(submitted via Joe Tedesco)
Please see the attached sketch.

I was asked to review the attached installation that had been installed by a licensed electrician. I came to the conclusion that he had connected up the attached outlet wrong, since the hot socket on the wall outlet would be the small prong. So I redid it as per the attached sketch.

I believe the manufacturer of the wall outlet was the one responsible for the error. He should have installed the socket with the ground on the bottom, but since there were four of these in a row, it was not just a manufacturing error, but probably a design error from the factory.

A little background; The switched outlets were purchased by "xxxxxxx", a charitable agency that has designed miniature water purification plants for use in developing countries. They bought the pumps, filters, ozonator, and switchbox.

Our church group, xxxxxx, preassembled the package in xxxxx, broke it down and carried it on the airline to Guatemala.

The installation team then cut and glued the piping system together.

Doing the electrical work meant connecting to the existing power system that had been brought into the room. The two wall outlets were ungrounded outlets, but they did have polarity, judging from the size of the holes. The two outlets were opposite polarity. The breaker serving the two outlets was a 20 amp breaker, but it also served a ½ hp well pump, and both the breaker and the well pump were 50 yards away. No way to bring a separate ground.

The two wires to the outlets were embedded directly in the concrete and were single 12 ga conductors that looked like N insulation. Both were blue.

So we drove a ground rod, and set up a grounding system with 8 ga bare wire to the box and connected neutral and ground together. I found the blue neutral and grounded it to get rid of the 0.2 volt difference between our ground and the neutral. I couldn't find a separate ground on the main breaker box 50 yards away.

Then I looked at these switched outlets and decided we had a real problem since the pump motors didn't look like double insulated motors.

That's when I decided we needed to rewire the switched outlets.

At any rate, the switched outlets looked like a manufacturing assembly error. Turning the outlet upside down saved the manufacturer about an inch of ground wire inside each device. I guess if you are a third world manufacturer??

The two screws on the left hand side of the device are black. The ground screw is green, the upper right screw gold, and the lower right screw silver, so I can see how the first electrician would hook it up the way he did.

Does the device, as supplied, meet the code? I believe it does not, if for no other reason, it does not have a manufacturer's name on it. I didn't think to look for a UL stamp.

If you want to get into this, I can probably get a sample of the outlet from xxxx. I am going to file a complaint with them, since they supplied the switched outlets along with instructions as to how to install them.

It was an interesting project. We also took a training team along to teach the locals how to use pure water and the advantages of it. We hope it will improve the health of the entire community.

Dave XXX
yyy & zzz Engineering Co.
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[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited 03-26-2005).]