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# Confusing wiring configuration

#1
02-16-06, 12:34 PM
bigbillya
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Confusing wiring configuration

We have recently purchased a new house and are not familiar with the wiring. We have been tripping a 20A circuit breaker when the switch is turned on to our outside lights. We have unwired the switches and here is what is in the (2) switch box. (2) Black / white / ground wires going into the box (probably chained into the box from somewhere else. (1) Black / White / ground wire going to a ceiling light ( which is one separate switch) and one Black / White / Red / Ground wire which went to the other switch for the outside light.

The wires are connected in the basement into a connection box. In that box, the whites were all connected together, the blacks were connected together and the one red wire was connected to the single wire leading to the outside light.

What is the proper wiring in the switch box for the two switches and why was the red wire from the outside light switch connected to the black wire leading to the physical outdoor lighe??

#2
02-16-06, 01:17 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
It would help us if you told us ALL the wires in all the boxes.

The red wire is the switched hot wire for the light.

It's hard to tell what ALL the wires are for since you didn't tell us what ALL the wires are.

The most likely scenario for the switch box is that the whites should be tied together. The black for the ceiling light should be tied to one switch. The red wire should be ties to the other switch. The other black wires should be wire nutted together and then connected to the input sides of both switches.

If the outside lights trip the breaker, the most likely cause is a short in that wire. What type of outside light is this?

#3
02-17-06, 05:59 AM
bigbillya
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I think you have helped with the red wire. If I understand what you are talking about: The black wires which would be nutted together would have the one black wire from the black / red / white / ground wire, two black wires from the two unidentified wires in the box and two jumpers, one going to the outside light switch and one going to the ceiling light switch.

Can a red nut hold the (5) black wires we are talking about???

#4
02-19-06, 01:58 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: PA
Posts: 1,909
Can a red nut hold the (5) black wires we are talking about???
Color alone doesn't tell you. You need to see the listings from the manufacturer. It sounds like you are talking about five 12 AWG wires.
No. Get a big blue wirenut or divide into three groups of three.

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