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how to ground my PC and iMac in an old house?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by constantgamer247, May 3, 2014.

  1. constantgamer247 New Member

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    Currently I am renting in an old house in Canada, which only has two pronged outlets. I have no clue if there is a grounding wire or romex sheath behind the socket or not; I have an electrician coming soon to take a look at it.

    The solution is probably going to be to install a GFCI plug. In the event that I cannot have the GFCI plug grounded... is there any way to ground my PC. The house is all linoleum and hardwood, so no carpet; but the winters get pretty dry and last like 8 months (8 months of winter, 4 months of bad sledding). I'm concerned about my computers getting damaged by ESD. I have an old 24" 2006 iMac, and my linux box is mounted in an Antec 302 case Is there anyway I can ground them? An ESD mat? What safety precautions should I take? Touch a door knob before I touch my keyboards? Touch something else metal before I touch my case or open it up. What are my options?
     
  2. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    An electrician should be able to run grounding wires up to the outlets that you need them on and install 3 prong sockets. The grounding wires will usually connect to the cold water pipes in the basement/crawl space.
     
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  3. cheesy999

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    Well i believe the ground is normally a metal rod to the ground, so it's probably unlikely you cannot get it grounded
     
  4. blobster21

    blobster21

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    While it may look a little bit overkill, you could connect your mac and your PC network cards to a 15$ NETGEAR 10/100 switch using FTP ethernet cables.
    Then in turn, you would connect the little ground outlet located on the back of this switch to a non-painted metallic surface located somewhere else in the house.
    Sorry, couldn't come up with something more simple to properly ground your equipments.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. hat

    hat Enthusiast

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    I always used something like this before I had actual 3 prong outlets... you're supposed to unscrew the plate off the outlet, put the adapter in and put the screw back in through that metal tab on the adapter. How effective this is I don't know...

    [​IMG]
     
  6. constantgamer247 New Member

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    I seriously doubt the safety of cheater plugs.
     
  7. thebluebumblebee

    thebluebumblebee

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    If the outlets aren't grounded, this will not work.
    +1 Except that the water system is no longer an accepted ground. When I rewired parts of my house a few years back, I had to replace the "water ground" with 2 8 foot grounding rods driven into the ground 10 feet apart.
    Sorry, but there is no cheap solution. This is a major safety issue and needs to be fixed correctly.
     
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  8. constantgamer247 New Member

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    what's the average cost to install a grounding wire? Can that be done without cutting up the walls?
     
  9. thebluebumblebee

    thebluebumblebee

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    There are too many unknowns. Wait for the electrician.
     
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  10. constantgamer247 New Member

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    Okay, I got a volt meter, and check the socket. There is a hot wire, a neutral wire and no ground. The metal box the receptacle is in, is not grounded either. An electrician is coming to check and see if it can be grounded to a water pipe or something. Part of me just wants to drive grounding rods outside and run a grounding wire out the window to them.

    I found this: dangers of un-grounding your PC, online and am wondering if it's good enough to say F*** it and install an ungrounded GFCI and use a surge protector on that. The GFCI simulates a ground right, and will trip incase a ground is detected? The biggest thing I worry about from that document is the PSU going wonky or "leakage current voltage in case" that would make my case electrified. I have an antec 302. Does anyone know about/use their computer ungrounded?
     
  11. thebluebumblebee

    thebluebumblebee

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    How can you install a GFCI without a ground?
    Is it legal where you live to rent/let a residence with wiring like that house has?
    At least you don't have an AT form factor computer. It was replaced by ATX. In an AT, wall current ran to the power switch!
     
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  12. constantgamer247 New Member

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    yep, the code here is to replace 2 pronged outlets with GFCI outlets when you can't install a 3 pronged grounded outlet. The Other option here is to ground a 3 pronged outlet to a copper water pipe

    & nope, the place I am renting is technically illegal as it's not up to the current electrical codes.
     
  13. Arctucas

    Arctucas

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    If you are renting, I believe it is the landlords responsibility to bring the building up to code. Why would you want to pay the bill?
     
