Dazed and Confused

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  #1  
Old 11-30-05, 03:39 PM
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Dazed and Confused

I have a double size box located above kitchen countertop.

One side is a single pole switch(for the garbage disposal) and the other side is a duplex receptacle.

There are 4 cables into/out of the box.

There is one 3wire and three 2wire cables..all are 14 guage.

For the time being I am making the assumption that this box is in the middle of a run as I know ..

(1)The switched 2w goes to the garbage disposal.
(2)One of the other 2w is(or was) hard wired to the dishwasher(temporarily removed)
(3)The remaining 2w feeds the remainder of the countertop receptacles.


All five neutrals(four plus one from the recptacle) are wire-nutted together.There are four black wires wire-nutted together(the disposal,via the switch,the one from the 3w cable,one from the receptacle and the other is from one of the two remaining 2w ccts).

The remaining black from the other of the two above ccts(either the countertop recptacles or the dishwasher) is wire-nutted to the RED wire from the 3w cct.

I know this is kinda long-winded but it's as clearly as I could explain what I see in the box.If anyone can help me by answering any of the following it would be much appreciated and a great learning experience for me.

With breaker on I get 115V across any pair of wires.With breaker off I get still get a 15V-20V across any pair of wires which confuses me as any time I've tested any other outlet with breaker off I only get a negligible mV reading on meter. Why?

With the breaker off,I also don't understand why I don't get the 15V-20V showing up at the next countertop receptacle in the run.I just get the small mV reading there.Why?

What is the purpose of the 3w cable in the box and why is the RED wire from it joined to a black from one other cable...also how can I tell if it's joined to the countertop receptacle cct or the dishwasher cct?

Thanks for any advice and answers.

P.S. Im not touching a thing in there(unless I shut off every breaker in the panel) 'til I hear that it's OK to do so.
 
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  #2  
Old 11-30-05, 03:49 PM
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Here is my guess on the situation.

You have a multi wire circuit. Two 15 amp circuits that share a common neutral. Are you in Canada?

Turn off the other breaker and your funny voltage will go away.

The red wire and the black wire from the same cable bring power into this box, and each is connected to a separate 15 amp breaker in the box.

To determine whether the dishwasher is connected to red feed or the black feed, turn off the breaker feeding the red wire and see if the dishwasher has power. If it does, it is connected to the other breaker. If it doesn't, then it is connected to the breaker feeding the red wire.
 
  #3  
Old 11-30-05, 04:07 PM
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Bob,

Thanks for the quick response.Sorry I never realised my location was not shown..I just edited it.

I will do what you suggest and kill both breakers(have to find the "right" other one) and then re-check my voltages.

Thanks again
 
  #4  
Old 12-03-05, 10:45 AM
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Bob,

Thanks for the advice.What you described is exactly the case.I had to kill 2 breakers to remove all voltage at the box.

Also,I noticed on another thread that you mentioned that code doesn't allow the garbage disposal to be on same cct as countertop outlets.

The garbage disposal in this case is the cct that uses the RED wire from the 3w cct.

Is this cct (GD) consider isolated from the countertop ccts since it is wired as above?
 
  #5  
Old 12-03-05, 10:54 AM
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Your circuit is legal as long as none of the counter top receptacles are powered off the same breaker as the disposal and the dishwasher, with one caveat.

You did not mention a GFCI at all. To complete the picture and make the circuit completely legal (and safe) you should replace that duplex receptacle with a GFCI one and then feed the downstream receptacles off the LOAD side of the GFCI.
 
  #6  
Old 12-03-05, 11:31 AM
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OK..Thanks Bob...I will replace the receptacle with a GFI one.It means that the fridge would then be on the GFI cct as it uses the last receptacle on the run so I will have to live with that I guess.

Re: the fridge.It's not against code to have it on a GFI cct..just not recommended..is that correct?
 
  #7  
Old 12-03-05, 11:38 AM
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No code restriction to having a refrigerator on a GFCI.

How many receptacles on this circuit? Could you buy a GFCI receptacle for each one?
 
  #8  
Old 12-03-05, 12:05 PM
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Thumbs up

The fridge is on the last receptacle in the run
 
  #9  
Old 12-03-05, 02:17 PM
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GFI them and run another outlet for the fridge.

While you can GFI a fridge, it is not recommnded, mostly becasue you wouldn't want it to trip and lose your food.
 
  #10  
Old 12-03-05, 02:25 PM
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You still didn't tell me how many receptacles on this circuit.

I would run a new circuit for the refrigerator. As a second choice I would use GFCI receptacles everywhere except the refrigerator and only use the line side of the GFCIs.
 
  #11  
Old 12-03-05, 05:03 PM
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Sorry..I have 4 receptacles(incl.the fridge) on the cct.I thought since the fridge was at end of the run I couldn't GFI the others without it affecting the fridge receptacle.Is that not the case?

Too much trouble to run a separate cct for the fridge.....that was my first thought also.

Thanks guys for the help.
 
  #12  
Old 12-03-05, 07:22 PM
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You can (if you want) make the first three receptacles each a GFCI and only use the LINE terminals for all connections. GFCI pass through protection only applies if you use the LOAD termonals for downstream parts of the circuit.
 
  #13  
Old 12-03-05, 09:51 PM
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I'm a bit confused re: LOAD and LINE connections on the GFCI.

I understand that the LINE is the cct coming into the receptacle from source and LOAD is any light,switch etc .. that may be attached but I'm not quite getting how anything that is plugged into the CFCI receptacle is GFCI protected if I am terminating both the incoming cct and the outgoing cct(to other receptacles which will have their own GFCI) to the LINE side only ...which I would have to do in order to keep the fridge from being GFCI protected.
This would mean two wires on each LINE screw..is that acceptable?

I hope this question makes sense and please excuse my ignorance if I'm missing the obvious.I'd rather ask a silly question and be safe than not and be sorry.
 
  #14  
Old 12-03-05, 09:59 PM
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I think my light bulb may just have gone on.....

So,wiring as above would mean that each receptacle (if GFCI protected) only protects devices plugged into that specific receptacle as the device is "effectively" being plugged into the LOAD side of the GFCI?

Is that correct?
 
  #15  
Old 12-04-05, 06:50 AM
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Yes Jack, I think you have it.

Back wire devices allow two wires per terminal. Back wire devices have a small plate that the wires are inserted behind. The screw is tightened and pushes the plate tight, holding the wire in place. For these connection you leave the wire straight and insert between the plate and the device.

Regular screw terminals only are allowed one wire per screw. You bend the wire clockwise around the screw and tighten the screw. To connect more than one wire to these terminals you must use a wire nut and a pigtail.
 
  #16  
Old 12-04-05, 09:34 AM
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Bob,

Thanks for all the help(and your patience).I have one kast question......

All of the wiring is 12g and all of the breakers involved are 20A.I'm not quite sure if I should be using 15A or 20A GFI's.I have a couple(Leviton) at home here and they say on the box...

15A at receptacle,20A feed through..what exactly does that mean?

I think I recall you(or someone) mentioning all bathroom GFI's must be 20A(is that 20Aat receptacle,20A feed through?)....would these one be good for the kitchen?
 
  #17  
Old 12-04-05, 10:09 AM
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In the US, the NEC allows 15 amp receptacles on 20 amp circuits. This means that you can use 15 amp or 20 amp GFCI receptacles, as long as the feed through on the GFCI is rated for 20 amps, which I believe they all are.
 
  #18  
Old 12-05-05, 01:28 PM
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OK Bob...thanks again for your assistance.
 
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