help wiring a few outlets

Reply

  #1  
Old 08-18-05, 07:13 PM
jackmacokc
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
help wiring a few outlets

help! i'm trying to wire my bathroom which i've just remodeled. here is a link to how the wiring is laid out.



help me connect the dots please...because i've tried several ways of connecting the wires and nothing seems to work.

the middle light is not in use and does not need to work.

here is how i have it laid out now.


please tell me what i'm doing wrong! all i'm getting is sparks and flipped breakers!
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 08-18-05, 07:15 PM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 995
Originally Posted by jackmacokc
i've tried several ways of connecting the wires and nothing seems to work...

all i'm getting is sparks and flipped breakers!
While I look through your links, please stop guessing immediately!! Electricity is not a guessing game. There are some combinations that will appear to work until they kill you!!
 
  #3  
Old 08-18-05, 07:18 PM
jackmacokc
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
yes, thats why i'm here now. everything is turned off...but i cannot afford to call an electrician.

anybody who could help me solve this simple wiring problem would be much appreciated.
 
  #4  
Old 08-18-05, 07:38 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Please describe the setup in detail. Are those really four separate boxes? What color are those wires for real? Your picture makes some sense, but not enough to hazard an answer.
 
  #5  
Old 08-18-05, 07:56 PM
jackmacokc
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
ok, sorry...let me give some more detail..here's an updated picture:



there are 2 light switches and a receptacle inside a junction box.

there is a red/white pair coming from below that lead to another receptacle.

there is a blue/white pair coming from light #1 coming from the top of the junction box.

there is a blue/white pair coming from the unused light (other end is capped) at the top of the junction box.

there is a blue/red/white set coming from light #2 from the top of the junction box.

the wires come down as pictured.

the switches/receptacle can be re-arranged if necessary.

ultimate goal: switch control light #1, switch control light #2, receptacle work.


what i'm unsure of is how to connect it all..

does that help?

here's how i think it might go:
 
  #6  
Old 08-18-05, 08:09 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Describe the wiring in details at the first light, the one which has the red, white and blue wire. We need to figure out which of the wires is always hot and which one will need to be switched.
 
  #7  
Old 08-18-05, 08:12 PM
jackmacokc
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Originally Posted by racraft
Describe the wiring in details at the first light,m the one which has the red, white and blue wire. We need to figure out which of the wires is always hot and which one will need to be switched.
i'm pretty sure light #2, which has the red/white/blue is being fed by the breaker box..i believe its the one that is always hot.
 
  #8  
Old 08-18-05, 08:13 PM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 995
Looks like you are missing a wire between light #2 and its switch. The light is getting a constant hot and then it goes to the switch, but doesn't return to the light. Light #1 looks like it should work in that configuration.

Much better picture/description this time.

Edit: Turns out you were missing a wire to that switch, but in later posts you have made up for it with the constant hot coming in separately and using the blue as the switch leg.
 

Last edited by MAC702; 08-18-05 at 08:58 PM.
  #9  
Old 08-18-05, 08:14 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Yes, what you are calling light number 2 brings in the power. Describe the wiring there. We need to figure out whether the red wire is always hot or whether the blue wire is always hot.
 
  #10  
Old 08-18-05, 08:19 PM
jackmacokc
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
i'm not sure, but when i connected a light fixture to it earlier, i didnt see a red wire..so i'm assuming the red is coming from the breaker box and therefore is always hot. does that sound right?
 
  #11  
Old 08-18-05, 08:21 PM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 995
Is a red wire landed to the circuit breaker for that circuit?
 
  #12  
Old 08-18-05, 08:29 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Assuming the red wire is always hot:

Connect the red always hot wire to the red wire going to the extra receptacle, and to the brass screw on the receptacle with the switches, and to one screw on each switch. You will need pigtails to accomplish this.

Connect the blue wire going to light 1 to the other terminal on one of the switches.

Connect the blue wire going to light 2 to the other terminal on the other switch.

Connect all white wires together and to the silver screw on the receptacle.

Connect all grounds together. Ground each switch, the receptacle, and each box, if the boxes are metal.


If the blue wire is always hot then then you will have to modify the directions accordingly.
 
  #13  
Old 08-18-05, 08:35 PM
jackmacokc
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Originally Posted by MAC702
Is a red wire landed to the circuit breaker for that circuit?
i would have to pull the panel cover off to know for sure, but i'm pretty sure.


assuming that, would this be correct?