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  14. Arctucas

    Arctucas

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    A GFCI senses, through the integral current coil, an unbalanced current on the grounded phase conductor (neutral).

    As with any other device with a grounding conductor, a ground wire only carries current during a fault condition, as when the ungrounded phase conductor (hot) energizes the metal chassis of an appliance, for example.
     
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  15. silentbogo

    silentbogo

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    You may want to check the wiring behind outlets. Back in a day I did some remodelling in my old apartment in Ukraine, and the ground wire was connected to the outlet casing or not connected at all, since old sockets had no ground connection. Same thing was with light fixtures.

    To all that was already said I can add another option:
    Ask around for an old voltage stabilizer box. Usually it has a ground connector on the back, so you can either attach a copper rod(80cm or longer) and stick it at least 2m underground, or hook it up to a water pipe. It will be a good solution, if you only need this for 1 location.
     
  16. constantgamer247 New Member

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    On the other side of one of my walls is a stove, and on the stove is a 3 pronged outlet...
    When I test the hot to ground it reads 120V ac, I'm hoping that the stove is grounded and that my socket on the wall behind it can be grounded to its ground.
     
  17. constantgamer247 New Member

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    Yah, I may call a building inspector to come check this out, and crack the whip with my landlord.
     
  18. Norton

    Norton WCG-TPU Team Captain

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    In Canada and the United States, two-wire (ungrounded) (NEMA-1) outlets may be replaced with GFCIs to protect against electrocution, and a grounding wire does not need to be supplied to that GFCI. The outlet must be labeled as such. The GFCI manufacturers provide tags for the appropriate installation description. GFCI receptacles can be connected to also protect all the downstream receptacles on that circuit.

    Source:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GFCI#North_America
     
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  19. constantgamer247 New Member

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    Yep, that's the exact info I found when I looked into it. Unfortunately life's not worth living when your computer dies, so a socket that'll protect me but not my computer is less than Ideal.
     
  20. Norton

    Norton WCG-TPU Team Captain

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    GFCI for people is more stringent than for devices (read paragraph below the first one):

    In Canada and the United States, two-wire (ungrounded) (NEMA-1) outlets may be replaced with GFCIs to protect against electrocution, and a grounding wire does not need to be supplied to that GFCI. The outlet must be labeled as such. The GFCI manufacturers provide tags for the appropriate installation description. GFCI receptacles can be connected to also protect all the downstream receptacles on that circuit.

    GFCI devices approved for protection against electric shock trip at 5 mA within 25 ms. A GFCI device which protects equipment (not people) is allowed to trip as high as 30 mA of current; this is known as an Equipment Protective Device (EPD). "RCDs" with trip currents as high as 500 mA are sometimes deployed in environments (such as computing centers) where a lower threshold would carry an unacceptable risk of accidental trips. These high-current RCDs serve for equipment and fire protection instead of protection against the risks of electrical shocks
    .

    A GFCI should protect you and your equipment according to the above

    EDIT- Just don't use a surge protector with the GFCI outlet- it will cancel out any protection from the ungrounded GFCI
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2014
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  21. constantgamer247 New Member

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    how can you effectively protect anything without a ground? where is excess electricity going to be diverted to?
     
  22. Frogger

    Frogger

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    Most stoves run on 220v with a 4 prong plug , ground , common, 2x120v lines. Unless the House is Real old. What part of the Great White North are you in??
     
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  23. Divide Overflow

    Divide Overflow

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    You might want to check out your local hardware / home improvement store for a self-grounding outlet. They are inexpensive and work fairly well.
     
  24. constantgamer247 New Member

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    Calgary, house is circa 1950.
     
  25. Frogger

    Frogger

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    How's the snow:laugh:
    Send my electrician bud a text ...he says the GFI plug will work ,the board in it kills the power when a short is found..grounded or not. He also said that you could connect the ground from the GFI to a cold water pipe with a piece of 12 or 16 gauge copper wire as an added precaution.
    Should work until you can see about a Grounded line from the box , but that could mean $$$$
     
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