We've bought an older home with 2 wire receptacles. We need a 3 wire (grounded) receptacle to use our new TV and satellite receiver. Is there a safe way of using these items with out the cost of re-wiring?


If the receiver needs a real ground then going the GFI protection route is NOT adequate. It is code legal and safe, but does NOT provide a valid grounding path.

For this the only option is to provide a real ground, which in most cases simply means running a new circuit and receptacle to the location. You do not need to "re-wire" anything, just add new.

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  • The ground wire, in relation to electronic equipment, isn't just a safety feature. It also helps reduce or eliminate stray electrical noise (such as "ground loop hum") from the device. – Craig Jan 9 '15 at 20:53

Yes, you put in a GFCI. Then add a sticker that says "No Equipment Ground".

Do not use a surge protector with this setup - they require a real ground, and are unsafe (for you, not for the equipment) without a ground.

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  • No Equipment Ground, right? :-) Surge suppressors are likely to be set up to shunt overcurrent to the neutral (thus bypassing your sensitive equipment), or to both neutral and ground. I'd check the specifications of the actual device in use, but I'm not sure it's accurate to say that a surge suppressor is actually dangerous without an EGC. – Craig Jan 9 '15 at 20:50
  • I always get that terminology wrong :) I'll edit it. Surge protectors shunt to ground, so there is a shock risk when that happens because there is no ground, so instead the body of the appliance is energized. If there was no surge protector then the voltage would stay inside the device and go to neutral. It might damage it, but at least the body would not be energized. You would hope the GFCI would cut the power in that case, but they are not rated to deal with the high voltage. – Ariel Jan 9 '15 at 20:55

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