxed and Spent

Are you certain?
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On 06/05/2017 12:30 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:
[snip]

IIRC the only place I've seen non-polarized 120V plugs or receptacles recently is on miniature holiday lights. Maybe that's to keep you from using the receptacle on the end of the string for anything but another light string.
--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.us/
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wrote:

I have some old stuff with switches or lamp holders in them that have nonpolarized plugs. That is pretty much worst case. I also found a couple of 18ga non-polarized extension cords in my mom's stuff. I put them in with the christmas stuff, just for those cheap lights with 20-22 ga wire.
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On Monday, June 5, 2017 at 5:48:36 PM UTC-4, Mark Lloyd wrote:

Cell phone/iPad chargers
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On Mon, 5 Jun 2017 19:35:24 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

... or anything that is not polarity sensitive. The cheap christmas lights get away with it because there is no switches or lamp holders with a "shell". The chargers are polarity agnostic too since they simply feed an isolation transformer or a switching power supply. Most electronics are the same way these days.
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On Monday, June 5, 2017 at 11:30:18 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

What sucks is when you are up on a ladder attempting to connect one string to another only to find that the plug from one set *is* polarized but the socket is not.
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