Home>Discussions>ELECTRICAL & LIGHTING>Why do receptacles have a different hot and neutral side?
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JLMCDANIEL
Re: Why do receptacles have a different hot and neutral side?
rickpantel wrote:

OK, OK guys...no more flames (the internet kind not the electrical kind!). Me and most of the other readers here are trying to learn something about electricity, and the bickering kind of gets in the way. Jeeeez! :mad:

I would have thought that the manufacturers of the CFL's would take into account the possibility of a reverse wired lamp socket, and designed their light so that overheating/fire would not occur. However, if this has been observed by a contributor to this forum (note they did not say that they were the one who wired the socket incorrectly), that is good enough for me to red-flag the situation as possibly dangerous.

I think A. Spruce's point about a reverse wired lamp socket having a hot shell and be more dangerous was an excellent point.

Havanagranite: I've got one of those little testers and it works great in a standard plug-in receptacle, but it won't work in a lamp socket without some kludging. Maybe it is worth splicing together a little device to check if a lamp socket is wired in reverse....sort of a screw in male lamp base on one end, and a receptacle on the other where you can fit the polarity tester? Can you buy something like this?

No more flames please....please only post if you have something positive to contribute. ;)

Rick,
I would like to point out that AC devices do not know the difference between Hot and common. Both are hot conductors, both carry current, one is referenced to ground but is not ground. The only way it would cause a fire is if the hot was connected to the shell and the lamp assembled without the necessary insulating tube or something else to short the shell to ground. The lamp its self would also have to be grounded which it is not with a 2 prong plug.
Certain contributors to this forum have a tendency to post things as fact that are not supported by logic, code, or common sense. It won't take you long to find out who they are.
Jack

canuk
Re: Why do receptacles have a different hot and neutral side?

to add .... things like a lamp or a fan will still work fine if they were reversed .... the light will still light and the fan will still turn ( and not backwards) ..... as far as operation .

However for safety .... as Sprucey pointed out .... there is a proper way to wire a lamp socket.

Ernie_Fergler
Re: Why do receptacles have a different hot and neutral side?
rickpantel wrote:

OK, OK guys...no more flames (the internet kind not the electrical kind!). Me and most of the other readers here are trying to learn something about electricity, and the bickering kind of gets in the way. Jeeeez! :mad:

I would have thought that the manufacturers of the CFL's would take into account the possibility of a reverse wired lamp socket, and designed their light so that overheating/fire would not occur. However, if this has been observed by a contributor to this forum (note they did not say that they were the one who wired the socket incorrectly), that is good enough for me to red-flag the situation as possibly dangerous.

I think A. Spruce's point about a reverse wired lamp socket having a hot shell and be more dangerous was an excellent point.

Havanagranite: I've got one of those little testers and it works great in a standard plug-in receptacle, but it won't work in a lamp socket without some kludging. Maybe it is worth splicing together a little device to check if a lamp socket is wired in reverse....sort of a screw in male lamp base on one end, and a receptacle on the other where you can fit the polarity tester? Can you buy something like this?

No more flames please....please only post if you have something positive to contribute. ;)

The post about reversed wiring regarding CFLs is not true.
I also have heard about a hot shell and do believe that as it just makes common sense. I agree with Sprucey 100%.

rickpantel
Re: Why do receptacles have a different hot and neutral side?

Thanks for the on-topic responses, everyone. :)

This is good advice, and these are things I did not know. There are two situations that come up with respect to testing lamp sockets for correct wiring: one is a basic table lamp, which might have been assembled or repaired incorrectly...easy to test with an ohm-meter as Canuck pointed out.

The second situation is with a ceiling or wall mounted light fixture.....trying to determine if the lamp sockets are wired correctly without taking apart the fixture. That is easy to check with the adapters that JLMcDonald suggested...good idea!

Thanks for the good ideas! :)

Ernie_Fergler
Re: Why do receptacles have a different hot and neutral side?
rickpantel wrote:

Thanks for the on-topic responses, everyone. :)

This is good advice, and these are things I did not know. There are two situations that come up with respect to testing lamp sockets for correct wiring: one is a basic table lamp, which might have been assembled or repaired incorrectly...easy to test with an ohm-meter as Canuck pointed out.

The second situation is with a ceiling or wall mounted light fixture.....trying to determine if the lamp sockets are wired correctly without taking apart the fixture. That is easy to check with the adapters that JLMcDonald suggested...good idea!

Thanks for the good ideas! :)

I agree with your assessment with on topic responses.
But long time board members cringe when they see inaccurate advise posted.
Hope you have all the answers you need.:D

kentvw
Re: Why do receptacles have a different hot and neutral side?

I find the NEC to be such a handy reference regarding these issues.

2008 NEC

410.50 Polarization of Luminaires. Luminaires shall be
wired so that the screw shells of lampholders are connected
to the same luminaire or circuit conductor or terminal. The
grounded conductor, where connected to a screw shell lampholder,
shall be connected to the screw shell.

1234
Re: Why do receptacles have a different hot and neutral side?
canuk wrote:

to add .... things like a lamp or a fan will still work fine if they were reversed .... the light will still light and the fan will still turn ( and not backwards) ..... as far as operation .

However for safety .... as Sprucey pointed out .... there is a proper way to wire a lamp socket.

But does the proper way even matter if you have an old cord where the prongs are the same size? As far as I can tell (from this thread), it SHOULD be wired properly but doesn't matter with an old cord because the cord can be plugged in either way. Am I understanding correctly?

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Why do receptacles have a different hot and neutral side?

Unfortunately you are correct. I remember the old record players, if you got shocked when you touch it you were instructed to unplug, turn the plug over, and replug it.
Jack

NEC
Re: Why do receptacles have a different hot and neutral side?
JLMCDANIEL wrote:

Unfortunately you are correct. I remember the old record players, if you got shocked when you touch it you were instructed to unplug, turn the plug over, and replug it.
Jack

Heysus Jack........ You really are older than dirt........:D

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Why do receptacles have a different hot and neutral side?
NEC wrote:

Heysus Jack........ You really are older than dirt........:D

I invented dirt right after inventing rocks because it was to hard sleeping on the rocks.

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