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OT: Safe to Run CFL's on 2-wire 110VAC?

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Norman Willis
OT: Safe to Run CFL's on 2-wire 110VAC?
on Jul 6, 2015 at 3:53:30 am
Last Edited By Norman Willis on Jul 6, 2015 at 4:06:00 am

OT: I moved to a new space which has only three (3) each 110VAC 15AMP 3-wire circuits (laundry room, kitchen, and office). I can run 2-wire power cords to the studio (to power my computers, TriCaster 'n things, as they all need true grounds), but I was wondering if I truly need 3-wire power for my CFL light heads? Or can I just use a 3-to-2-prong adapter?

The only reason I ask is that they used to run fluorescents ungrounded back in the 1960's, so I am wondering if the ground is unnecessary on the CFL heads? Or is there some hidden circuit-card inside the CFL light head itself, to where it will fry if it doesn't have a true ground?

Also, do LED's need 3-wire? Or do they run fine on 2-wire? The brand is PBL MXFlo. Thanks.

Norman Willis
http://www.nazareneisrael.org


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Stephen Mann
Re: OT: Safe to Run CFL's on 2-wire 110VAC?
on Jul 6, 2015 at 4:05:46 am

You don't need the ground wire. If there is no exposed metal which would be connected to the ground wire, then your risk is very minimal.

Steve Mann
MannMade Digital Video
http://www.mmdv.com


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Norman Willis
Re: OT: Safe to Run CFL's on 2-wire 110VAC?
on Jul 6, 2015 at 5:30:51 am

Thanks.

Norman Willis
http://www.nazareneisrael.org


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Norman Willis
Re: OT: Safe to Run CFL's on 2-wire 110VAC?
on Jul 15, 2015 at 6:24:44 am

Stephen, you may have answered this already, but I have a 40" Sony HDTV that has a 2-wire plug. Interestingly, I also have a Samsung HD-260 monitor has a standard 3-prong plug. Does that mean the Samsung needs 3 wire? Or have they just given it a 3-wire plug (when a 2-wire adapter would be fine)?

I know a CPU needs a reference ground. I was surprised to realize that my Sony 40" HDTV only requires 2-wire.

Norman Willis
http://www.nazareneisrael.org


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Stephen Mann
Re: OT: Safe to Run CFL's on 2-wire 110VAC?
on Jul 15, 2015 at 1:51:43 pm

If there is any metal that you can touch, then the third prong is probably mandated. Your Sony TV is likely all plastic on the outside. The third, longer prong is for safety. It does not carry any current in normal use. If it does then you have a ground fault. If the device is plugged into a GFI outlet (Ground Fault Interrupter) then just a few microamps of current on this wire will open the circuit. GFI receptacles are required in wet environments like the bathrooms, kitchen and outdoor outlets.

If you have an older home with only two-blade receptacles, you should consider an upgrade. Most home fires are electrical in origin, and the upgrade is a selling feature. If you're lucky the outlets are wired with 3/14 or 3/12 Romex cable. All you need to do then is replace the receptacle. (Make sure the ground wire is really connected to a ground stake or cold water pipe near the breaker box.) If your outlets only have two wires (2/14 or 2/12 Romex), then you need to run a ground wire to each outlet that you want to protect.

My niece has a really, really old house built when the light bulb was advanced technology. She had glass-tube insulators with bare wires in her crawl space, attic and walls. She bought the house cheap and sold all the glass insulators on E-Bay to collectors.

Steve Mann
MannMade Digital Video
http://www.mmdv.com


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Norman Willis
Re: OT: Safe to Run CFL's on 2-wire 110VAC?
on Jul 15, 2015 at 7:21:09 pm

Ok, but it's a case grounding thing, and not an "innards fry themselves if you don't have a third wire" kind of thing?

I am renting at the moment. Hopefully a house, someday...

Norman Willis
http://www.nazareneisrael.org


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Stephen Mann
Re: OT: Safe to Run CFL's on 2-wire 110VAC?
on Jul 15, 2015 at 8:06:03 pm

The third wire only exists to protect the user.

Steve Mann
MannMade Digital Video
http://www.mmdv.com


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Aaron Star
Re: OT: Safe to Run CFL's on 2-wire 110VAC?
on Jul 15, 2015 at 8:07:34 pm
Last Edited By Aaron Star on Jul 15, 2015 at 8:28:26 pm

No they will not. The white wire is actually a ground back to the electrical source, and that's what makes a complete circuit. But since the way AC operates sometimes people can miss wire and make a white a hot wire. You can see this in house wiring with 3 ways switches. The wiring may work, but the colors are mixed up, which is why you want to turn off the power when working on house wiring.

Large metal fixtures are grounded because one loose wire nut could make the entire lamp a hot wire. The next guy to come along and make path to ground gets shocked. Ground wire shorts this out while the guy wiring it is working on it.

If you are in say an old garage that only has 2 wire, you can make a ground wire by adding a green wire to new receptacles, and grounding the green wire to water pipe or a long rebar driven into the ground.

Get a ground check plug from home depot. This will verify the hot leads are wired correctly at the plug, and the ground is functioning. You can put the 2 wire adapter in line with this, but it will show grounding errors obviously. This "pulling the ground" is common with musicians, but also I believe why guys die on stage from grabbing a mic. Someone screws up the hot leads powering the stage, which with proper grounding should just be a blow circuit, and not blown guy.



Bonding straps as I know, them help not only with safety but also help with radio shielding, minimizing static electricity on circuit boards, and minimizing electrical noise in electrical components. The 3 wire does matter more than safety, but things should still work

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_bonding

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_(electricity)


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Norman Willis
Re: OT: Safe to Run CFL's on 2-wire 110VAC?
on Jul 16, 2015 at 3:38:50 am

Ok, I broke out my amp meter. I should have done that to start with, lol. All I need is to make sure I don't overload my three 15 Amp circuits with the following equipment:

Core i7 mini-tower with 2 big monitors (26" & 40")
1 little monitor (10", for teleprompter)
Core i5 laptop (to drive PowerPoint)
Camcorder or two (Canon HF-S10's)
20 each CFL lights @ 45W each (900W)

I think it is looking pretty good. The amp meter says the CFL's are pulling 800W, which is about half the 1500-1800 Watts of one 15 Amp circuit. I am pretty sure I can run the rest of the stuff on the other two circuits. But I will hook everything up, and check the amperage draw. (The big two-wire monitor does have all-plastic casing.)

Norman Willis
http://www.nazareneisrael.org


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