Electrical problem

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  #1  
Old 02-04-05, 06:01 AM
Coady
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Electrical problem

Hi
I recently purchased a home built in 1978. I have been checking the wiring and have found that the smallest bedroom had a fault.
With further investigating I found this:

there is 2 outlets one ceiling light.
- at the switch there is 2 cables coming in from the top of the box 14-2 one is power source and the other is power to the light.
- there is also a 14-3 coming into the bottom of the box that feeds the outlets.
I have no idea why the 14-3 would be fused here and why it is in this bedroom. (the red wire is hooked into the marrett with the hot wires.)

What is the best way to wire this switch.
thanks for your response
Coady
 
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  #2  
Old 02-04-05, 07:54 AM
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What exactly makes you think it needs to be rewired? I'm going to tell you how to "rewire" it, but there's a pretty good chance it's already wired this way. You didn't say how it is currently wired. Your problems might be elsewhere. You didn't say what your "fault" is, so it's hard to speculate on this.

And how do you know that the 14/3 out the bottom goes to the receptacles, and the 14/2 out the top goes to the lights? Normally it would take X-ray vision to determine this. Are you making this assumption because the lights are up and the receptacles are down? Although this is a reasonable guess, it's still just a guess.

Have you examined the wiring at the receptacles and at the lights? Are there any red wires either place? I would guess that it is more likely that the red wires are at the receptacles, but it's worth checking.

Do you know if the receptacles are (or were intended to be) fully or half switched? If there are both red and black wires in the receptacle boxes, then it's likely that they are half switched.

For lack of anything better, I'll assume that all the information in your post is correct. And I'll assume that the receptacles are half-switched and half-unswitched. Then wire the switch this way (which is probably the way it already is):
  • Power cable black and receptacle cable black to one screw on the switch (using a pigtail, although it might currently use both the screw and the backstab).
  • Light cable black and receptacle cable red to the other screw on the switch.
  • All whites together.
This sounds like a situation where the switch originally controlled only the receptacles, and somebody added the ceiling light later.
 
  #3  
Old 02-08-05, 05:57 AM
Coady
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Still no power!

Hi
I have wired the switch the way you said and it still does not work (light & 2 outlet are not working ... now they were at first, months ago & then they just quit. Yes I have changed the fuse several times thinking that I may have put in a faulty one).
I do know the 14-3 only goes to the first outlet then to the next outlet it is 14-2.
The first outlet (14-3) is a split receptacle.
The light and the switch are all powered by one line.
Do you have any more suggestions? I would really appreciate your help.
thanks in advance
Coady
 
  #4  
Old 02-08-05, 06:53 AM
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Coady, you say,
(light & 2 outlet are not working ... now they were at first, months ago & then they just quit.
Do you mean they just stopped working for no apparent reason, or you were working on the wiring and they stopped working? If they just stopped working for no reason, then changing the wiring configuration of the switch will not help. You would want to change it back to the way it was, if you have indeed changed the configuration.

You ARE taking out the fuse and TESTING to make CERTAIN there is no power at the switch or device before you touch any wires, right???

Are you 100% confident that there are no other receptacles, lights, or hard-wired devices on this circuit? If you don't already have a map of your circuits in your house, this would be a really good time to make a map.

If there are other devices on this circuit, then make sure there is not a GFCI-receptacle that has tripped off. Also, make sure there are no loose terminals or backstabbed receptacles.

Once you have ruled out these possibilities, you can run a little test, if you are comfortable. Get a $6 neon tester. Test to see if there is voltage between hot and ground and between hot and neutral. The tester should light up with 120 volts in both cases. Try the test with the switch on and off. If you have volts between hot and ground but NOT between hot and neutral, you have an open neutral. You have a loose connection in the neutral (white) wires If you have no volts at all, then there is no 'hot' power. You can pull the fuse, pull out the switch and make sure the terminal screws are nowhere near any metal parts, and there are no kids around. Put the fuse back in, then test for volts between the power source cable black and the ground--there should be 120 volts. If not, there is a loose connection upstream, or your fuse may be faulty. To test the fuse, use a known-good fuse of the same rating from another circuit in the panel.

Post back with your results.
 
  #5  
Old 02-08-05, 11:19 AM
Coady
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the rest of the story!

Well the light & outlets 'were' working & a friend said he would check my oulets to see if they are wired correctly. Good eh?
Well this one shows a reverse polarity. So he decided to fix it & that is when it stopped working.
I don't believe the cables go else where, as there is actually a 3rd oulet in this bedroom, but connected to master bedroom circuit. This light & two outlets only ones in house & garage not working. As I tried them.
So weeks of wiring this way and that way... & I just want it up & working reverse polarity or not!
Yes I have tried all the other 15 amp fuses & then again & again, thinking that it has blown since I put it in... etc. Yes testing fuses all the time. Yes I do remove power prior to messing with this thing. Thanks for your help & I do need help to get it working it is driving me to distraction.
Thanks Coady
 
  #6  
Old 02-08-05, 11:29 AM
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No, you do not want it wired reverse polarity. You want it wired proper polarity. A light won't care whether it is reverse polarity or not, but some sensitive electronic equipment might.

