Outdoor outlet wiring questions

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  #1  
Old 07-10-06, 03:34 PM
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Question Outdoor outlet wiring questions

I've got an 'outdoor' project that I need to finish. The story:
About 4 years ago, we had an inground pool put in. During the project, I asked the contractor to run an electrical line for me to be able to wire up some outlets for a back yard bar-b-que island I planed to make. So, they ran some braided, 12 gauge wire (about 40 feet in length from the pool equipment panel with the extra breaker for this line). There are three wires that they ran. Red, white and green.

Now it's time for me to hook those wire up to the three outlets I have on my bar-b-que island I built (out of 'cinder' block).

OK, first let me preface these question by saying that I'm not an
Electrician (obviously ), and that the pool contractor (actually, the electrition sub contractor) isn't available for 'questions' regarding something that wasn't drawn into the original blueprints.

I have three questions:

1. How many outlets/receptables can I place on that line if it has a 15amp breaker? Right now I have 3, but would like to add two more for a total of 5. Only one outlet will be plugged in (most of the time) to a small outdoor refriderator (2.0 cubit feet?). The other outlets would have occasional items pluged in, and probably never more than 3 outlets in use at any particular time. It's a rather large bbq island and I would like to place outlets in many locations for various uses like occasional outdoor tools, outdoor lighting, stereo, etc.

2. Assuming only three outlets right now, how do I wire the two relaying outlets? In other words, I have the line coming in, then outlet #1, then outlet #2, then the last outlet #3. How do I relay outlets #1 and #2 so that the line comes into them and goes out to feed the other outlets downline? Would I insert the red line coming into outlet #1 on the 'top' brass screw, then the red going out to outlet #2 on the bottom (or other) brass screw? Then the white would be similar, just on the silver screws? Or, do the incoming and outgoing need to be placed on the same, respective, screw? Or do I need to do a pig tail kind of setup?

3. Most electritions would use red for hot, white for neutral and green for ground....right?

Thanks much for any help/suggestions!
 
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  #2  
Old 07-10-06, 04:12 PM
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or may want to get a book on basic wiring first. The wording of your post seems to indicate a lack of basic knowledge.

Some questions that need to be answered is what size is the breaker? Is it a GFCI breaker? What size is the wire. What size is the conduit?

You need GFCI protection on the outlets. If the breaker is not GFCI then the first breaker must be GFCI then you would wire from that outlet to the next and so forth. If the source is in the middle you could run to load wires from the GFCI but you would probably want a double gang box to have room to work. The GFCI takes up a lot of space.

The reason I asked the size of the conduit is you might want to replace the existing 3 wires with 4 #10 for a 30 amp subpanel. You. could use the existing wires to pull the new ones.

White is always neutral and green is always ground.
 
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Old 07-10-06, 07:44 PM
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thanks for the reply ray...and yup, I lack basic knowledge on this subject thus the reason for posting my question on such a board, and also why i indicated
that I'm not an Electrician (obviously ),
.

those things aside, if anyone else is willing to lend a helping hand, that would be great!.

as for the breaker type, it is GFCI and the conduit is 1/2"

thanks.
 
  #4  
Old 07-10-06, 08:19 PM
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1. You can put as many receptacles as you want on a circuit. I suggest you change the breaker to be 20 amp, but 15 is also allowed.

2. No need to pigtail unless you have more than three wires to connect. Connect one to each screw as you have proposed. However, for the ground you do have to pigtail.

3. This is your only choice.
 
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Old 07-10-06, 08:38 PM
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excellent. thanks for the info racraft, i do appreciate it!
 
  #6  
Old 07-30-06, 01:37 PM
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Hello again.

I've installed the recepticles, 4 total. However, one of the outlets doesn't work (the GFCI).
The first one in the series is a GFCI, Leviton #8899-W 20 Amp, 125 Volt, NEMA 5-20R, 2P, 3W,.... This is the one that doesn't work, either plug.

The other three downstream are 'regular' 15A outlets and all six plugs work fine.

The back of the GFCI had four 'slip in' type posts at the bottom, two on each side. The top had four more slip in posts that are tapped up from the manufacturer. On the appropriate side, I put the incoming wires on the bottom slip in's and the outgoing respective wires right above those. Is this wiring wrong? Strange (to me anyway) that the others downstream work fine and didn't trip the breaker when tested, but the first outlet in the stream doesn't work.

