3 gang single pole help

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  #1  
Old 12-24-06, 10:15 PM
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3 gang single pole help

I currently have a 2 gang single pole plastic box. I want to replace it with a 3 gang all single pole box.

It appears to me that there are too many wires in the box now for what is there now. There are two red wires, these are wire nutted together seperate from everything else and not connected to any of the switches. There is one cable coming in the bottom of the box with the above mentioned red, a black, a white and a ground. There is another cable going out the top with the other above mentioned red, a black, a white and a ground. The black from the bottom cable goes to the first switch, then a jumper to the black inlet to the other switch.

All of the whites are nutted together. All of the grounds are nutted together.

My question is would it be better to create pigtails and nut them all together with the hot black, then put each on on the inlet side of each switch, or use jumpers from one to the next and the next?

Also, if you had to guess (I don't have a circuit tester but am going to get one after Christmas) would you think the supply (hot) cable would be the one coming in the bottom?
 
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  #2  
Old 12-24-06, 10:22 PM
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I never guess. I always verify using a meter what wire is what.

Unless you have back wire terminals, there is no way recommended way to daisy chain all of the switches. Backstabs are unreliable, and two wires around a single screw is not allowed. Use a wire nut and pigtails to connect power to the switches.

Your comment about too many wires does not make sense.
 
  #3  
Old 12-24-06, 10:28 PM
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Clarification

Racraft,

Thanks for the quick response. Perhaps I did not make myself clear.

My meaning on the too many wires in the box refers to the third romex coming out of the top. There are two 14/2 romex cables coming off of the switches. I understand why they are there and where they go. What I don't understand is that there is a third coming out of the top of the box that is not commected to a switch. It is the one with the red wire nutted to the supply coming in the bottom. I was looking for some insight as to why that would be wired into this 2 gang box.

Thanks,
 
  #4  
Old 12-25-06, 06:44 AM
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You haven't given a complete picture of how all the wires are connected, so I'm not clear how things are connected.

In general, when three conductor cable is used in a non-three way switch and non-multi wire circuit setup , one conductor is used to carry switched power and the other carries non-switched power. While red wires are generally used for the switched side, it is possible they are on the un-switched side.

If you really want to know what the red wires are for, you will have to open the lights and receptacles on the circuit and search for the red wire. Once you know where it starts and where it terminates you will know what it is for.
 
  #5  
Old 12-25-06, 01:10 PM
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power to an unswitched outlet, or 2?

maybe using this box as a passthrough junction?
 
  #6  
Old 12-25-06, 10:35 PM
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Not legally at least, there can never be more than one hot feed in a box, [seperate circuits]
 
  #7  
Old 12-25-06, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by burkej62 View Post
Not legally at least, there can never be more than one hot feed in a box, [seperate circuits]
Again, you mean not CODE COMPLIANT

Beg your pardon ?? Where did you get that idea ?
About the one feed in a box.

to the OP - Are you adding a another device for the third gang or because of the wire crowding "your opinion "
if so, are you going to buy a special ordered 3 gang plate for two switches and 1 blank gang ?

Are you doing this because you have a problem ?
You hav'nt mentioned one
 

Last edited by william tell; 12-25-06 at 11:33 PM.
  #8  
Old 12-26-06, 12:01 AM
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There is no code prohibiting two circuits feeding the same junction box.
 
  #9  
Old 12-26-06, 10:08 AM
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You can have a "2-gang " box, or "device-plate" for mounting 2 "devices", or a "3-gang" box, or "device-plate" for mounting 3 "devices"

A "device" can be either a receptacle or a switch.

A "device-plate" , or "rough-cover", is used for metal outlet-boxes only.If a metal outlet box is used either for one receptacle or one switch, a "single-gang" device-plate is fixed to the box. If the box is used for one switch & one receptacle, or two switches, or two receptacles, a "2-gang" device-plate is fixed to the box.

Presuming this is a multi-switch outlet, how many switches can be mounted to the box/cover?

Do you need to wire another switch to the existing wiring?
 
  #10  
Old 12-26-06, 10:52 AM
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Thanks for all the help

I got it done this morning. I bought a circuit tester and discovered that my original thought that the one cable coming in from the bottom was the supply line.

When I threw the breaker for the box, the two lights no longer worked (as they should not); however the red wire on the 14/3 romex supply cable was still hot. I didn't know which breaker it was so to be safe I threw the main.

I now have a three gang box with switches for 1) light in kitchen 2) light on porch and 3) light in pantry. Just what I wanted.

I do have a CODE question though. When I took the old switches out, the power was run from the supply cable to a pigtail that had the two outgoing feeds on it. One was to the other 14/3 with the red wire on it and the other was pigtailed out for the switches. My question is that wire that was pigtailed out had the insulation stripped out of the MIDDLE of it and both ENDS. One end in the pigtail, the middle under the suppply screw for the first switch and the other end to the second switch. I am no electrician, but this surely didn't look Kosher to me. Any thoughts?
 
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Old 12-26-06, 01:01 PM
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not only kosher, but rabbinical ...
 
  #12  
Old 12-26-06, 01:21 PM
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Did you remove the existing 2-gang box and replace it with a 3-gang.?

And did you extend a new 2-wire cable from the new box to a switch-controlled outlet.?

The 3 switches must connect to the "live" conductor of the "Feed-In" cable. Using #14 THHN stranded Black wire as a "switch-lead", wire-nut the lead to the Black wire of the "Feed-In" cable, and then "strap/loop" the lead, switch-to-switch , to the 3 switch terminals.

This requires careful removal of the insulation to expose the bare conductor that is compressed under the terminal screw, so that after you loop the exposed conductor around a terminal screw and then tighten the screw, the insulation is tight to the terminal.

You MAY have a 3-wire "Feed-In" cable with 220 volts between the Black & Red conductors, if you had to switch off 2 circuit-breaker to de-energize a Red conductor and a Black conductor.
 
  #13  
Old 12-28-06, 01:22 PM
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The insulation stripped as you have indicated to serve two switches or a switch a wire nut is quite common. I don't recommend it, but know nothing to prohibit it.
 
  #14  
Old 12-28-06, 04:34 PM
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Thanks again

Thanks all. You can close this thread if you like.
 
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