Trickier than I Thought

Old 10-03-04, 03:42 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Unhappy Trickier than I Thought

Just completed a basic electricity course, but this situation wasn't covered.

Trying to replace a faulty combo switch/receptacle. The switch controls my garbage disposal. When I opened the electrical box, discovered that are two cables (A) and (B) at the top of the box and one cable at the bottom of the box (C). Each cable has two wires (excluding the ground wire) . Using my tester, learned cable A contains the "hot" wire". Connected the hot, neutral and ground wires of Cable A to the switch/recep using the proper terminal screws, but do not know how the remaining wires of B and C should be pigtailed together. Have taken care of the ground wires. At this point, the outlet is hot all the time, but I have no power to the switch at all. This has been especially difficult since all the wires are the same color. Thanks you so much for your help. Feel that I'm close to nail this.
Old 10-03-04, 04:29 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
You need to double check to make sure you have the wires figured out.

You say that you have a 'hot' pair coming in, that accounts for one pair, and the garbage disposal accounts for another pair, so do you know what the other pair connects to? Does it head to another receptacle or such? Make sure you know what the other wires control before connecting them. Also make sure the power is off before continuing.

The combo switch/receptacle should have four screws, and from the back it will look very much like a regular receptacle. On the sides of the device you will have the regular terminals except there will be a bit of a difference on one side. The 'hot' side of the device will have the little 'tab' that connects both brass screw terminals together, while the opposite side will have one brass screw beside the switch and one zinc (silver coloured) screw beside the receptacle.

The zinc screw is for the neutral (white) on the receptacle, and the brass screw on that same side will connect to the black wire of the garbage disposal. On the OTHER side of the device, connect the black 'hot' line.

Now I would suggest you get a 6" piece of white wire, and connect that to the zinc screw. Then you can take the other white wires and connect them all together with a wire cap. (by other white wires I mean the white that runs alongside the hot, and the white that runs to the garbage disposal) All of the bare 'ground' wires should be connected together, with one bare line attached to the metal box grounding screw and one attached to the switch/receptacle device grounding screw.

Now, as for the other pair of wires, *IF* you can identify what they are and where they go, you can hook them up into the circuit. If it is a line to another receptacle, then connect the white to the other whites, and connect the black to the empty brass screw on the switch/receptacle device. Don't connect it up unless you know what the wires connect to though, if it happens to be a switch feed you'll blow the circuit.


Old 10-03-04, 05:45 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 8,042
Received 516 Upvotes on 421 Posts
Since you are replacing an existing unit just connect them up the same as before.
Let's make the following assumptions. (could be a mistake).
cable a = power in
cable b = power out to something else
cable c = power to disposal
cable a and b connect blacks, nd pigtail to double gold screw on opposite side of white.
Connect ALL from a,b and c whites and pigtail to to combo device silver screw.
Connect black from disposal to single gold screw on same side as white.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: