Receptacle replacement killed circuit parts

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  #1  
Old 06-14-07, 02:26 PM
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Receptacle replacement killed circuit parts

I replaced an old receptacle that had room for three plugs with a new one that has room for two. The outlet works fine but the kitchen stove and dining room outlet (both are on opposite sides of same wall) do not. The dining room light works. Any ideas? My house is sixty years old and the circuits in place don't make a lot of sense to me.
 
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  #2  
Old 06-14-07, 02:31 PM
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How many wires were in the box?
 
  #3  
Old 06-14-07, 02:57 PM
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There were three sets of wires. Two sets had a black and white wire together; the third had two black wires.
 
  #4  
Old 06-14-07, 03:21 PM
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How were the wires connected to the old receptacle, and how did you connect them to the new receptacle?
 
  #5  
Old 06-14-07, 03:35 PM
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Sounds like you didnt connect the feed for the other receptacles. were all the black wires nutted together and all the white wires nutted together?
 
  #6  
Old 06-14-07, 04:01 PM
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I wired the white on the right, the black on the left, and one of the two black (I figured they were ground wires) to the grounding nut. When we tested the receptacle, everything was great until I went to reset the clock on the stove and saw that it was getting no power. Then I read my how-to book and rewired the receptacle with the black wires on the brass nuts, the white wires on the silver ones. And one of the extra black wires to the grounding nut. Still no power to stove. So then I connected the other extra black. No power to stove. So then I tried it without grounding wires. No power to stove. So then I went online and found this website.
 
  #7  
Old 06-14-07, 04:24 PM
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Your stove should have nothing to do with the receptacles. Unless it is older and requires a 120 volt circuit for the clock . Either way, a back wire would never in any case be used for a ground. I would say all the black wires should be nutted otgether, with a pigtail off to the receptacle and all the whites like wise. Is this newer romex or is it original cloth covered K&T wirring? If it is the latter chances are very likley there are no grounds of course then in this case what you did is illegal and the receptalce needs to be replaced with GFCI.
 
  #8  
Old 06-14-07, 04:34 PM
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I don't know what a romex is. The receptacle in my daughter's bedroom had a receptacle with three plugs (all in a row top to bottom, no grounding holes) without a cover. I've been looking for a cover that would fit since I bought the house ten years ago. After successfully replacing two ceiling fixtures and replacing a switch with a dimmer switch, I figured I'd just replace the old receptacle with a newer one that would have covers available. So after replacing the old receptacle, the outlet two rooms away is no longer getting any electricity. The black wire was attached to the old receptacle but there's no grounding nut.
 
  #9  
Old 06-14-07, 04:37 PM
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p.s. The only way I am connecting the stove with the outlet is that the outlet that isn't getting electricity in the dining room is on the other side of the same wall (and perhaps has the same wiring?) as the stove.
 
  #10  
Old 06-14-07, 05:01 PM
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No. Stoves are 240 volt appliances. Unless it is very old. Ok, for a triplex outlet to be in there then it's old. wire nut all the black wires together with a pigtial for the receptalce and all the white wires together with a pigtail also. Connect the pigtails to the appropriate screws.
 
  #11  
Old 06-14-07, 05:08 PM
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Thanks for the clarification. If you don't mind additional questions:
1. What's a pigtail?
2. How do I ground the receptacle?
 
  #12  
Old 06-14-07, 05:13 PM
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You can't ground the receptacle, thats why you need to use a GFCI.

A pigtail is a short length of wire that will be used to connect all the like wires together then to the receptacle. Check your book.
 
  #13  
Old 06-14-07, 05:17 PM
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Is it possible to have the wiring taken out and replaced throughout the house? when I look at my how-to book on wiring, my house is not wired anything like the diagrams in the book. The air conditioner, stove and kids' bedrooms are all on the same circuit. How does rewiring a receptacle in my daughter's room leave the air conditioning unaffected but kill the stove?
 
  #14  
Old 06-14-07, 05:21 PM
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IS it an old stove?

To re-wire your entire house would prove very costly, better of rewiring when needed. The reson somehting work and others don't is because you mis-wired certain things and got the other ones right. Follow my insturctions and see if it all works right.
 
