[ale] OT: Running computers in an older home (read older circuitry)

Greg Freemyer freemyer-ml at NorcrossGroup.com
Thu Feb 19 12:33:26 EST 2004

On Thu, 2004-02-19 at 11:36, John Wells wrote:
> Guys,
> My wife and I have found a house here in Greensboro we really like, but I have a few concerns.  The house is approx. 54 years old, with an addition on the back that's approx. 15-20 years old.  The addition has grounded, three prong outlets, but the front portion of the house, where my "office" would be, have the older two pronged, non-grounded outlets.
> On a given day, I run a 120 mhz firewall/router, a 900 mhz Athlon, a 2200XP+ Athlon (1800mhz) with a lot of components, and a 2.0 Ghz laptop pretty much 24/7.
> What are the concerns with going into a house like this with my power usage?  I do know that it's on a circuit breaker system...not fuse box.  And I plan on having an electrician come in a replace one outlet with a grounded, dedicated circuit so my computers will all plug into this outlet.
> Anything I'm missing or not considering?  I've never purchased a home with old wiring so I'm a little wary, but we're probably putting an offer in today.  I know that grounding all outlets in the house will probably be pretty darned expensive, so if I don't have to, I don't want to!
> Let me know asap if you have any comments/suggestions.  Thanks guys!
> John
> _______________________________________________
> Ale mailing list
> Ale at ale.org
> http://www.ale.org/mailman/listinfo/ale

I don't know how much you know about electrical outlets, but it should
not be that bad.

On a normal 3-prong outlet you have hot, neutral, and ground.

Believe it or not, neutral and ground are normally tied together at the
circuit panel box, So they are really the same thing, although they may
vary by a couple of volts in a new house.  

ie. If you have current flowing thru the neutral conductor, the
resistence of the wire itself will give it a little voltage.  Since the
ground conductor does not have any current flowing, it will be at true
ground voltage.

I would replace all of your 2-prong outlets with 3-prong throughout the
house..  Then connect your neutral wire (should be white) to both the
neutral and the ground prongs.

I have forgotten which prong is hot, and which is nuetral.  You can
google for it.  I think it is also on the outlet instructions.

The most important thing is to buy a $10 outlet tester from Radio
Shack.  It will tell you if you (or the electrician) have screwed up.

You simply plug it into the outlet and it lights up if you have things

Also, do that testing yourself before the electrician leaves.

Electricians often reverse the hot and neutral lines because they don't
realize how important it is for electronics to get it right.  And in
this case reversing them will put 120V on what you think is the ground


More information about the Ale mailing list