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  1. #1
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    Default Unusual old GFCI recep

    New one on me. Test and Reset switches, sort of, instead of buttons. It worked.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    Got one like that in my house can't install it "upside down" i guess you could say it is sideways.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    I do not recognize this as a listed household combination gfci duplex receptacle of even an older vintage.

    I suspect this to be a componant, possibly a recognized componant, for assembly or a system componant (GE, recon, other systems popular post mid-century modern through early 80s), but more strongly suspect a passenger (R.R./train, marine/liner, aircraft, or tour bus) convienence receptacle. (ex. gen output, electrified modular partitions/cubicles, electrified "furniture" or lighted cabinet next generation "shaver outlets", strip mould/wiremolds, switching power supply/inverter supply on board, RVs, etc.).

    There does appear to be a correct orientation "upside" and it is (as indicated) grounding slot "up" (rotate photo counterclockwise to read markings).


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    Receptacles have a "correct" orientation?
    Robert,

    You know, the "TEST" and "RESET" button identification labeling is required to be "right-side-up" ... or is that 'not' "up-side-down" ... or maybe it was 'not' "down-side-up" ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    As to the orientation, one reason to install a receptacle with the ground 'up' is that if a metal cover comes loose and falls, it can come in contact with the live conductors of a partially plugged in cord. New standard and GFCIs I have just had installed by a very competent electrician have the grounds 'down.' Electricians reading this may have more thoughts on the topic.

    Donald Bissex
    Melrose, Massachusetts
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    Donald, you can search many sites on the topic of ground up vs down. Just get ready for someone from PETA stopping by to see the beating of a dead horse. In 30+ years I have yet to see a strong case either way. I have always heard the ground up is safer for the reason you stated, but don't see the wall plates sitting there with a loose screw and with plastic plates this is even less of an issue.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Bissex View Post
    As to the orientation, one reason to install a receptacle with the ground 'up' is that if a metal cover comes loose and falls, it can come in contact with the live conductors of a partially plugged in cord.
    Donald,

    The safest orientation for a receptacle is with the ground down.

    While there are many electricians who state the reason you gave for 'ground up' as being safer, the fact is that the ground prong on plugs are made longer than the other prongs, this is to ensure 'ground in first' and 'ground out last', which is the way everything should be wired and connected (including cords and plugs).

    If the ground is up then you can have a condition where the ground prong on the plug *is not connected* to to the ground inside the receptacle while the hot and neutral prongs are connected - the appliance which is plugged in is working *BUT NOT GROUNDED*.

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Donald,

    The safest orientation for a receptacle is with the ground down.

    While there are many electricians who state the reason you gave for 'ground up' as being safer, the fact is that the ground prong on plugs are made longer than the other prongs, this is to ensure 'ground in first' and 'ground out last', which is the way everything should be wired and connected (including cords and plugs).

    If the ground is up then you can have a condition where the ground prong on the plug *is not connected* to to the ground inside the receptacle while the hot and neutral prongs are connected - the appliance which is plugged in is working *BUT NOT GROUNDED*.
    I do not know, but based upon posts here-in there must not be any device orientation verbiage in the code. My personal logic has always been the same as Jerry's above. The ground, ( safety / insurance wire ), should be that last to go. Conductive trim lives, but definitely in the minority. Couple that with one being loose enough to make contact w/ an also unlikely cord cap hanging out that far and the odds of all that happening simultaneously are way out there.


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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post

    If the ground is up then you can have a condition where the ground prong on the plug *is not connected* to to the ground inside the receptacle while the hot and neutral prongs are connected - the appliance which is plugged in is working *BUT NOT GROUNDED*.
    I disagree Jerry. The additional length of the grounding prong assures that the equipment is grounded even if the cordcap were to be not fully seated in the receptacle. The additional length is how the first made, last unmade requirement is met.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    I disagree Jerry. The additional length of the grounding prong assures that the equipment is grounded even if the cordcap were to be not fully seated in the receptacle. The additional length is how the first made, last unmade requirement is met.
    You disagree with what? You gave reasons which agree with what I said would be the reason to have the ground up.

    As Robert said, I have not found anything in the NEC which makes it a code violation as to orientation of the receptacle.

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    1. not a listed line (Art. 406) receptacle, its a componant receptacle, part of a system unit.

    2. May not be installed ground-down, as it has switches which must be closed/on position UP and if in down position - must be OPEN or breaking connections. there is a correct "up" postiion for this componant.


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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    Uh, aren't those switches push button?
    They look like the old style small push buttons to me. They were a pain to test and reset.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    1. not a listed line (Art. 406) receptacle, its a componant receptacle, part of a system unit.
    May have been at the time, probably not component receptacle or part of a system unit.

    2. May not be installed ground-down, as it has switches which must be closed/on position UP and if in down position - must be OPEN or breaking connections. there is a correct "up" postiion for this componant.
    The switches are not on/off or overcurrent protection, those switches are used to test, then reset, the GFCI protection sensing and operating mechanism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    Uh, aren't those switches push button?
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    They look like the old style small push buttons to me. They were a pain to test and reset.
    I think those switches slide away from the ground prong toward the hot and neutral prong openings.

    Contrary to what watson says, that receptacle may be installed horizontally, with grounds up or down or vertically with the grounds to either side.

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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    I was disagreeing with this part Jerry,

    If the ground is up then you can have a condition where the ground prong on the plug *is not connected* to to the ground inside the receptacle while the hot and neutral prongs are connected - the appliance which is plugged in is working *BUT NOT GROUNDED*.
    The extra length of the ground prong would still allow it to properly ground the equipment.