  #15  
Old 06-14-07, 05:23 PM
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The stove is three years old. It's a gas stove but has electricity for the starter and control panel. I'll get a GCFI (I thought they were only for bathrooms and kitchens) and follow the pigtail route.

I've tried mapping the circuits so that I can label the breaker box, but it's a pretty crazy system. It seems like it would be better to start with a blank slate that made sense.
 
  #16  
Old 06-14-07, 05:29 PM
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The GFCI is to protect you incasse of a ground fault. There is no ground , no place for the current to safley travel back to the panel. The GFCI insted will trip before you can be horrendesouly maimed.

All blacks nut together and all whites nut together and don't forget the pigtails so you can power your receptacle as well.
 
  #17  
Old 06-14-07, 05:31 PM
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I'm all for avoiding horrendous maiming. I'll pick up a GCFI tomorrow and the wire for pigtails. I'll post the results (hopefully no need to BBQ tomorrow night!).
 
  #18  
Old 06-14-07, 06:11 PM
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While you are the store, pick up a few books on residential wiring. They will come in handy and help you not get "maimed".
 
  #19  
Old 06-14-07, 06:18 PM
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You should NOT be connecting a black or white wire to a ground. That was the wrong thing to do, and very dangerous.

Your house wiring is not grounded (at least not this section).

The only type receptacles you may safely and within code install are either old style two prong receptacles or GFCI receptacles. If you bought a three prong receptacle, take it out. It is wrong to use it.

I will ask again. How were the wires connected to the old receptacle? I think that one of the two wires you say are both black is actually a white. You should have the white wires to the silver screw, and the black wires to the brass screw. And unless there ios a switch involved, you should have the same number of white wires as you have black wires.

Finally, the terms left and right are meaningless, since a receptacle can be installed either end up.
 
  #20  
Old 06-14-07, 06:36 PM
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First of all, I learned that it is necessary to diagram the wiring before unhooking the existing wiring. Unfortunately, I read that in my how-to book when I was already trying to figure out what went wrong. So I can't really tell you how the receptacle was wired; I can only say that there are six wires in the hole and there are four screws on the old receptacle. With other receptacles in the newer parts of my house, there are black, white and green wires and everything is much easier.

Since there are six wires, four screws but room for three plugs in the outlet, I think your guess that the black wire is really white is correct and there were two wires on one screw. Since I didn't make my diagram (NOT a mistake i will make again) I can't say for sure.

A member recommended using pigtails to wire a GCFI outlet. What do I do with the extra wires?
 
  #21  
Old 06-14-07, 07:43 PM
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You use pigtails because there are not enough screws on the receptacle. It will greatly help you when it comes time to push the receptacle back into the box anyway. If you can't figure pigtails out then it's time to hit the books a little longer.
 
  #22  
Old 06-14-07, 08:55 PM
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So if there are four screws on a receptacle, you only connect a black, a white and a green wire? In the book they show only three wires, so that makes sense, but what are the other screws for? And will wiring the receptacle the right way restore power to the whole circuit?

Is there a how-to book that's recommended? I have the Better Homes and Garden book of home repair, but it often seems to cover homes that have been built recently.
 
  #23  
Old 06-14-07, 09:12 PM
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Ok listen, the ground screw, forget it . Not used in this scenario. There are two sets of scres, one set is gold and one set is silver. Each set is two screws and are connected. The extra screw on each side is there to easily tap for power. In your case, this isn't feasable because you have too many connections to make and not enough appropriate screws to terminate under. This is why I say pigtails
 
  #24  
Old 06-14-07, 09:27 PM
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OK. So I need to get a testing device to tell me if what I thought were grounding wires are really black and white wires (although both are black) as racraft noted in an earlier posting. So I'll assume that a black wire will register "hot" while the white doesn't and pigtail those black wires to the appropriate wire.
 
  #25  
Old 06-14-07, 09:31 PM
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I tak eit you didn't note their intial hook up?
 
  #26  
Old 06-14-07, 10:30 PM
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Just to make sure, does one of the "black" wires have any ribbing?

A non-contact voltage sensor ($10-20) is a good testing tool for this job.
 