 
  #14  
Old 08-18-05, 08:38 PM
jackmacokc
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Originally Posted by racraft
Assuming the red wire is always hot:

Connect the red always hot wire to the red wire going to the extra receptacle, and to the brass screw on the receptacle with the switches, and to one screw on each switch. You will need pigtails to accomplish this.

Connect the blue wire going to light 1 to the other terminal on one of the switches.

Connect the blue wire going to light 2 to the other terminal on the other switch.

Connect all white wires together and to the silver screw on the receptacle.

Connect all grounds together. Ground each switch, the receptacle, and each box, if the boxes are metal.


If the blue wire is always hot then then you will have to modify the directions accordingly.

like so?
 
  #15  
Old 08-18-05, 08:50 PM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 995
Originally Posted by jackmacokc
would this be correct?

You're getting switch legs confused with neutrals, it looks like. I think that'll give you a dead short (and hopefully a tripped breaker) as soon as you tried to turn on light #2.
 
  #16  
Old 08-18-05, 08:54 PM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 995
Originally Posted by jackmacokc
like so?
Yeah, electrically that will work, now you just have to run the wires right so all the connections happen in the boxes. As long as connections are on the same wire, it's the same as if they had been on the central wirenut in your simplified diagram.

Maybe draw another diagram with more detail as to doing that, so we can see it first before you run your wires.

Don't forget what racraft said about all the grounds.
 
  #17  
Old 08-18-05, 09:52 PM
jackmacokc
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Originally Posted by MAC702
Yeah, electrically that will work, now you just have to run the wires right so all the connections happen in the boxes. As long as connections are on the same wire, it's the same as if they had been on the central wirenut in your simplified diagram.

Maybe draw another diagram with more detail as to doing that, so we can see it first before you run your wires.

Don't forget what racraft said about all the grounds.
ok, i hooked it up like that...and light #2 works and the outlet works, but when i flip on light #1, my test in the outlet tells me HOT/GRD REVERSED and I get no light. Any ideas?
 
  #18  
Old 08-19-05, 04:22 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Tell me which wiring diagram you are currently following.

This one appears to be the way you want to go.

http://img375.imageshack.us/img375/9678/wiring20xc.jpg

If it still doesn't work properly, check the wiring at light 1 and report back on what you find.
 
  #19  
Old 08-19-05, 05:14 AM
jackmacokc
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Originally Posted by racraft
Tell me which wiring diagram you are currently following.

This one appears to be the way you want to go.

http://img375.imageshack.us/img375/9678/wiring20xc.jpg

If it still doesn't work properly, check the wiring at light 1 and report back on what you find.
i ended up wiring it exactly as pictured there. and like i said, light #2 and outlet work, but light #1 gives me nothing...my tester in the outlet shows grd/hot reversed when i flip light #1 on.

here's a new picture with the actual wiring that i did last night

 

Last edited by jackmacokc; 08-19-05 at 05:30 AM.
  #20  
Old 08-19-05, 05:31 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Check the wiring at the light and report back on what you find.
 
  #21  
Old 08-19-05, 05:32 AM
jackmacokc
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Originally Posted by racraft
Check the wiring at the light and report back on what you find.
which one? note that i posted a new picture on my last post in case you didnt see it.

here it is again
 
  #22  
Old 08-19-05, 05:37 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Start with the light that doesn't work, but both lights would be better.
 
  #23  
Old 08-19-05, 06:03 AM
jackmacokc
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Originally Posted by racraft
Start with the light that doesn't work, but both lights would be better.
Sorry to sound like an idiot, but what exactly do you mean check the wiring?

You mean to just make sure the connections are good or ?

BTW, thanks for all your help so far. Glad theres some good people out there to help someone. I bet you're just thinking "The bill's in the mail buddy!"
 
  #24  
Old 08-19-05, 06:05 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Tell me exactly how the wires are connected in the box. All the wires, those that are connected to the light and those that are connected to anything else, including other wires.
 