    Jerry, are you seeing those T/R as a horizontal push instead of the more usual in and out?

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    Just one more note on the subject of orientation of the ground. I have noticed that in residential structures the ground is up but in industrial installations the ground plug is on the bottom. I put the receptacle in so that it fits the item I am plugging into it, such as an AC unit with molded flat type plug, so that the cord hangs properly without stress and neatly against the wall. I think it does not matter the orientation.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Bissex View Post
    As to the orientation, one reason to install a receptacle with the ground 'up' is that if a metal cover comes loose and falls, it can come in contact with the live conductors of a partially plugged in cord. New standard and GFCIs I have just had installed by a very competent electrician have the grounds 'down.' Electricians reading this may have more thoughts on the topic.
    A few years ago, regarding this same issue, I spoke to one of the folks that maintain the electrical code. He stated they were aware of the "upside down" issue in some areas of the country, but at that time did not see any pressing reason to amend the code to require ground up.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    Around here, switched outlets are usually placed ground up to quickly identify where they are in the room. The unswitched outlets are ground down.

    I have seen that same GFCI several times. If they work properly, I move on.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    Around here, switched outlets are usually placed ground up to quickly identify where they are in the room. The unswitched outlets are ground down.

    I have seen that same GFCI several times. If they work properly, I move on.
    How do you take in the account of one half of a duplex receptacle switched, and the other half not?

    I personally feel that the sparkey is lazy or cheap not to install the switched outlet this way in place of the whole outlet switched. It prevents you from having something at that location that you don't need to switch
    . Then you run an extention cord. Ya, that is good!


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    The long ground theory makes sense.

    I sometimes see switched outlets switched to ground up; to make them easily identifiable.

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Goeken View Post
    How do you take in the account of one half of a duplex receptacle switched, and the other half not?

    I personally feel that the sparkey is lazy or cheap not to install the switched outlet this way in place of the whole outlet switched. It prevents you from having something at that location that you don't need to switch
    . Then you run an extention cord. Ya, that is good!
    Until you test it, you don't know which half is on the switch. Sometimes, it appears that different electricians worked on the same house.
    One was a top guy and one was a bottom guy.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    For whatever it's worth, the most common configuration is to have the switched half of a split duplex receptacle on the top. It's also somewhat common to run a 3 conductor cable to each receptacle location in a room with no ceiling light so that any or multiple receptacles in the room can be the switched one(s).

    As was pointed out earlier, it is standard practice around here to have the switched receptacles oriented opposite from the non-switched, which is usually ground down.

    A vast majority of the right-angle cord caps meant to have the cord hang down have a ground down design, but not all.

    Switches that requite a handle or lever to change state from on to off are required to be installed so the handle must be up for on. There is no rule regarding a left or right on/off for horizontal mounting, and none for push buttons. Thanks again Watson for muddling facts.

    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    The extra length of the ground prong would still allow it to properly ground the equipment.
    I wish that was the case, however, I have seen many plugs part way out and hanging down, presumably from the weight of the cord over time, and when I have checked the equipment, the equipment was not grounded, yet was still operative, which indicated that the ground prong was no longer making contact. To verify and solve the problem I pushed the plugs in all the way and checked again - the equipment was now grounded.

    Jerry, are you seeing those T/R as a horizontal push instead of the more usual in and out?
    Jim,

    Yes, that is what I am seeing when I zoom in on the photo - the switch is over toward the right side of a slot with room on the left side of the switch such that the switch may be pushed sideways rather than pushed inward.

    I have seen some of those receptacles many years ago but I have no recollection as to how the switches operated, so I am basing the slide operation on the way the switch looks in the photo.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    Seems that someone was thinking like you.

    A recent code change would likely require two duplex receptacles next to each other if one entire duplex receptacle were switch controlled. A switch controlled duplex receptacle no longer counts towards the 6'/12' receptacle spacing rule so if the entire duplex were switched you would need another receptacle to satisfy the 6'/12' spacing. {210.52(1)}
    Life is good!


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    Until you test it, you don't know which half is on the switch. Sometimes, it appears that different electricians worked on the same house.
    One was a top guy and one was a bottom guy.
    I have seen that happen in communications. I went to a site to check progress just as they started testing. Everything was failing. They took one communications outlet apart and noticed 1 pair was reversed compared to the main panel. My question then was "Two different guys, one new?" Answer "Yup!" A lot of additional work occurred after that conversation.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    I once asked a commercial electrician why they install receptacles with the ground up and residential installations are most often seen with the ground down. He replied, “Because residential electricians do it wrong.”

    I once asked a residential electrician why they install receptacles with the ground down and commercial installations are most often seen with the ground up. He replied, “Because commercial electricians do it wrong.”


    And that pretty much sums up the whole subject.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Meier View Post
    Just looks old to me. I bet if you pulled it out it would have wire leads and no binding screws.
    It may be old but it looks like a "Decora" styled outlet,which I believe to be more modern (last 20 years).

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  27. #27
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    I installed the grounds up because the local AHJ told me that was the smart way to do it and it made him think I was smart.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Unusual old GFCI recep

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    Switches that requite a handle or lever to change state from on to off are required to be installed so the handle must be up for on. There is no rule regarding a left or right on/off for horizontal mounting, and none for push buttons. Thanks again Watson for muddling facts.
    so, what if that switch is a 3-way? Our living room has two entrances with switches located in both places that operate one half of a receptacle--obviously intended for a lamp.


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