I know only enough to be dangerous...

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  #1  
Old 10-14-04, 09:35 AM
beelee
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Red face I know only enough to be dangerous...

...and I promise, if you guys can get me out of this one, I will never attempt to fix anything electrical ever again. Long story short-I disconnected two diff. receptacles without noting where wires connect. current situation: 1st -kids room- I connected new receptacle (I guessed & put red on top, black on bottom (brass, of course) and put whites on silver (does it matter which white to which silver?) Now, bottom outlet of that receptacle does not work, the light switch does not work, and I have no power to all other outlets in that room!
current situation: 2nd room-master bedroom/bath-I removed receptacle from bathroom with intentions of using it to replace the one from kids room, but have since decided I should not be doing any of this, so it is not connected at all, wire caps on ends, and now I have no power to all other outlets in THAT room.
Note: we have not used the outlets in bathrooms since we moved in cuz they are not GFCI. My husband (an excellent carpenter who knows better than to fool around w/electricity) was at work when I did all this and is not speaking to me today. can u help me help him???? did I mention he was an EXCELLENT carpenter? and he's sooo intelligent, and soooo handsome...
 
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  #2  
Old 10-14-04, 09:52 AM
mgb
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In the kids room, tell me what you have for wires ie. color and number of them. It sounds like there should be another black in that box.
 
  #3  
Old 10-14-04, 10:00 AM
mgb
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Also tell me the same for the bathroom receptacle. I'm guessing there are 2 of each color, black, white, bare/green. If that's the case and that is the only outlet in the bathroom then buy a gfci receptacle and connect both blacks to the brass screw on the LINE side and the 2 whites to the silver screw on the LINE side and of course the ground to the green screw.
 
  #4  
Old 10-14-04, 10:03 AM
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It does sound like there should be another black wire in the kids room.

We will also need a compete inventory of all the wires at each of the junction boxes involved, which includes the switch in the kids room. Be very specific. What cables exist, and what wires are in those cables, and where do they connect.

Also, take a look at the receptacle you removed from the kids room. It most likely has the tab broken between the top and bottom halves on the brass side.

I would go ahead and buy a GFCI receptacle for the bathroom, since you have to put something back there now.

In the future, do not attempt to reuse receptacles. They do eventually wear out, especially those that are heavily used, and as inexpensive as they are, it's not worth it trying to use them again.
 
  #5  
Old 10-14-04, 11:04 AM
beelee
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yes sirs, i'll be back soon.
 
  #6  
Old 10-14-04, 02:35 PM
beelee
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okay, i've been gone a while, sorry bout that to anyone watching over me...
in the bathroom, there are 2 black wires and 2 white wires (solid), and 2 bare copper wires twisted together (one ends and the other disappears into the wall), currently not a GFCI, but we will be replacing it with one. At the moment, they are not connected to anything, could that be why none of the outlets in the adjacent bedroom are working? If so,which wires would have to be connected (or unconnected, if the case may be) to a receptacle (live or dead) in order for the downstream to be operational? OR, does it stem from the receptacle in the kids room?
In the kids room, it does not appear that the tab was broken off to me. But, before i messed with it, the switch did control one of the two outlets. Here's the wire config: if you're facing the box, out of top left comes 1 solid red, 1 solid white, 1 solid black, and 1 bare copper. from top right comes 1 solid black, 1 solid white, and 1 bare copper. The 2 blacks are pigtailed, joined w/wire connector, and 1 black comes off that. The 2 coppers are twisted together, one ends and other one disappears into wall.
My husband installed a brand new receptacle in the kids room last nite, but now only one of those outlets works, and none of the other ones in that room work either. Does that mean the downstream goes from kids room and then bathroom, and then bedroom? We did not try a new receptacle in bathroom after one in kids room was connected, so i don't know if it would work now or not...
 
  #7  
Old 10-14-04, 03:18 PM
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In the bathroom:

One set of incoming wires (black white and bare ground, all in the same cable) provides incoming power. The other set of wires is outgoing, apparently to the adjacent bedroom. The fact that these wires are unconnected accounts for the lack of power there.

Connect the two black wires to the line side hot screw terminal of the GFCI receptacle.
Connect the two white wires to the line side neutral/return screw terminal of the GFCI receptacle.
Connect the two ground wires or the end of one since they are already twisted together to the ground screw on the GFCI receptacle.
Depending on the configuration of the GFCI receptacle, you may need to use a wire nut and a pigtail on the black wires and on the white wires. You can only place one wire under a screw terminal, but if there are two screw terminals on the each line side connection, or if the screw holds down a metal plate that can accept two wires under it then you won;;t need the pigtails.




In the bedroom:

I need some more information. When you say that the switch controlled one of the two outlets, do you mean one half of the duplex receptacle (such as top half or bottom half) or do you mean one complete duplex receptacle, both top and bottom halves of one complete "outlet"?

Also, take a close look at the receptacle you removed from the kids room. I think that the tab was broken off. Compare the hot side (the brass screws) with the neutral/return side (the silver screws). You are looking for a small piece of metal joining the the plates behind the screws. Look very closely, and compare the old receptacle with a brand new one. Check both sides very carefully.

Also, do you own a tester of any sort? The best tester would be a neon light tester, which has two wire probes coming off the light.

