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I am backfitting a dryer with a 3-prong plug. The manual says to connect the body to the neutral terminal using a copper ground strap.
I don't have a ground strap and none of the stores around carry them.
Is it safe to use a 10-gauge solid copper wire in place of the ground strap?

Model #: GE DCVH515EF0WW

The negative terminal is about 2 inches away from the grounding screw on the dryer body. I folded a 4-inch, bare, 10-gauge, solid copper wire into a long U. I fitted the U around the grounding screw and put the tips of the U under the screw at the negative terminal. This results in two 10-gauge segments that can carry current from the body to ground.

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  • How practical is it to retrofit a 10AWG ground to the dryer receptacle? – ThreePhaseEel Mar 24 '17 at 1:20
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    @ThreePhaseEel I am planning on having all the electrical updated in this house, but not this week. It has an old 50s low-wattage relay system that is on its last legs. Getting ground to the laundry room would take tearing a ceiling and floor apart. – reynoldsnlp Mar 24 '17 at 3:27
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That should work fine. Most dryers have a tiny 16-14 AWG bonding wire.

The only problem I can think of, is not making a good neutral connection to the dryer. However, since it looks like you have crimp terminals on the ends of the supply wires, you shouldn't have this problem.

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All due respect to Tester101, I'm not a fan of this method for a couple of reasons.

Not a listed method

And that matters because a failure here is lethal. A lost neutral is precisely the failure that spooks us and is why NEMA 10 is considered bad news.

A break in a neutral wire will cause (internal to the appliance) the neutral to be "pulled up" to one of the hots. That is normal in any appliance. The problem is, by booting ground to neutral, the chassis of the machine is now hot. That problem is doubled because the washing machine right next to it is still properly grounded. Touch both, you die.

This is literally bootlegging ground. It is illegal in almost every context, (except this context, only due to lobbying by appliance manufacturers.)

You might as well do the best thing

Instead of running the grounding wire 2 inches to the neutral lug, you could run it 20 feet... to a proper grounding point.

OK, The right right way is to retrofit a ground: run it to the receptacle, change the receptacle for NEMA 14 and use that to support a NEMA 14 receptacle and plug.

  • thanks for the response. I don't understand why the manufacturer would post a sticker on the dryer to do it this way if it is dangerous. That would make them liable. – reynoldsnlp Mar 24 '17 at 1:22
  • @bebop -- Code kind of absolves them for the liability for a failure in the house wiring :P (even if their appliance is configured in a not-so-ideal way). Blame the cheap-arses back in the 50s who originally used triplex SEs for stoves and dryers... – ThreePhaseEel Mar 24 '17 at 1:42
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    @ThreePhaseEel exactly, if sued, they can go "Look, the safety authority (NFPA) approves it". And who's going to sue the NFPA? It would be the epic battle of the experts (law gets a little weird around expert testimony, such a lawsuit would be a morass.) Liability laws around engineered items are a little weird... but if they weren't, everyone would be afraid to innovate and nobody would design anything at all. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Mar 24 '17 at 3:49
  • I don't understand why manufacturers would lobby to allow this. Forced updating means a new market of updates to profit from. Am I missing something? – reynoldsnlp Mar 24 '17 at 4:02
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    @bebop Because the forced updating would be of building wiring. Local electricians would make a fortune on that. The appliance maker would only lose sales, a person would be reluctant to upgrade their appliances if it meant expensive electrical work. That's their fear anyway, I think they're wrong. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Mar 24 '17 at 4:04

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