Start at the switch. Determine if you have power coming into the switch. If you don;t have power into the switch and you are sure that you should, then find whatever feeds the switch and check for power there.

If you aren't sure that there should be power going into the switch, then check the receptacles to see if power enters there.

The bottom line is that if you don't have power coming in to the bedroom, nothing will work.

What else shares the same circuit as the bedroom? Check those receptacles/outlets for proper connections.
 
  #7  
Old 02-08-05, 11:39 AM
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Not to panic, Coady. This is a methodical, step-by-step thing. We'll see you through 'till it's fixed.

You say,
This light & two outlets only ones in house & garage not working.
That doesn't necessarily mean that these are the only devices on the circuit. Pull out the fuse, and see if there are any other non-working devices once the fuse is pulled out.

Also, do you know exactly what boxes your sparky opened up, that would give us a good place to start.
 
  #8  
Old 02-08-05, 12:04 PM
Coady
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Thanks!

Thanks so much I already feel relieved that there is support here.
I have pulled the fuse and they are they only sources not working.
Thanks
Coady
 
  #9  
Old 02-08-05, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Coady
I have pulled the fuse and they are they only sources not working.
Thanks
Coady
I'm not sure that you understand the question. Maybe you do, but let's be sure.

Are there any other lights or receptacles on this same circuit? I would be very surprised if the answer is no, as it would be unusual for there to be only two receptacles and a ceiling fixture on a circuit, especially a "small bedroom" circuit.
 
  #10  
Old 02-09-05, 07:30 PM
Coady
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Gettin' distracted !

Well you could be right, it maybe the end of the circuit that also includes the bathroom!!! The bathroom is not up and working either as Sparky is trying to get a gifi working in there!!! so a long tedious problem if this is the case.
We all know that a the bathroom is supposed to be on a circuit of its own!
It would be a huge ordeal to get the bathroom on its own if it is tied into the bathroom circuit...
I am back to being distracted again.
 
  #11  
Old 02-10-05, 05:24 AM
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I'm not exactly sure of the dates, but I don't think that bathrooms had to be on their own circuit in 1978.
 
  #12  
Old 02-10-05, 11:23 AM
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It sounds like it is time to fire Sparky. No offence to your friend, but he/she seems to be struggling. Electricity is not a trial-and-error thing. People die and houses burn because wiring is done wrong. It sounds like it is time to call in a licenced electrician. In fact, you may find that your friend is relieved to have you offer.
 
  #13  
Old 02-14-05, 06:24 AM
Coady
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Hi
Yes I have been suggesting a qualified electrician all along, but my sparky will not have it... he has a very determined nature.
But will have to seek someone in soon.
thanks coady
 
  #14  
Old 02-17-05, 07:21 AM
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When talking about circuits and the words "garage" and "bathroom" are used, you've got to consider a GFI. The original issue was "reversed polarity", which may or may not have been a false conclusion, but I would guess that the original switching of polarity caused a GFI to trip.
 
  #15  
Old 02-17-05, 02:52 PM
Coady
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GIfI

Yes your right GIFI is definitly the word we all think of when bathroom or garage are spoken about... but do keep in ming this Townhouse was built in 1978, perhaps the single circuit for a bathroom was not an issue then.. I am not sure maybe someone else does... everyone I ask doesn't remember.
GIFI are certainly a much later issue then 1978.
But no person more than me would like to have an assurance that this place is safe! and when the boxes in this house have been opened up it was to my gasping surprise that even the ground had been cut real short and it is a problem in it self... to get them screwed to the box and into a marrett.
So yes if at sometime I can get the GIFI in the bathroom and the garage and the laundry room and the kitchen.... that would be amazing!
The problem contiues! The original problem was likely the short grounds not connected to anything etc.
 
  #16  
Old 02-20-05, 12:43 PM
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PLEASE GET A LICENCED ELECTRICIAN.

No offence, but your sparky doesn't have a clue. People die every day working on electrical wiring because they don't know what they're doing. People die because of wiring that appears to work, but is not done in a code-compliant manner. Houses burn down for the same reason.

You could have horrific financial liability because of the actions of your friend. You must tell your friend to cease-and-desist. If Sparky won't stop, he is not much of a friend.
 
  #17  
Old 02-20-05, 07:24 PM
Coady
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Yes I get the idea,
I have phoned a reputable electrician that I trust & he is away for the next three weeks or so. But due to the extreme cautions I am getting from you, I want to be safe .... SO in the meantime... if I pulled these particular fuses out of the panel till he returns. Will that make us safe from fires?
thanks in advance to your reply
 
  #18  
Old 02-21-05, 11:34 AM
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Yes, this is a good idea.

While you have the electrician at your house you should have him/her check the fuses in your main panel to make sure that the fuses are all of the correct amperage.

I'm sorry about the inconvenience of having to power down the circuits, but you (and I) will sleep better.
 
  #19  
Old 02-21-05, 06:17 PM
Coady
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Thanks one was a 20 amp and it should be a 15 I already changed it.
thanks
coady
 
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