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In 2007 I purchased a quality waterfall pump for my pond (Tsurumi Submersible 50PN@.4S-60). Recently when I pulled the plug, the grounding plug detached as well. A local hardware store looked at it and said that it was "a fake ground plug anyway" and to go ahead and use the pump. I tend to question that. If I try another store or supplier, should it be possible to just replace the 3 prong plug with a new one or is a whole new power cord needed? Does this need to be ordered from the pump's manufacturer, or are 3 prong plugs for this type of equipment pretty generic?

  • Where on the planet are you, and can you post a photo of the nameplate on the pump? – ThreePhaseEel Jul 19 '16 at 23:41
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    Is the circuit protected by either a GFCI outlet or GFCI circuit breaker? – Tyson Jul 19 '16 at 23:51
  • Agree with @tyson; you need either a GFCI or a proper safety ground. Preferably both. – keshlam Jul 20 '16 at 11:44
  • Both is better. I can't find his exact pump (the number must be typo'd but even my guesses don't get me a valid number) but most of the time anymore there is not much to ground on a submersible pump anyway. Most are made of hard plastic with sealed coils. @keshlam – Tyson Jul 20 '16 at 11:56
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I will assume that you live in a region where fake ground pins are common. (In my own experience I've found that "fake" ground pins are uncommon or even abnormal in the USA, but I have seen them in the UK.)

To check if it really is a "fake" ground pin, you could:

  • Confirm if the broken pin was actually metal, not plastic or similar. If plastic, it was obviously not a conducting element. If metal, its still uncertain.
  • Cut off the broken plug. If there are 3 wires then for normal residential wiring, it is grounded. The ground wire would typically be a standard color (check what's normal where you live). Since it is broken, this is a harmless thing to do.
  • If for some reason you don't want to cut off the broken plug, then you could use the continuity (resistance) setting on a multimeter to check if there is a current path between the stub of the ground pin and a metal part of the pump. While this can confirm that it was a real ground, it cannot safely disprove that it was fake. If the pump has only a plastic casing then this won't work either.

Once that is settled, you will know what kind of plug to replace it with. In my experience (again - USA and UK) a matching plug from a hardware store will be fine. Plugs are designed for a certain level of current & voltage, and their shape determines which receptacles they can safely be used in.

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