HELP w/ combination switch!!

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  #1  
Old 01-13-07, 12:31 PM
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HELP w/ combination switch!!

I live in a 1930's built home, and there is no outlet in my half bath. I bought a "Combination Single Pole Switch and Grounding Receptacle" to use on the existing switch that controls the bath light only. (I'll be using this mainly for electric razor & toothbrush). Anway, the switch is configured w/ a black wire (w/ white paint) to the upper right screw, a black wire to the lower right screw, 2 white wires pigtailed together, and 2 exposed copper wires connected to the box.

I've never wired anything in my life, but from reading up my assuptions are:

1. the exposed wires are grounds
2. the black wire w/ white paint mark controls the bath light

I am really unsure of how to connect the combination device. It has 2 black screws connected to brass tab on left, & the brass-green-silver screws on right.
ANY HELP IS GREATLY APPRECIATED. THANKS
 
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Old 01-13-07, 12:41 PM
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shogun,
First, you cannot safely use this device in your bathroom.
Bath recepticles need to be ground fault protected.

Second. you say you have never done any wireing in your home. Do us all a favor and buy a good book on residential wiring and read, and understand it before doing any electrical work in your home.

Once you read, and understand the book, you will be able to ask more informed questions, and you will be more likely to understand our answers.

I know that electrical work looks easy from the outside, but as you can see, there is more to it than it looks.
 
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Old 01-13-07, 01:17 PM
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How many wires are inthe switch box not countign bare grounds?
If there are only two you can't do it. If there are more than two and they are not all conencted to the switch then you can do it. You must exchange your normal combo for a GFCI version.
 
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Old 01-13-07, 02:28 PM
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Return this and buy a version that has GFCI protection built in.
 
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Old 01-13-07, 03:07 PM
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I don't see why I would need a GFCI switch ... it's a half bath = sink & toilet. There's no threat from water / moisture whatsoever. Also, I tried to be detailed in my description/ explanation of the situation ... not counting the bare grounds, I cited 4 (2) black & (2) white wires.

As to J. White's response, I didn't see the need to be insulting. Just because I've never wired anything doesn't mean I'm an idiot. I think I could have been able to "understand your answers", but you didn't give me any.

I already own a guide on wiring, but it doesn't cover every imaginable situation. It's textbook knowledge, which means little to me in the field.

Electrical is not my fortay, I admit. But computers are. And believe me when I tell you that all the 'dumb' electrical questions put together don't come close to the ones I've seen or answered about computers.
 
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Old 01-13-07, 03:14 PM
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No need for a GFCI? Wrong. Code (the NEC) requires it. Common sense requires it. "There's no threat from water / moisture whatsoever." Do you have water in your sink or water in your toilet, or do you use them dry?

YOU NEED A GFCI. Or do you like risking electrocution and death?

As for the wiring, it is trivial. The existing wiring makes perfect sense, and in fact is the only way you can do what you want. If you had different wiring, as in a switch loop, you would not be able to add the receptacle.

The comment about reading a book is valid. Maybe not phrased as nicely as it could be, but it is valid. Just about any book on home wiring will explain in detail how to accomplish your goal. It will, of course, also reiterate that you need a GFCI.

My advice is to accept that you need a GFCI, and go buy the combination unit that includes GFCI protection. At the same time, buy the book "Wiring Simplified". You will eventually want to read the whole book (except perhaps the chapter on farm wiring), but for now you will be able to find the section you need that explains your situation. I guarantee, you will be glad that you bought the book.

Electricity can and does kill people. Why would you tackle this job without the proper tools?

One further comment. The directions that came with the switch tell you exactly how to wire this.
 
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Old 01-13-07, 04:06 PM
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You're right, it is required. But in my specific situation, I don't need it. It's not because I'm a thrillseeker. It's because the switch is on the outside wall of my bathroom.
 

Last edited by shogun371; 01-14-07 at 12:10 AM.
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Old 01-13-07, 05:37 PM
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What could possibly be so hard about wiring this? Connect the hot power wire to the brass screws tied together. Connect the hot wire for the light to the single brass screw. Pigtail the neutral wires to the silver screw. Pigtail the ground wire to the ground screw.

However, I question your idea. If this switch is OUTSIDE your bathroom, do you intend to run the power cords around the corner and into the bathroom? That would be a bad and unsafe idea.

Do the right thing. Run a new circuit to the bathroom from your panel. Code requires this, of course, to be a dedicated 20 amp circuit.
 
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Old 01-13-07, 06:18 PM
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I am sorry to say I missed the wire count. I saw the part about paint on the wires and thought you had a switch loop.

Add a pgitail to the white wires and connect it to the silver screw. Connect the two black wires to the gold screws. If you want the receptacle unswitched then put power to the double gold screw.

I still think you need a GFCI. According to code you might not since it is outside the bathroom. However you won't be standing outside the bathroom when you use it will you?
 
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Old 01-13-07, 06:46 PM
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I'm only using the receptacle to recharge my cordless items overnight.

Ya know what's so hard about this? Didn't I just get conflicting info. about what to do w/ the hot wires from both yourself and joed?
 
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Old 01-13-07, 06:49 PM
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No, you did not get conflicting information.
 
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Old 01-13-07, 07:26 PM
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Plan B: Since the switch is outside the bathroom may I suggest if code permits just install a new box in the bathroom within a couple of inches of the existing switch box (but far enough over to be clear of it). You can run wires between the old and new boxes and install a GFCI receptacle. This way the receptacle will be where you need it.
 
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Old 01-14-07, 12:16 AM
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does the hot wire need to wrap around BOTH of the brass screws tied together, or just ONE, or WHICH ONE?

thanks
 
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Old 01-14-07, 05:45 AM
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If the brass screws are tied together, why on earth would you have to wrap the wire around both screws?

The tab is designed so that you can use either or both screws. You can use both screws to avoid having to pigtail. The tab is also removable if the switch and receptacle are to be independent of each other.

Please buy the book "Wiring Simplified", which is likely available at the same place you will buy combination GFCI receptacle/switch (which you do need). It will tell you all that you need to know.
 
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Old 01-14-07, 06:42 AM
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Sorry - but like I said in the beginning, I've never wired one of these before, which is why I came here.
 
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