Any ideas?

Thanks.
 
  #7  
Old 07-30-06, 01:44 PM
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The connections that are not taped are the LINE terminals. Connect the power to those terminals. Also connect the downstream receptacles to those if you do not want them to be GFCI protected. If you want them to be GFCI protected then connect the downstream receptacles to the LOAD terminals, which are the ones taped.
 
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Old 07-30-06, 01:46 PM
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You say "appropriate" but your description of where you put the wires doesn't intuitively match my experience. What are the labels on the holes where you put the wires? Two of the screws are for LOAD wires and two of the screws are for LINE wires. The incoming hots go on the LINE screws. If you want downstream GFCI protection, the outgoing wires go on the LOAD screws. If you do not want the downstream receptacles to be GFCI-protected, you put the outgoing wires also on the LINE screws.

If it was built right, white wires go on the silver screws, and black wires go on the gold screws.

Verify this and let us know what you have.
 
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Old 07-30-06, 02:09 PM
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Dont forget to mash the reset button on the gfi when you first install it.

I never knew why, but it seems that breakers, motor overloads, and gfi outlets come in the tripped position from the supply house.
 
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Old 07-30-06, 04:42 PM
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thanks for the reply's all.

current situation: the line (bottom) has the hot (red) wire going into the "line" brass colored post, the neutral (white) going into the "line" silver post.

change: Now instead of having the outgoing lines in the other set of line posts, I moved them to the load posts so the the hot (red) wire is going out of the 'load' brass post and the neutral (white) is going out of the 'load' silver post.

Both green from line coming in and load going out are 'pigtailed' together and attached to the green ground screw.

No outlets work now. Not even the downline three that did before.

I've hit the GFCI reset button, and doubled checked the breaker. None are tripped.

Any ideas on why none of them work now?

I'm not sure if it makes a difference, but the 'line' coming into this GFCI is coming from a 15 amp breaker in our pool electrical box, which is feed from our house main breaker panel (along with the other pool pump related breakers) via a 30 amp breaker.
 
  #11  
Old 07-30-06, 04:54 PM
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i thought perhaps a little primative diagram might help me describe this:
old config (downline 3 worked, GFCI didn't)

(nothing here) __ | | __ (nothing here)
(nothing here) __ . __ (nothing here)


(white going out) __ | | __ (red going out)
(white coming in) __ . __ (red coming in)

| (green ground screew, both grounds here)



new config (no outlets work, including GFCI)

(nothing here) __ | | __ (nothing here)
(white going out) __ . __ (red going out)


(nothing here) __ | | __ (nothing here)
(white coming in) __ . __ (red coming in)

| (green ground screew, both grounds here)
 
  #12  
Old 07-30-06, 06:42 PM
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  #13  
Old 07-30-06, 06:49 PM
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It sounds like the GFCI is bad.

When you buy a new one, buy a 15 amp one. Installing a 20 amp GFCI on a 15 amp circuit is a code violation, so you have to change what you did anyway.
 
  #14  
Old 07-30-06, 09:51 PM
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thanks a bunch for the info guys.

I'm going to buy another (15 amp this time) GFCI tomorrow.

Before I do, I'm wondering if I should just replace the other three downline recepticles with GFCI? The reason I ask, is that the link that bob22 posted, almost sounds (to me anyway) that they are implying all outdoor outlets should be GFCI? Or is my setup with 1 'up front' sufficient?
 
  #15  
Old 07-31-06, 05:18 AM
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Outdoor receptacles must be GFCI protected. This can be done with a GFCI breaker or with each receptacle being a GFCI receptacle, or with a single GFCI receptacle as the first receptacle providing downstream protection to the other receptacles. I do not recommend the last option if the receptacles are not in close proximity to each other.
 
  #16  
Old 08-01-06, 09:57 AM
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racraft, you were right on the money. turns out, it was a bad GFCI. once i put a new one (15 amp) in there using the line + load configuration...all receptacles work. Thanks for your expertise.

I really do appreciate all the help and info everyone gave on this topic. Thanks all!

 
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