Installing combination switch and gfci outlet.

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  #1  
Old 10-22-00, 09:22 PM
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trying to install combination switch and gfci outlet on a switch in bathroom. I cant seem to get the outlet part to work. The switch seems to be the only one working. When I plug a lamp on the outlet it doesnt light up but the lamp switch acts as a switch and turns the bathroom light on and off! The bathroom switch has a black and white wire with copper wire for ground. Im ready to give up! I cant seem to get it to work right! What am I doing wrong. Help! Thanks. Jay
 
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  #2  
Old 10-22-00, 10:59 PM
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After reading your question, I'm assuming that originally the recepticle box was just a regular light switch for your bathroom light. Not being able to see your wiring in this box, it's hard to tell you exactly what the problem is. But I will guess and assume and hopefully this will help you. If your recepticle box has only 1 set of 2 insulated wires going into it ( a black and white wire), then the installation of a GFI plug is not possible. This arrangment brings power from the circuit to the switch (this should be the black wire) , and then sends power to the light through the other wire which is connected to the other pole of the switch (that would be the white wire). This is the only arrangement that allows a white wire to be a power carring conductor. The white wire in this arrangement IS NOT a neutral wire and cannot be used to hook up a plug. What it sounds like you've done is hook up the plug / switch assembly with this wiring configuration and essentially turned the plug-in lamp into another light switch. When you turn the plug-in lamp off, it also turns the power off to the bathroom light. Although this is very interesting and maybe a great conversation piece, it's not what you want. If you have this wiring arrangement - that is only two wires in the box - then have a beer and install the old light switch ( not nessisarily in that order) back into the box with the existing wire connections. At least this will get the light back working properly again. To make this wiring arrangment work is to run a new wire to give you a neutral wire for the GFI plug to work. If you have two sets of 2 wires - that is 2 black wires and 2 white wires - in the recepticle box, then that can be made to work. Post back a description of how many wires are in your box. Hope this helps. And remember to turn off the breaker before you go back in.
 
  #3  
Old 10-23-00, 07:38 AM
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Jay,

If it's any consolation, you've made perhaps the most common wiring mistake made. Lots of people try to draw power from a switch box that has no neutral. It simply cannot be done (well at least not safely).

Good luck coming up with an alternative. Sheetmet has put you on the right track.

But take one more look. If you have two cables, each with a black and a white, coming into the switch box, let us know. We'll give you different advice.
 
  #4  
Old 10-24-00, 07:21 PM
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by sheetmet:
After reading your question, I'm assuming that originally the recepticle box was just a regular light switch for your bathroom light. Not being able to see your wiring in this box, it's hard to tell you exactly what the problem is. But I will guess and assume and hopefully this will help you. If your recepticle box has only 1 set of 2 insulated wires going into it ( a black and white wire), then the installation of a GFI plug is not possible. This arrangment brings power from the circuit to the switch (this should be the black wire) , and then sends power to the light through the other wire which is connected to the other pole of the switch (that would be the white wire). This is the only arrangement that allows a white wire to be a power carring conductor. The white wire in this arrangement IS NOT a neutral wire and cannot be used to hook up a plug. What it sounds like you've done is hook up the plug / switch assembly with this wiring configuration and essentially turned the plug-in lamp into another light switch. When you turn the plug-in lamp off, it also turns the power off to the bathroom light. Although this is very interesting and maybe a great conversation piece, it's not what you want. If you have this wiring arrangement - that is only two wires in the box - then have a beer and install the old light switch ( not nessisarily in that order) back into the box with the existing wire connections. At least this will get the light back working properly again. To make this wiring arrangment work is to run a new wire to give you a neutral wire for the GFI plug to work. If you have two sets of 2 wires - that is 2 black wires and 2 white wires - in the recepticle box, then that can be made to work. Post back a description of how many wires are in your box. Hope this helps. And remember to turn off the breaker before you go back in.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

 
  #5  
Old 10-24-00, 07:34 PM
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Thanks a lot for the help sheetmet. You have been a lot of help. I have only one set of wire going into the box. There is no way I can install this thing. I was led to believe I could make a regular light switch into an outlet also. Oh well, back goes the old light switch! Thanks again!
 
  #6  
Old 10-25-00, 09:30 PM
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Hey sheetmet,is it possible to transform a regular switch into a combinationGFCi switch and plug? Im was thinking on hiring an electrician to do this since this job is way over my head! Would this work be expensive? About approximately what would I expect to pay? thanks for the help. Jay
 
  #7  
Old 10-26-00, 07:50 AM
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If you can replace the run of wire
with a 3 wire witg ground, same guage, you
don't necessarily need an electrician.
 
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