  #25  
Old 08-19-05, 06:13 AM
jackmacokc
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Originally Posted by racraft
Tell me exactly how the wires are connected in the box. All the wires, those that are connected to the light and those that are connected to anything else, including other wires.
Gotcha - Here's a detail of the wiring which coincides with the latest picture


Sidenote: what is the proper term for the blue wire?

if you're looking at the wall there is: LS#1 LS#2 OUTLET

light #1 blue wire to light switch #1 bottom post
light #2 blue wire to light switch #2 bottom post
lower wall outlet white wire to wire nut
light #1 white wire to wire nut
light #2 white wire to wire nut
white wire nut to outlet silver post
light #2 red wire to wire nut
lower wall outlet red wire to wire nut
red wire nut to outlet gold post, pigtailed over light switch #2 top post, to light switch #1 top post

is that what you're looking for?
 
  #26  
Old 08-19-05, 06:15 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,219
Check the wiring at the lights means to look in the junction box at the light fixture, and describe how the wires are connected; which colors in what fashion. Describe all of the wires in both junction boxes.

Could you also please describe what you mean by the 'outlet works'. Have you actually tried the outlet with something plugged in, or just the little three light tester? Do the lights on the tester change when you flip the switch?

Finally, you've drawn the hot wire connecting from receptacle to switch to switch. Please post a picture of how you made that connection. There are a few ways of doing this, most of them wrong.

My guess from the photograph: With the light switch off, there is one yellow light on the outlet tester. With the light switch on, the red light comes on. The outlet does not in fact work, and has an incorrect neutral connection. The neutral is disconnected somewhere. When you switch on the light, then the disconnected neutral gets energized _through the bulb_ and lights up the red light on the tester.


-Jon
 
  #27  
Old 08-19-05, 06:23 AM
jackmacokc
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Originally Posted by winnie
Check the wiring at the lights means to look in the junction box at the light fixture, and describe how the wires are connected; which colors in what fashion.

Could you also please describe what you mean by the 'outlet works'. Have you actually tried the outlet with something plugged in, or just the little three light tester? Do the lights on the tester change when you flip the switch?

Finally, you've drawn the hot wire connecting from receptacle to switch to switch. Please post a picture of how you made that connection. There are a few ways of doing this, most of them wrong.

-Jon
I'll have to verify with the contractor who installed the light, but at this point assume i'm right, its a blue and white wire running to light #1 connected to a black and white fire for the light fixture. same is the story for light #2, just simple lights. light #1 is a canister light, light #2 bar light (in a bathroom).

good point on the outlet, the tester is all i've plugged in at this point. the lights change when i flip switch #1 for light #1. switch #2 doesnt affect it (and works).

I'm at work now and cant post any more pictures until lunch time when I go home, but I'm pretty sure I got it right. its hooked on light switch #1, pigtailed on light switch #2, pig tailed on outlet, the inserted into the wire nut. i'll get a picture as soon as i get home.
 
  #28  
Old 08-19-05, 06:25 AM
jackmacokc
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Originally Posted by winnie
My guess from the photograph: With the light switch off, there is one yellow light on the outlet tester. With the light switch on, the red light comes on. The outlet does not in fact work, and has an incorrect neutral connection. The neutral is disconnected somewhere. When you switch on the light, then the disconnected neutral gets energized _through the bulb_ and lights up the red light on the tester.
this could be. my wire nuts may not be doing the job. i may need to get something to clamp the wires more solidly. right now the neutral wire nut has 4 wires going into it, the hot wire nut has 3. i went and purchased large ones last night so they would fit, and they do fit - but that doesnt necesarily mean they are all connected well in there. right?
 
  #29  
Old 08-19-05, 09:22 AM
jackmacokc
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
ok, as requested, updated pictures

heres with my notes


heres by itself


also, if it helps any, this was originally 3 switches. one is not needed, which is why i'm trying to convert to a receptacle.
 
  #30  
Old 08-19-05, 09:34 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,219
Okay, I am still concerned about how your ran the 'pigtail' hot from receptacle to switch to switch. If this is a continuous wire which was carefully stripped in the middle and then wrapped around the screw, then this is okay. If you actually have two separate wires under the screws than you've gotten this detail wrong; screw terminals are only rated for a single wire. On the receptacle, since there are two screw terminals, you can always attach one wire to each terminal. If you have the 'backwire' devices where you have holes that the wires go into prior to squeezing them with the screw, then you may be okay with two wires on each terminal.