  #27  
Old 06-14-07, 10:39 PM
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The black wires are both smooth. I'll check on a voltage sensor.
 
  #28  
Old 06-15-07, 04:36 AM
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Using a tester will not help you. Only one wire in this box will have voltage on it. All of the other wires will be dead until they are hooked up.

Modern duplex receptacles have four screws (not counting the ground screw). It is perfectly legal and proper to use all four of these screws if you want. If you are wiring receptacles in series (one after another after another, etc.) then you can use one set of screws for the incoming white and black wires and the other set for the outgoing white and black wires. No pigtailing is necessary (again, ignore the ground for now). The other reason there are two sets of screws is beacuse you can separate the receptacle into a top half and bottom half and place them on different circuits, so one connection point is needed for each portion.

Code only allows one wire per screw terminal. This means that when you have more wires than screw terminals (as you do) that pigtailing is necessary. Pigtailing means to use a wire nut and a short piece of wire (called a pigtail) to make the connection.

I will ask again. Is there a switch associated with this receptacle? If there is a switch involved then you may have more black wires than white wires. If no switch, then I think you have three black and three white wires.

The most likely wiring arrangement is that three black wires get connected to the brass screws and three white wires get connected to the silver screws. Try this arrangement. If you have trouble figuring out which of the two black wires is really white, we will have to do further testing.
 
  #29  
Old 06-15-07, 10:04 AM
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Since there is no switch connected with the receptacle, the three sets of wires could be for the three plugs? (I've never seen another outlet with three plugs and no grounding holes.) If the tester won't help without current, how do I decide which of the third set of black wires is black and which is white?
 
  #30  
Old 06-15-07, 10:20 AM
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No. The three sets of wires are NOT for the three separate receptacles.

One pair of wires (a black and a white) bring power into the box. The other black and white take power to some other are of the house. I am guessing that the other pair is also black and white and that they too take power to some other portion of the house.

Connect up one black wire and one white wire to the receptacle. Use a pair, meaning two from the same cable or conduit. Leave everything else disconnected. See if the receptacle works. If it does then you have found the incoming power. If it does not then try the other pair. If it still does not work then try the final pair. Eventually you will find the hot pair. Leave it connected.

Next connect up one other pair. See if the other items on the circuit now work. Finally connect up the last pair.

To figure out which is black and which is white you will need to use a plug in type tester on the receptacles and (hopefully) a three to two adapter.
 

Last edited by racraft; 06-15-07 at 10:55 AM.
  #31  
Old 06-15-07, 12:34 PM
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I found the set of wires with incoming power. None of the other sets of wires had incoming power. I tried the two black wires in two separate attempts; neither try produced power in the receptacle.
 
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Old 06-15-07, 12:40 PM
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I didn't expect them to. Follow my instructions.
 
  #33  
Old 06-15-07, 12:49 PM
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So to recap your instructions: piggy tail the black wires and attach to the brass screws, piggy tail the white wires and attach to the silver screw. If power doesn't come back to the stove and other affected outlets, rewire the third set of all-black wires (since it's not clear which one is white).
 
  #34  
Old 06-15-07, 01:00 PM
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Assuming this box is the reason there's no power to the stove, miswiring it would still provide power, but energizing that receptacle's grounded conductor (white) instead of its hot. That's why Bob's recommendation for the plug-in tester was the better idea.

The non-contact one works, too, but sometimes they are too sensitive to differentiate between the white side and the black side of an installed receptacle.
 
  #35  
Old 06-15-07, 01:12 PM
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The plug-in tester I bought showed that only one set of the three sets was bringing power in. The guy at Home Depot said I didn't need to spend $50 on a tester but I'm finding out the more I learn about electricity the incredibly large amount I don't know.
 
  #36  
Old 06-15-07, 01:46 PM
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THANKS EVERYBODY! I wired the pigtails and the first try was the lucky charm. When I stripped one of the black wires, the plastic looked kind of white inside. Anyway, the outlet and everything on the circuit is back on line.
 
  #37  
Old 06-15-07, 01:55 PM
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Please buy a plug in tester and verify that you have the hot and neutral correct everywhere on the circuit.
 
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