UPS saying building wiring fault - no ground?

Hello. I just purchased a UPS and the light on the back which says building wiring fault is lit. Power works correctly and everything seems fine. I
opened the outlet and saw 2 wires coming into the metal box, each with 2 wires (black and white). Nothing was connected to the ground so Im thinking the problem is probably due to lack of ground? I searched around on the internet for a simple fix, and some said that if the box was grounded then you just run a wire to the back of the box. The cables coming into the box look like snakeskin with paper insulation inside and its very thick and solid. Its in great shape for wires put in place in the 1950's. It feels almost like metal, but its not. And so it probably cant be used as a conductor of electricity to use for ground. Im looking for a quick fix here. I was reading about GFCI outlets but those appear to not be appropriate for surges as you still need a true ground.
Is there any device that one could buy to create the same effect as a ground connection? I dont want to hire an electrician spending big bucks to fix this problem as I only really need it for one outlet. Cold water pipe isnt available near the area, only a hot water baseboard heating pipe, but thats not appropriate for ground.
Were 3 prong outlets allowed to be installed with no ground under any electrical codes in the past? Im assuming that whoever bought the house originally replaced the outlets but never added the grounds.
So anyways, its either I live with the problem of lack of true ground or find some way that wont require hiring an electrician to ground the outlet. I can install outlets if the wiring is in place, or connect wires to the outlet box, but cant do the rest. Just for safety sake because of lack of ground I may put in the GFCI outlet if I cant get a true ground so at least Ill have something.
Any suggestions here?
Thanks.
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If you have access to the outlet you can just run a number twelve green or bare wire from the outlet box back to the panel that supplies it. Is there an unfinished basement below or an unfinished attic above? You can also run a ground wire behind or under the baseboards back to the to the panel that supplies the circuit or to the grounding electrode system for the home.
Unless you can closely follow the original cables routing the impedance of your new Equipment Grounding conductor will be somewhat high although it will be quite adequate for human safety. If you want to protect the electronic devices in your home you will need to add a transient voltage surge suppresser at your service equipment. -- Tom
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The problem is Im on the 3rd floor and wiring job would be messy. Im not worried about the human element of safety from ground since that would be taken care of by a GFCI circuit. Would a transient voltage supresser be appropriate for an ungrounded installation in conjunction with a GFCI circuit and would this be similar to a true grounded connection although not identical. Or do I have no choice but to add a true ground?

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Do you have a 240v outlet in your apartmernt? (stove, dryer, water heater or A/C) There should be a ground there.
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There are 120v grounded outlets in the house, but not in the room where I want to use the computer so there are grounds somewhere. Wiring in the basement was done in the 1970s as basement was finished and has grounds. Also there are grounds in the upstairs and downstairs extensions. But the problem is where the computer is there are no grounds. I was looking for a quick fix, maybe if there was a device I could buy to simulate a true ground to get rid of electricity so that if theres a surge, it doesnt go back into my computer because theres no ground. I looked at GFCI outlets, but thats really not the same thing, only appropriate if your worried about lack of ground for safety. So I guess as for now unless theres a way I can add the equivalent of a ground using a special type of receptacle/outlet to simulate a ground, Ill have to keep the computer at risk since adding new grounds/wiring isnt an option unless it only involves the area where the outlet is itself. .

or
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Adam Julius wrote:

Put in a whole house surge suppressor at your panel.
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Run a wire from a "good ground" to your PC or just extend one of those circuits.
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I am still waiting for why you 'need' a ground. Human safety? If the GFCI is sufficient, then why do you need the third prong safety ground?
For proper operation of interconnected electronics? Yes, all interconnected electronics require a single point ground (not to be confused with earth ground) to avoid intermittent failures, and in some rare cases, to avoid electronics damage. But you did not ask about this.
For transient protection? That receptacle safety ground is too far to be an effective component in transient protection which is why effective transient protection connects less than 10 feet to earth ground at the service entrance - 'whole house' protector. For transient protection, wire length is critical. Receptacle ground would be too far, have too many splices, contain too many sharp bends, would be bundled with other wires therefore creating induced transients, and still may not be connected to an all so critical single point earth ground. No earth ground means no effective transient protection meaning that receptacle ground is not for transient protection.
So why do you need that receptacle safety ground?
In the meantime, your post causes worry. Grounding to water pipes or baseboard heating pipes is not legal nor desirable. Connections to pipes are only for removing electricity. No wire should ever dump electricity into pipes - water or gas. Furthermore, receptacle grounding must have a dedicated electrical path directly to ground bus inside main disconnection box. Any connection not dedicated to electrical safety grounding is unacceptable as an electrical ground connection.
Yes, there are good reasons why your computer should have the third prong ground. And that means running a dedicated wire from that outlet to make a dedicated connection to breaker box safety ground as Tom Horne originally posted. No way around those requirements which is why, if third prong ground is that important, then an electrician may be the cheapest alternative. Be surprised how simple and quick that electrician installs acceptable grounding wire.
Of course, your building probably requires its earthing system to be upgraded to meet post 1990 NEC requirement - necessary both for human safety and to make the 'whole house' protector effective. In which case, you may need the electrician to install that essential earthing and 'whole house' protector anyway.
Adam Julius wrote:

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Thanks to all for your responces.
I guess my alternative is just to leave everything as is for now till I get an electrician in to do work in the future and then Ill have the grounds and everything done.
In terms of the NEC code for grounding, if an extension was built in the back of the house after 1990 and a new sprinkler system added as well, would that have meant that the grounding would have been changed and how would I check visually to tell?

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If it was inspected it should be a grounded wiring method. You could look at the cable it was installed with. I don't think there was ever an ungrounded Romex in plastic, but it should say "... /w ground" on the jacket.
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I assume you are asking about the earth ground (since you don't say which ground is questioned). That post 1990 grounding requirement would mean a bare copper wire (about 4 AWG or 1/4 inch diameter) would leave breaker box for an 8' ground rod located outside, near breaker box, and in the earth. Visual inspection would be necessary to confirm that earth ground was installed.
Adding new circuits normally would not require breaker box earthing to be upgraded. But then this might be subject to a different interpretation of the electrical inspector - if your jurisdiction even has electrical inspectors.
Does an earth ground even exist? Again, only visual inspection can say. Those three light receptacle testers do not and could not report the existence of any properly installed ground - earth or safety. They can only report a defective safety ground.
Adam Julius wrote:

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Did you ever think to call a qualified electrician?!?

building
thinking
box
ground
isnt
thats
outlet.
least
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It could be that your building's live/neutral wires have been reversed somewhere.
wrote:

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Reversed? Are you smoking dope?!?

building
thinking
then
box
feels
ground
isnt
thats
outlet.
of
least
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I have experienced this before. If the live and neutral wires are the other way round, it will still power most AC appliances because it's Alternating Current. However sensitive devices like UPS are able to detect the reversed input and thus produce a warning.
wrote:

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Brian Su wrote:

Hot/neutral reversal is a fairly common problem, and you don't even need sensitive circuitry to detect it. The problem is common enough that they sell those little three lite testers to test for it. You can buy them the hardware store for less than 10 bucks.
The OP's UPS had the "building wiring fault" light lit. That could be due to either hot/neutral reversal, as you said, or missing ground. The other Brian who posted "Reversed? Are you smoking dope?!?" in response to your suggestion that live/neutral could be reversed hasn't got a clue.
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My TripLite surge strips detect L/N swaps too. It is not unusual.
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That is why I'm saying this guy's warning light might be a L/N swap instead of an earthing problem
On 19 Dec 2003 18:59:41 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Greg) wrote:

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