Electrical: How do I connect copper ground wire to metal wire passing through switch box?


I'm replacing a light switch with a smart home keypad (Insteon KeypadLinc).

The wall receptacle has three conduits coming into it, each of which has three wires coming out: one in a black plastic sheath (line/load), one in a white plastic sheath (neutral), and one that is bare metal (which I think is ground). Here's what that looks like:

The switch I'm installing has four wires that need to be hooked up: line, load, neutral and ground. For ground, it has a bare copper wire. (You can see it in the middle of the photo.)

I was able to hook up line, load and neutral just fine by using twist-on wire nuts to connect them to the right places, but I'm not sure what to do about the ground. The bare metal wires coming out of the conduits that feed into the receptacle exit through a hole in the top of the receptacle and continue their journey onwards to somewhere else, so they don't have an "end" that I can stick a twist-on wire nut on. How do I connect the end of...

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I bought a house with aluminum wiring so I had to educate myself on what was so different. The only way considered safe to connect copper and aluminum is through a splice connector. Specifically, you have to connect the wires individually so they are not prone to corrosion.

The Ideal connectors (purple, for aluminum) are not considered a good fix because all they do is contain a paste that is supposed to help prevent corrosion. That paste can degrade and you'll potentially be in worse shape because you're lulled into a false sense of security

The effectiveness of “pigtailing” using twist-on connectors has been evaluated by CPSC staff. In CPSC-sponsored laboratory testing and life tests, substantial numbers of these connectors overheated severely.

And is dramatically demonstrated by this picture

I went with the AlumiConn splicing product. They not only splice, they contain anti-oxidant jelly already added. It's relatively easy to find (a local...

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Is the pigtail the easiest way to ground the switch? I'd say so, if there's a threaded hole available, and it's a properly grounded metal box. These pigtails from Ideal Industries: pigtails

bond your box to whatever you terminate that stripped end on.

If you attach the pigtail with its ground screw into a threaded hole in a metal box,

and terminate the stripped end of the pigtail on the ground terminal on your switch,

AND the box is grounded, then you've grounded the switch. (If it's not a metal box, you can't ground the switch this way.)

How can you tell if the box is grounded? If you see a ground wire from one of the incoming wires attached with a ground screw or ground clip, it's probably OK - it depends on that ground wire being properly connected back to the panel.

If it's a plastic box, or there's no hole available for the ground screw, or etc., you will need a plan B. Maybe there are other ground wires in the box bound up in a wire...

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Position a screwdriver against a 3/4-inch knockout on the side of a 4-inch square metal junction box. Strike the screwdriver with a hammer to remove the knockout. Grab the knockout with pliers and twist it off the box if the screwdriver does not remove the knockout completely. Repeat the steps to remove the knockout on the opposite side of the box.

Fasten 3/4-inch clamp connectors to the 4-inch square junction box through the knockouts. The connectors thread from the outside of the box with the threads of the connectors inside. Screw the locknuts provided with the connectors onto the threads to secure the clamps to the box.

Verify there is no power present by touching the wires with a non-contact voltage tester. Push the American wire gauge 8 (AWG 8) inside the 4-inch square junction box through the 3/4-inch clamp connectors. In normal wiring applications, a circuit with AWG 8 wire includes three or four wires as a parts of 8/2 or 8/3 nonmetallic (NM) cable.

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Aluminum wire is popular because of its ability to provide quality conductivity to weight ratio more so than copper wire. It is commonly used in electrical


in houses, power grids and even in the aircraft industry. Aluminum wire is usually more cost-effective and lighter than copper wire. Its advantages make it the top choice for transmission and distribution of electricity. The following are some of the questions answered by Experts regarding aluminum wire.

If someone is replacing electrical outlets to pig-tailed (wired) outlets with Alumiconn connections for each positive and negative wire ground, could this work well?

The use of Alumiconn electrical wire


is usually good, but in some boxes you may not find enough room for the connectors which depends on the number of conductors in the box and the devices. However, you could use CO/ALR devices for the remediation which is NEC approved and this will help provide more room for...

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Three Parts:Removing Old SwitchesInstalling a Double SwitchTroubleshootingCommunity Q&A

A double-switch allows you to operate two lights or appliances from the same location. Double switches, sometimes called "double pole," allow you to separately control the power being sent to multiple places from the same switch. For example, you might want to turn on a bathroom light separately from the ceiling fan. To wire a double switch, you'll need to cut the power, remove the old switch, then feed and connect the wires into the double switch fixture. Though it is not difficult to wire a double switch, careful attention to safety is crucial to prevent injury.

Note: This article only describes installing the switch itself, not rewiring two conjoined feeds that need to be separated. If you are trying to separate two lights that use the same wiring, as opposed to two already separate sources, you will likely need a trained...

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Where and How to Attach a Ground Wire

Electrical Question: What do I do with the ground wire for a porcelain ceiling lamp holder when there is no place to attach it? I understand that on a porcelain ceiling lamp holder cooper wiring devices you do not need a ground wire and there is no place for it. I am not wiring to anything that is metal, and the devices are porcelain and plastic blue boxes. What do I do with the ground wire that is in the Romex electrical cable? Do I just trash it or should I attach it to the screws that are attaching the porcelain fixture to the blue round box?

Thanks for the help just not sure what to do with ground could use nut just to put on it, heck I don’t know.

This electrical wiring question came from: Bob, a Homeowner from Gibson, Tennessee.

Additional Comments: I love this site because it is a big help to us who are unsure and it helps us with safety issues. Thank you for your help.

Dave’s Reply:

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Churning with voltage and resembling an explosion at the wire factory, the breaker panel exudes mystique. But it's just a big switch, filled with other smaller switches, which lead to the switches that any home owner can fearlessly flip. Doing so conjures a current of electrons that runs along copper wires, energizing our appliances, lights and modern lives. Breaker-panel literacy isn't only for voltage veterans who recite the National Electrical Code. Even if all you wonder is whether your humble hot tub dreams are electrically attainable, or why the toaster oven kills the kitchen lights—the panel has a thing or two to tell you.


Current flows from the panel toward the load along the hot wires and returns along the neutral. Each hot wire's copper tip ultimately connects to its control switch at the circuit breaker, and each neutral connects to a common terminal called a bus bar.


Main breaker

This is the...

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