Finally, are all these receptacles on the same circuit? How many circuit breakers did you have to turn off to kill power to both the bathroom and the bedroom? You should know what circuit breakers control each and every receptacle. If you don't then you need to find out, but that can wait until we are back in business.

I can't check bakc for another three hours, so you will be on your own. I suggest one thing at a time. First, since it is straight forward, fix up the bathroom and be done with that. Then go on to one of your other problems. You have mentioned so many, that I am a little confused as to what works and what doesn't. I will check back later tonight, so go ahead and provide information for me (or someone else) to work with.

Good luck.
 
  #8  
Old 10-14-04, 05:00 PM
mgb
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beelee, in your first post you said after you installed the new receptacle in the kids room that the bottom of that receptacle didn't work. Does the top of that receptacle work? I would guess that it doesn't but want to be sure. If it doesn't then it sounds like it gets it's power from the bathroom so you would need to install that gfci and then you should have power. And like Racraft said look closely at the receptacle you removed from the kids room, I'm willing to bet that the tab has been broke off to allow you to switch half of that receptacle. Then you would need to break the tab off of the new receptacle.
 
  #9  
Old 10-14-04, 06:16 PM
beelee
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Kids Room - Yes, tab was broken off old receptacle, and we'll break off on new one as well.
ok, here's the long story: before yesterday, master bedroom's bathroom had a 2 outlet receptacle that was not GFCI, so we have never used it. In fact, at least one of it's wires had been capped off w/wire connector (i can only assume it was black wire(s) to kill the power to that receptacle, since i did not pay attention when i removed the whole thing ) All other outlets in both bedrooms otherwise worked fine....until a plug was snapped off and got stuck in the top outlet of the 2-outlet receptacle (1 controlled by switch, 1 hot always) in the Kids Room, about a year ago. Plugs did not fit right cuz of the obstruction from broken plug, but the outlet worked and we used it anyway. Well, I couldn't take it anymore, so I turned off the MAIN (our box is not labeled, at all, I know I should have only turned off that particular breaker) figuring I would just pull out the stuck piece and that's it. I never even considered going as far as disconnecting all the wires, or that I might break the receptacle (really bad) trying to get that piece out! But I got it! That's when I thought I would just grab the unused receptacle from the master bath and use it to replace the one I broke. When I went to connect it in the kids room, however, I could not remember for sure which wires went where, nor did i know how to put it back into the bathroom, safely. So I gave it a shot, put the whites on the silvers, the red on top and the black on bottom, but one of the terminals would not lock the wire in. End result - I was not electrocuted, and only one of the two outlets worked, and not by the switch. That's when I noticed no other receptacles in either of the bedrooms was working! I was in way over my head, and decided to call hubby and turn myself in. Needless to say, he is not at all pleased with me - I cannot tell you how many times he has told me NOT to mess with anything electrical, EVER. Okay, I get it now...
So, here we are:
Master bath - wires are capped off, no outlets in that bedroom work.
Kids room - only 1/2 of the receptacle works, not by the switch, and no other outlets in that bedroom work. I am only observing now, but I would think we need new GFCI in master bath, and new receptacle in kids room.
My questions - Does it matter which whites go in each terminal, as long as they are both silver?
What about the red wire and the pigtailed black - which goes where on the brass terminals?
Do the bare coppers in each of the receptacles need to be connected to green screw, or should they be left "attached" to metal boxes as they were/are?
If this makes sense to anyone, I'd love to know! Then I can print all of this out for hubby when he gets home, and observe (silently) from afar while he fixes everything. Til then, thank you Engineer Bob and mgb for your feedback and advice, I'll need the 'Good Luck'! We'll let you know how it all works out.
 
  #10  
Old 10-14-04, 08:12 PM
mgb
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In the kids room it doesn't matter which white goes on which silver screw as you'll notice the tab on the neutral (white) side is still intact. In the bathroom however you need to put the 2 white under the silver screw marked LINE on the gfci, do not put either one of them on the screw marked LOAD. Some gfci's allow you to put 1 white on each side if the screw (this type would have 2 holes, one on each side of the screw where you would stick the wire in and when you tightened the screw it will clamp it) but if your gfci doesn't have these holes then you'll need to wire nut the 2 whites plus a short piece of white wire together and loop the other end of the short wire around the screw and tighten. When you connect the receptacle in the kids room DO NOT stick the wires in the back of it, always loop the wire around the screw and tighten. The holes in the back of the regular receptacles are called "stab-ins" that requires no tightening of a screw and are notorious for loosening up and giving you problems, they should be outlawed! I hope I haven't confused you with this long post, let us know how it went or if you need more help. Make your hubby a nice meal and I'm sure he'll forgive you!
 
  #11  
Old 10-14-04, 08:42 PM
beelee
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Well, my hero came home and before I even had a chance to tell him all I learned today, he had everything back in order, even better than before! It almost seems like I did all that on purpose to get the broken things fixed, huh? Nah, I would never...
Again, thanks to all who cared! You have a really cool thing going here. Unfortunately, I won't be needing your services in the future since I will not be touching any wires anywhere ever again, but there's always woodworking, painting, plumbing, computer glitches, .....
Til we meet again - take care and stay grounded!
 
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