Looking at the red wirenut holding the 'hot' wires, I can see one bit of bare copper. This suggests that one wire was stripped too long, or that it got pushed out of the bunch when the wire nut was screwed down. A similar issue in the neutral wire nut could be the cause of your problem. My hunch is that the problem is the neutral connection at the junction box for light 2, which feeds power to this switch box. But you should carefully double-check all of your wire-nuts to see if a wire got pushed out.

Finally, your picture makes it clear that your wiring is in conduit, but that you are not using 'self grounding' receptacles and switches. You have a choice: replace the receptacles and switches with the self grounding kind (these have little clips on the screws which make good contact with the metal box), or run grounding pigtails to the ground screws on the devices.

-Jon
 
  #31  
Old 08-19-05, 09:40 AM
jackmacokc
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Originally Posted by winnie
Okay, I am still concerned about how your ran the 'pigtail' hot from receptacle to switch to switch. If this is a continuous wire which was carefully stripped in the middle and then wrapped around the screw, then this is okay. If you actually have two separate wires under the screws than you've gotten this detail wrong; screw terminals are only rated for a single wire. On the receptacle, since there are two screw terminals, you can always attach one wire to each terminal. If you have the 'backwire' devices where you have holes that the wires go into prior to squeezing them with the screw, then you may be okay with two wires on each terminal.

Looking at the red wirenut holding the 'hot' wires, I can see one bit of bare copper. This suggests that one wire was stripped too long, or that it got pushed out of the bunch when the wire nut was screwed down. A similar issue in the neutral wire nut could be the cause of your problem. My hunch is that the problem is the neutral connection at the junction box for light 2, which feeds power to this switch box. But you should carefully double-check all of your wire-nuts to see if a wire got pushed out.

Finally, your picture makes it clear that your wiring is in conduit, but that you are not using 'self grounding' receptacles and switches. You have a choice: replace the receptacles and switches with the self grounding kind (these have little clips on the screws which make good contact with the metal box), or run grounding pigtails to the ground screws on the devices.

-Jon

It is one continuous wire for the pigtail wire, i made sure to strip it carefully, so no problems there.

As far as the bare red wire, that came out when i pulled it all out to take the picture. I'll make sure its all in the nut nice and good and tight when i shove it back in.

As far as the grounding wire, i can pig tail one - that should be no problem, but where do i ultimately connect it to, just the box?

Assuming I do all of the above, any ideas why the light switch on the far left is not working?
 
  #32  
Old 08-19-05, 09:55 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,219
As I said, the problem is with the neutral connection. The light switch on the left _is_ working; you can tell this because when you flip it the lights on the receptacle change. The light is not working because the light is not getting any power; you need both a hot and a neutral for the light to work. Find the bad neutral connection, and it will fix both the receptacle and the light.

The fact that the wire fell out of the wirenut suggests that you need to practise a bit making wire-nut splices.

The ground wire needs to be solidly connected to the box. You can buy little clips that will clamp the wire to the side of the box, or special grounding screws that hold wire down to holes which may be tapped in the back of the box. Or, as I said, you can use self grounding switches and receptacles that simply ground directly to the box when screwed down. Your current devices will probably do this as well, since it is a metal box and they have metal yokes, but this is not considered reliable without the additional clip.

Good luck.

-Jon
 
  #33  
Old 08-21-05, 07:55 PM
jackmacokc
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Originally Posted by winnie
As I said, the problem is with the neutral connection. The light switch on the left _is_ working; you can tell this because when you flip it the lights on the receptacle change. The light is not working because the light is not getting any power; you need both a hot and a neutral for the light to work. Find the bad neutral connection, and it will fix both the receptacle and the light.

The fact that the wire fell out of the wirenut suggests that you need to practise a bit making wire-nut splices.

The ground wire needs to be solidly connected to the box. You can buy little clips that will clamp the wire to the side of the box, or special grounding screws that hold wire down to holes which may be tapped in the back of the box. Or, as I said, you can use self grounding switches and receptacles that simply ground directly to the box when screwed down. Your current devices will probably do this as well, since it is a metal box and they have metal yokes, but this is not considered reliable without the additional clip.

Good luck.

-Jon
Sorry for the long delay, we went to the lake for the weekend. But I returned tonight and you were absolutely right!

I took the hot wires and made sure they were nice and tightly connected, and then did the same for the neutrals...and viola! Everything is working now perfectly.

Thanks again all for all your help. You have helped me tremendously and I owe you a cold pint. Cheers!
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'