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why not use the ground in a romex as a neutral? #54478
07/29/05 08:09 PM
07/29/05 08:09 PM
J
Joey D  Offline OP
Member
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 259
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?

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: why not use the ground in a romex as a neutral? #54479
07/29/05 08:15 PM
07/29/05 08:15 PM
E
e57  Offline
Member
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
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
Re: why not use the ground in a romex as a neutral? #54480
07/29/05 08:19 PM
07/29/05 08:19 PM
E
e57  Offline
Member
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
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!


Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
Re: why not use the ground in a romex as a neutral? #54481
07/29/05 08:24 PM
07/29/05 08:24 PM
HotLine1  Offline

Member
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,986
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


John
Re: why not use the ground in a romex as a neutral? #54482
07/29/05 09:09 PM
07/29/05 09:09 PM
S
ShockMe77  Offline
Member
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 821
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?

Re: why not use the ground in a romex as a neutral? #54483
07/29/05 10:03 PM
07/29/05 10:03 PM
D
dmattox  Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 265
Anaheim, CA
Er, misread something

[This message has been edited by dmattox (edited 07-29-2005).]

Re: why not use the ground in a romex as a neutral? #54484
07/30/05 06:32 AM
07/30/05 06:32 AM
J
Joey D  Offline OP
Member
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 259
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.

Re: why not use the ground in a romex as a neutral? #54485
07/30/05 06:55 AM
07/30/05 06:55 AM
I
iwire  Offline
Moderator
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
North Attleboro, MA USA
Quote
I know not to do it and will get paid to fix it.


Good choice. [Linked Image]

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
Re: why not use the ground in a romex as a neutral? #54486
07/30/05 06:55 AM
07/30/05 06:55 AM
Joe Tedesco  Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,749
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
Re: why not use the ground in a romex as a neutral? #54487
07/30/05 06:15 PM
07/30/05 06:15 PM
J
Joey D  Offline OP
Member
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 259
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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