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#54478 - 07/29/05 05:09 PM why not use the ground in a romex as a neutral?
Joey D Offline
Member
Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 259
Loc: Arlington MA U.S.
I was asked this today due to a wrong spec on a job. The shade company required a 12-2 romex at each window shade location for power, so I did it. I went there today to start the install and reading the shade info it needs a 12-3 romex to work. The shade guy wants to use the ground conductor as a neutral and I told him no way no how. I am just thinking now though what is the real reason behind this. Safty because no ground? The current on the neutral now is not insulated on it's return trip?
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#54479 - 07/29/05 05:15 PM Re: why not use the ground in a romex as a neutral?
e57 Offline
Member
Registered: 05/27/03
Posts: 2876
Loc: S.F.,CA USA
"Safty because no ground? The current on the neutral now is not insulated on it's return trip?"

YES
And
YES (Could also cause ground / neutral contact in a metalic box - after the main.)
_________________________
Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
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#54480 - 07/29/05 05:19 PM Re: why not use the ground in a romex as a neutral?
e57 Offline
Member
Registered: 05/27/03
Posts: 2876
Loc: S.F.,CA USA
Oh, been in this situation before...

If its you fault... Look into romote control ones, cheaper than re-finish sometimes.

Not your fault, T&M C/O!
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Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
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#54481 - 07/29/05 05:24 PM Re: why not use the ground in a romex as a neutral?
HotLine1 Offline


Member
Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6778
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
OK, the bare conductor will be carrying the current as you said, and basically be "live" to a grounded object, box, etc; or a person.

YES it is a saftey issue, yes, it is NOT NEC compliant, and yes you are 100% right saying 'no way'.

I have seen instances where EMT was used as the 'neutral' for a 30 amp, 120 volt circuit that consisted of ONE 'hot' conductor. Yes, it worked, but the setscrew couplings were not tightened properly and started arcing. It almost caused a fire, as the EMT was installed on a wall that had clothing racks mounted on it.

Some of the 'old timers' used to say "gyp the ground" when you had a 'open' neutral to restore the circuit; heck I saw BX armour that was 'live' arcing on suspended ceiling grid.

You're right; illegal, unsafe, and not to be done.

John
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John
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#54482 - 07/29/05 06:09 PM Re: why not use the ground in a romex as a neutral?
ShockMe77 Offline
Member
Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 821
Loc: Rahway, New Jersey
Oh, what the heck, as long as it works, right?

*rollseyes

What "electrician" walks away from a job thinking it's ok to use EMT as the grounded conductor?
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#54483 - 07/29/05 07:03 PM Re: why not use the ground in a romex as a neutral?
dmattox Offline
Member
Registered: 10/20/04
Posts: 265
Loc: Anaheim, CA
Er, misread something

[This message has been edited by dmattox (edited 07-29-2005).]
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#54484 - 07/30/05 03:32 AM Re: why not use the ground in a romex as a neutral?
Joey D Offline
Member
Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 259
Loc: Arlington MA U.S.
I know not to do it and will get paid to fix it. The shade system is part of a larger system that is all tied together for controlling lighting, video and sound systems so doing anything but snaking in new cables will not work.
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#54485 - 07/30/05 03:55 AM Re: why not use the ground in a romex as a neutral?
iwire Offline
Moderator
Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4391
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
Quote:
I know not to do it and will get paid to fix it.


Good choice.

Do not listen to "The Shade Guy" he is not NEC trained and he is not on the hook if the electrical portion of the shades causes a problem.

Would you tell him how to hang drapes?
_________________________
Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Massachusetts
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#54486 - 07/30/05 03:55 AM Re: why not use the ground in a romex as a neutral?
Joe Tedesco Offline
Member
Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 2749
Loc: Boston, Massachusetts USA
Because, 334.108 Equipment Grounding.

In addition to the insulated conductors, the cable shall have an insulated or bare conductor for equipment grounding purposes only.
_________________________
Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant
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#54487 - 07/30/05 03:15 PM Re: why not use the ground in a romex as a neutral?
Joey D Offline
Member
Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 259
Loc: Arlington MA U.S.
Thanks guys. I know not to do it just wanted to make sure I was right in my reasons, besides the code.
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