Three prong adaptor caught on fire

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The ground issue is a red herring.

The issue is that one of the sockets (probably the one in the cheater) is not clamping the plug blades very well. Either it is cheap junk, or lost its "spring". As it started to heat up, it lost more spring - vicious cycle.

Current was flowing, but only by arcing inside the cheater, and microwaves take a lot of current -- hence a lot of arcing, and the fire.

The answer is search your house for any loosey-goosey or sloppy-doppy outlet connections, and replace with quality outlets that hold their grip.

There's no such thing as a quality cheater, and there never will be, because the problem is elegantly solved by GFCI's -- as aptly described by Grant in his answer.

Grounds are important and you shouldn't use cheaters without proper grounding (and really, ever, now that the GFCI solution exists). But that's not what caused...

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Not at all - old wiring had only two wires, the power and neutral, but modern wiring has three, power, neutral and ground. Deleting the ground makes your modern equipment prone to failure during a power surge and increases the likelihood of a fire. The little wire loop at the bottom of the adapter is supposed to ground to the screw in the middle of the receptacle cover, but that only works if it has never been painted over, has no corrosion and you use it in the top outlet and even then you must trust that there is no dirt or corrosion where the screw goes through the receptacle behind the cover or you might not get good contact and make sure it touches the screw and maintains solid contact at all times. In a perfect world, it should work. In the real world, it hardly ever does.

If you have old wiring, you probably have metal electrical boxes, which means that you can pretty easily upgrade your receptacles without running new wire by grounding them to the boxes (modern boxes are...

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A cheater plug, with metal grounding tab (the leftmost blade and cavity are wider, for polarization purposes)

A cheater plug, AC ground lifter or three-prong/two-prong adapter is an adapter that allows a NEMA 5-15P grounding-type plug (three prongs) to connect to a NEMA 1-15R non-grounding receptacle (two slots).[1] The use of such an adapter avoids the need to replace receptacles, but is potentially hazardous, if the grounding tab is not connected to electrical ground.[2][3] An alternative identified in the US and Canadian electrical codes is to replace the outlet with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) breaker outlet.[3]

Cheater plugs are also used to break ground loops in audio systems.[4] This practice has been condemned as disregarding electrical safety.[4][5] An alternative is to use an isolation transformer made specifically for this purpose.

History[edit]

Cheater plugs were previously available with a short flexible grounding wire...

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I am renting an apartments with a friend and have the first choice of rooms. One room is better than the other but I noticed that it only has 2 pronged outlets. The other room (right across the hall) has three pronged outlets. I really want to take the one with 2 pronged outlets but am not sure what practically speaking that means to me. I am going to be plugging in computer(s), an air conditioner etc. I have a surge protector but I believe that the SP has three prongs on it so I am going to have to get an adapter (from 3 to 2). What exactly does the third prong do? Do I need it for this situation?

(Also, someone suggested to me that even the three pronged outlets were just faceplates but not really grounded. It is a really old building so he could be right. Is it possible for the same apartment to have one room with grounded outlets and one...

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This is one of my most visited posts, so i decided to make an updated version.(2011.02.18)

DISCLAIMER, this is a “quick and dirty” fix that works, and might not be recommended by an electrician, and might be against new electricity safety guidelines. I am not an electrician, I just know this works, but you are doing it on your own risk. That said, here we go:

Are you having problems with a flickering external monitor on your laptop?

Does the flicker go away if you remove the laptop charger?

If you answered yes to the above questions, you probably have a ground loop or ground between the laptop and the monitor.

This is because in the best situation we would like to have only one ground point in any system. Since your laptop is grounded and your monitor is grounded, and we connect these two with a cable, we are essentially creating a loop antenna. This “antenna” picks up noise from the electric system and this is what affects...

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Stay in the kitchen when using the range for cooking.

If you are leaving for just a minute, turn off all the burners on the range. Going to the basement for a can of tomatoes, or running out to check the mail, going to the bathroom, answering the phone in another part of the house? Simply turn off all the burners. After all, you are just leaving for a minute. You can immediately turn the pot or frying pan back on when you return. Taking this simple step will prevent one of the most common situations that cause house fires: unattended cooking.

When cooking with oil, keep a lid or flat cookie sheet close by. If flames appear, simply suffocate the fire with the lid and immediately turn off the stove or fryer to let it cool down. Do not try to move the pan. Do not use water. The super-heated water will explode into steam, and can cause severe burns, and oil can splash and spread the...
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Quote:

Quote:

Just wondering too what kind of problem can a 3 prong to 2 prong adapter cause to your equipment??

as far as i know, nothing.

That's dead wrong, and there isn't any coincidence in my choice of the word "dead" either.

The ground connection is there both for your safety and to help protect the equipment from problems on the AC service. By "floating" the ground (using the "3 prong to 2 prong adapter"), you eliminate that protection and create a situation where the "ground" on the equipment may not be 0 volts as it's supposed to be.

Especially when DJ-ing in places with questionable AC service, using one of those "3 prong to 2 prong adapters" is sort of like Russian Roulette. Like I said earlier, you might "get away with it" most of the time, but that one time you don't will be a real bitch. It's a completely stupid and ignorant "solution" anyway when it's easy and cheap to fix the problem correctly and...

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