Why two cables?

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  #1  
Old 12-13-05, 05:57 PM
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Why two cables?

I am relocating an electrical outlet. In order to do so, I need to add cable to the existing cable, and splice together in a junction box. This brings me to my dilema. There are two 14/2 w/ ground cables going into the outlet right now. However, on one cable (that appears to connect to a light in the ceiling) the black wire is not even used in the outlet box. Whenever I splice my wires in my new junction box, do I need to splice that "unused" black wire, or can I just leave it disconnected in the junction box and move on to the new location of my outlet? Why would there be two cables going into this outlet? Should I trace the one back to the source (which I believe is a light in the ceiling) and disconnect it? or will that create even more problems?

Thanks in advance for the help.
 
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Old 12-13-05, 07:51 PM
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If the black wire is truly not hooked up, then just don;t include any of that cable in the new junction box. Without the black wire it's not used anyway.

Or, figure out where that cable goes and decide if you do perhaps need it after all.
 
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Old 12-13-05, 07:58 PM
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I just did exactly that, and determined that the cable does in fact go to the light figture in the ceiling. I'm not sure why they would have wired a cable from that fixture to the outlet that isn't ultimatley hooked up. Does that still mean that I do not need to run that cable in my new junction box?
 
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Old 12-13-05, 08:17 PM
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You have something that is illogical. So attempting to apply logic is not going to work here. And attempting to guess at what is going on is also going to fail. Somebody who didn't know what they were doing wired this.

If we were there, we'd check out the entire circuit, draw a diagram of every wire in it, and then we might know what's going on. It would be a tedious process, even for an experienced person. Then we'd problably correct the likely hazard.

The next logical step in the process is to examine all the wiring at that light fixture.
 
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Old 12-13-05, 08:44 PM
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Is the wire hot? Is it switched with the light? Having a hot wire in a box not connected to anything is probably a bad idea. At the very least you should tape the end of the wire so it can't touch anything.

Steve
 
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Old 12-13-05, 09:17 PM
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I'm gonna sound like a real novice now. I don't know if it's hot or not. I just got this new Sperry multimeter with unclear instructions to me. They probably assume that you know the basics...which I don't. Can I leave that circuit on and touch my mutimeter probes to that wire without getting zapped??
 
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Old 12-14-05, 12:48 AM
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Lose the mutimeter for this test since this is new to you and go get yourself one of these......
http://www.goodmart.com/images/prodi...eal/5FS083.jpg
Simply touch any wire with one probe and ground (bare copper wires in the box) with the other probe. The light will come on in the tester if the wire is hot.

I agree with John if this black wire is just in the box not connected to another wire or the outlet then something is undone, illogical or mistakenly wired. You may not have a clear picture of the wiring.

How about the other wires in the cable with the black (white and bare) are they connected to anything?
 
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Old 12-14-05, 06:34 AM
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It sounds to me like maybe originally the cable ran to the receptacle from the switch (for a switched half-receptacle for a lamp). Later, in order to add a ceiling light, a ceiling box was put in and the wire to the receptacle moved to the ceiling box and a new wire run to the switch (perhaps a junction box was used in the attic rather than a complete new cable to the switch). A new receptacle was put in to replace the one with the removed tabs but the cable was left in place.
 
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Old 12-14-05, 09:07 PM
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Thanks for the help guys. FYI, I figured out how to test the wires....finally, and sure enough the wire was dead...not hot. So, it has since been removed from the crawl space.
 
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