Scratching my head

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  #1  
Old 04-21-07, 06:30 PM
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Scratching my head

I'm sure that there is an embarrasingly simple solution to this that I am missing but here goes.

I am trying to run a receptical off of the wires I have in an existing box with a switch first followed by the receptacle. In the existing box, I have one group of wires that comes in that has a red, black, white and ground and another group that has a black, white and ground. The group with the red wire seems to have no power to it at all according to my circuit tester but the other group with the black, white and ground has power with the black being hot.

I would like to install a single pole switch in that location and run from it, wires to power a new receptacle that currently isn't live. So far what I have done is connect all of the blacks including the new black wire coming in from the receptacle and a piggy back wire to the swich. I have connected all of the grounds also and all of the whites with the exception of the white coming from the receptacle which I attached directly to the switch.

My circuit tester shows that there is some power to the receptacle but only when I have one prong in the hot side and one prong touching the box or ground wire. It shows nothing when I put both the prongs in the slots in the receptacle.

What am I doing wrong??

Thank you,
Tony
 
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  #2  
Old 04-21-07, 06:39 PM
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Why did you remove the wires from the existing switch? You should not have removed them, except perhaps to pigtail on new wires.

Why did you attach a white wire to the switch? The white wires are all neutrals. Neutral wires do not get attached to simple two way switches.

The cable with the black and white wire is the incoming power. The cable with the red wire is going out, probably to a receptacle. What do you want done with the receptacle that used to be switched? Do you still want it switched?
 
  #3  
Old 04-21-07, 06:49 PM
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I actually didn't have a switch in that location initially. There was a switch on the opposite side of the wall that I removed and pulled the wires through. I didn't look at the way that switch had been wired because it was a switch that I have never been able to figure out what the heck it controlled in the first place.

When I pulled all of the wires into the new box, I followed a wiring diagram from a book that showed the white wire from the receptacle going to the switch along with a piggy backed black.

I will be using the receptacle to operate plug in type under cabinet hallogen pucks and using the switch to operate them. I am using hard wired flourescents on the other side of the kitchen but I had these pucks from a previous renovation and want to make use of them.

Is it possible to do what I want to accomplish?
 
  #4  
Old 04-21-07, 06:56 PM
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You should never remove a switch or disconnect wiring that you do not understand.

It is possible to accomplish what you wish, but my guess is that it is against code. You will also likely create a code violation in the room where you removed the switch from.

Describe the other room, from which you removed the switch. What room is this? Are there any switched lights or receptacles in this room?

Where do you intend to place the receptacle that this switch would control in the kitchen?

Even if this is all proper, you should not be attempting this. You lack a basic knowledge of electricity that could get you killed. I am sure that the diagram you examined for a switch is correct. Unfortunately it is NOT correct for your situation, and you do not what diagram you do need.

Electricity can and does kill people.
 
  #5  
Old 04-21-07, 07:08 PM
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The room that I removed the switch from is my living room. When I moved into the house four years ago, I went around to every plug and anything else I could think of to figure out what that switch controls and could not figure it out. This is one of two switches on the main floor that appear to do nothing.

The receptacle that I want to put in the kitchen will be placed directly under the cabinet and hidden by the light valence with the transformer for the hallogen puck lights plugged into it.

Although I am pretty handy overall, my electrical knowledge is fairly limited but I didn't think this would be a very complicated task.
 
  #6  
Old 04-21-07, 07:21 PM
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Assuming you are located in the US...

Removing the light switch from the living room created a code violation. The switch SHOULD control one or more of the receptacles in the room. Someone either intentionally or otherwise altered the wiring so that the switch no longer switches anything. It is also possible, although not likely after four years, that you neglected to test both the top and bottom half of the duplex receptacles. You must put the switch back where it was and adjust the wiring so that at least half a receptacle somewhere in the living room is switched.

You cannot use this living room circuit to power a receptacle in the space between the cabinet and counter top. This would violate code. The receptacle you use MUST be on one of the existing small appliance circuits serving the kitchen, or on a brand new 20 amp circuit you install.

You would be wise after you correct the violation(s) you have created, to read a book or two on home wiring. I suggest that you start with the book "Wiring Simplified." You can then buy and read one or two more. You need to fully understand existing codes, at least enough so that you do not create violations with any work that you do. More importantly, you need to make sure that you do not vurn down your house or kill yourself.
 
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Old 04-21-07, 07:32 PM
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I did test both the top and bottom of the receptacles as I know that a switch can control only half so it may be that a previous owner did something before me.

I am in Canada actually but I do know that here, code does require that there is a switch controlling a receptacle where there is no overhead light but there are overhead lights in that room so again, this is a modification that may have been made by a previous owner.

I don't want to do anything dangerous so I won't use the wiring from the living room. I only decided to pull it through because as I said, the switch doesn't do anything and because there is only one light on that circuit currently.

Time to thumb through the yellow pages I guess. Thank you for your responses.
 
  #8  
Old 04-21-07, 07:44 PM
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Not relevent to the question at hand but the OP wrote there were two unknown switches and we know at least one had a three conductor cable. Sounds like the switch moved may have been part of a three way switch setup.
 
  #9  
Old 04-21-07, 07:51 PM
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While that would make sense, the two switches are sort of accross from one another and if your arms were long enough, you could switch both at the same time. Doesn't make sense location wise that they would ever have been part of a three way.

This is bugging me so much now that I think I'll go to an open house in my neighbourhood tomorrow that is the same model house as mine and see if they have those same switches and what they do.
 
  #10  
Old 04-21-07, 10:37 PM
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How many terminals were on the switch you took out? Did the switch itself say "on" and "off" or was it just blank? Three way switch was the first thing I thought of also.

FYI...Racraft's suggestion of the book "wiring simplified" is a good one, I've been reading it and it is very easy to understand. Available at Home Depot for <$6.
 
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