I have one of those damn things in my house. I've been wanting to
replace it, but I need to research what all else needs to be done in
order to bring it up to code. I know I have to install a second ground
rod, not sure where my water pipe is grounded, when I did a friend's
house I had to add a new ground clamp within a certain distance of the
water supply entrance. Need to map out all the circuits and install
GFCI's and AFCIs where required too.
I suspect there's a lot of old ratty hardware like this left in service
because it's not legal to upgrade just that part.
Just the service panel. When I replaced his, I had to install new ground
rods, and run a new ground from the panel to the water supply pipe, it
was not sufficient to remove the old panel and install the new one,
connected to the existing grounding infrastructure.
That said, I was upgrading the entire service entrance from 100A feeding
a 1950s vintage fuse panel to a modern 200A breaker panel which
required as well a new meter base and mast. In my own case I have a much
newer late 70s breaker panel fed by a 200A underground service so the
existing meter base ought to be adequate.
Thank you for the clarification.
I had an inspector; in a town that I won't name; try to tell me I had
to upgrade the entire wiring plant in a relatives home in the process
of doing a heavy up. The home had been wired with the original Non
Metallic cable that most of us call rag wire. There were no Equipment
Grounding Conductors in any of it. The inspector was not being
arrogant or nasty about it but he seemed to think that was within his
authority. It being a small town he was the only electrical
inspector. I made an appointment to sit down with the towns
solicitor. I laid out the problem I had with the limits on the
inspectors authority and he agreed to look into it. A month later an
informal opinion from the state's office of industrial safety made it
clear that the inspector was out of his depth on what he could and
could not order corrected. The Town's solicitor raised a stink with
the board until they authorized the funds to send all of the town's
inspectors to certification training. The electrical inspector
actually went out of his way to thank me. He had been asking for
certification training for five years he told me. That guy new his
electricity inside out and backwards but the town expected him to know
how to be an inspector without any formal training. In the
intervening twenty plus years every circuit except the first floor
lighting has been rewired with modern cable. What made it possible
for my sisters family to do that was that they could do it gradually.
I've met a lot of really good electricians who are working as
inspectors. Problem with some of them is that as inspectors they were
really good electricians if you know what I mean.
I strongly believe that every state should have a mandatory
certification process for any publicly employed inspector. They also
need progressive appeals process so that inspector mistakes have a
remedy that is not the courts. In one county I've dealt with you have
to crimp sleeve the Equipment Grounding Conductors (EGCs) because
their chief electrical inspector believes he can apply the requirement
for non reversible splices and taps in Grounding Electrode Conductors
to EGCs. Everyone just does it because it is not worth fighting but
it really is a total waste of time and material. Many of the crimp
sleeves are being applied with the wrong tool and make a lot poorer
connection then a well applied Green wire nut would. Cest le vie.
Wow, what a mess.
The fuse panel I replaced was also a mess. I found a 30A fuse screwed
into a circuit wired with #14. The fuse was so hot I couldn't hold my
finger on it, and the insulation was starting to sag on the wire near
the fuse block. The circuit ran the entire basement and had an extra
refrigerator on it. It was a big job to replace everything and I think I
ended up adding seven additional branch circuits to the house but it's a
much nicer and safer setup than before. I left the old un-grounded "rag
wire" as you call them circuits in place, it was not remotely practical
to completely replace them, however I unloaded them to the extent I
could by adding additional circuits to new receptacles in places that
My own panel is not nearly so bad, it's just old, physically small, has
that stupid split main setup, and it's full. My garage has only one
receptacle in it and really needs more, and I'd like a 240V circuit out
there too so replacing the panel seems the logical place to start. I
don't know where my water main is currently grounded, that could
potentially be the biggest nightmare since it does not come in near the
Very good. I usually divide a room in two 10 A (230 V) lightning circuits,
plus at least one 16 A receptacle, and a couple 10 A receptacles (remember,
it's EU so all 230 V). Here, the breaker panel comes void, and you install
as many breakers as you like, I usually install the pilux dion, a greek
brand of panels, steel painted white. It goes without saying, that the 16 A
receptacle is pigtailed, and I *try* to pigtail as much as possible. In new
residences all conduits pass through the floor, in "duroflex" medium
endurance conduits (www.kouvidis.gr again), and then a layer of concrete is
poured on the floor, also all hot and cold water pipes and water central
heating, too. You should see one house here, where gypsies live, you
wouldn't believe, most of them. When my friend renovated, we teared most of
the walls down, and seizing the chance I changed all conduits, and installed
as many circuits as possible, 14 IIRC plus one for the stove and one for the
electric hot water heater (that's a small house,only 30 m^2, 3 rooms and a
bathroom, 35 A service, at 230 V).
major in electrical engineering
Switches need only be adequate for the load that they control. It is
very common in US practice to use ten ampere switches on fifteen
ampere circuits and there is nothing wrong with that as long as the
load to be controlled does not exceed the rating of the switch.
Switches controlling receptacle outlets should never be less than the
rating of the circuit because the cord and plug connected load could
well be the entire ampacity of the circuit.
404.14 Rating and Use of Snap Switches.
Snap switches shall be used within their ratings and as indicated in
404.14(A) through (D).
(A) Alternating Current General-Use Snap Switch. A form of general-use
snap switch suitable only for use on ac circuits for controlling the
(1) Resistive and inductive loads, including electric-discharge lamps,
not exceeding the ampere rating of the switch at the voltage
(2) Tungsten-filament lamp loads not exceeding the ampere rating of
the switch at 120 volts
(3) Motor loads not exceeding 80 percent of the ampere rating of the
switch at its rated voltage
(B) Alternating-Current or Direct-Current General-Use Snap Switch. A
form of general-use snap switch suitable for use on either ac or dc
circuits for controlling the following:
(1) Resistive loads not exceeding the ampere rating of the switch at
the voltage applied.
(2) Inductive loads not exceeding 50 percent of the ampere rating of
the switch at the applied voltage. Switches rated in horsepower are
suitable for controlling motor loads within their rating at the
(3) Tungsten-filament lamp loads not exceeding the ampere rating of
the switch at the applied voltage if T-rated.
1) I picket it up at a BIG BOX hardware store (Lowe's)
2) Brand name seems to be "Cooper Wiring Devices." VGFS15V-M-L
3) Made in China (Red China, I suppose)
4) The device itself isn't marked with a model number, etc. (I guess it's
marketed thru several different companies.)
When I wired my bath 25 years ago I put the outlet and lights (which had
outlets on them) on a switch. The circuit is Switch -> GFCI -> Lights.
This was done so the outlets on the lights would be GFCI protected. It has
worked well for 25 years with no false trips.
You are close but what I'm thinking may be the reason could have to
do with the way a GFCI works. If you short the neutral and ground
on a GFCI outlet, the GFCI will trip. If power were to accidentally
energize the neutral on the circuit that the GFCI outlet is on and
the power to the electronic control is off, the outlet would not
trip. A GFCI will trip under all fault conditions, not just power
to ground. You should try to trip one by shorting the neutral to
ground and you'll see what I mean.
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