GFCI install trouble - switch/outlet combo

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  #1  
Old 07-07-08, 10:54 AM
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GFCI install trouble - switch/outlet combo

My wife and I just bought our first house, and needed to replace many of the receptacles as they are loose and most are only 2 prong even though they have the grounding wire feeding through (may or may not be truely grounded).

The trouble I'm currently having is with one of the combo GFCI's, with a female outlet and a switch. So far I've installed several through the rest of the house that were just outlets, on a chain connection that work fine.

The bathroom outlet has one 3-wire LINE feed, one LOAD going to another 2 switch outlet that feeds the ceiling fan and heat lamp, and a second LOAD that feeds the light above the mirror. This is the one I am trying to connect to the switch.

Perhaps I'm an idiot, but tried to follow the instructions on hooking up the switch leads to the black and white wires going to the light, but the light would not work.

I know the lights do work, as I've connected them directly to the outgoing load on the GFCI outlet, and power does feed the other switches when hooked up to the load connection.

So I tried multiple combinations to try and get it to work. The closest I got was wiring one of the switch leads, and the black wire going to the light directly to the incoming black LINE wire going into the GFCI, and the other switch lead wired to the white wire going to the light. When I did this, if I flipped the switch on the outlet, then the GFCI would trip. I know this must be wrong, but its the only combo I found that had any kind of effect. Everything else would power the female outlet, and carry the current to the next outlet, but could not get the switch to the light to work.

Any help would be greatly greatly appreciated!
 
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  #2  
Old 07-07-08, 12:20 PM
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The bathroom outlet has one 3-wire LINE feed
Does "3-wire" mean black/red/white/ground, or black/white/ground?

hooking up the switch leads to the black and white wires going to the light
Depends on whether or not a switch loop is being used. Switches only get white wires connected when you have a switch loop where the power feed goes to the fixture before coming to the switch. It is critical to determine whether or not you have a switch loop before attempting any wiring.

I'm a bit unclear on the scope of your project. In addition to replacing the receptacles, are you also adding lighting fixtures?

Be aware that code prohibits adding lighting to many of your receptacle circuits.

So I tried multiple combinations to try and get it to work
This is an inherently dangerous procedure. Even if you get it to work by random experimentation, and you don't cause any damage in the process, it may not be safe. Not everything that works is safe.
 
  #3  
Old 07-07-08, 01:23 PM
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3 wire meaning White/Black/Ground. Not installing any new fixtures, just changing the outlets.

How would I go about determining whether or not it has a switch loop?

When it was hooked up to the original receptacle (in which the female plug was so loose you couldn't keep a plug in it), the old receptacle had the white wire hooked up to a connection on the left side, and all 3 of the black wires (LINE in, LOAD 1, LOAD 2) were connected and fed into the receptacle. LINE in, and LOAD 1 white wires were connected prior to the receptacle as well. So I would assume this means that the white wire to LOAD 2 (the light) is what is controlled by the switch, and that it has a continuous feed of through the black wire.
 
  #4  
Old 07-08-08, 09:13 AM
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I'm still a bit confused. Is what you are installing exactly the same as what you are removing? I.e., are you replacing an old GFCI receptacle/switch combo with a new GFCI receptacle/switch combo?

By "GFCI receptacle/switch combo", I mean a single device that has one GFCI-protected receptacle (place to plug something in) in one half and a switch with a horizontally moving lever in the other half. Is that what you have?

Could you post the make and model number of the device you are installing?
 
  #5  
Old 07-08-08, 10:23 AM
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Is what you are installing exactly the same as what you are removing? I.e., are you replacing an old GFCI receptacle/switch combo with a new GFCI receptacle/switch combo?
The old receptacle is not GFCI (old house). Am trying to replace it with GFCI. The old receptacle was a standard switch and female outlet plug combination. I am trying to replace the receptacle with a GFCI version of the switch/female outlet combination. So effectively no changes to the wiring, or the purpose, just purely trying to upgrade the receptacle itself.

By "GFCI receptacle/switch combo", I mean a single device that has one GFCI-protected receptacle (place to plug something in) in one half and a switch with a horizontally moving lever in the other half. Is that what you have?
Correct.

Could you post the make and model number of the device you are installing?
Am currently at work so I don't have the device in front of me, but it is a Leviton, very similar to model number 7299-NW. Only difference is my version is all white (the red/black test/reset button is white). Picked it up at Home Depot, but it is not listed on their website.
http://shopping.aol.com/leviton-7299...tlock/61355801

Thanks for the help!!!
 

Last edited by rlsport; 07-08-08 at 11:45 AM.
  #6  
Old 07-08-08, 12:28 PM
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Okay, first understand that orientations like "left side" mean nothing. Screw color and wire color are meaningful, as well as the instructions that came with your device.

If I understand correctly, you have three black/white/bare cables coming into the box. Let's call the cable providing incoming power "P", the cable providing outgoing unswitched power "D", and the cable providing outgoing switched power to the light "L". I'll use "b" to indicate a black wire and "w" to indicate a white wire. Grounding wires and screws will hearafter go unmentioned, but I assume you know what to do with them.

There are many ways to connect this up depending on what you want to be GFCI protected and what you want to be switched. For now, I'll assume that you want only this one outlet to be protected (i.e., no downstream GFCI protection) and that you want only the one light to be switched.

These devices also have various combinations of wires and screws on them, and I cannot find the details of the device you have. For now, I'll assume that the device has two black wires on it (for the switch), and four screws (LINE HOT, LINE WHITE, LOAD HOT and LOAD WHITE).

Before I spend any more time, tell me how I'm doing with my assumptions.
 
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Old 07-08-08, 02:17 PM
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You're assumptions are exactly on target. Thanks for the patience with the guy completely new to electrical.
 
  #8  
Old 07-08-08, 02:46 PM
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Okay then.

Use a wire nut to connect these four black wires together: Pb, Db, one of the two switch wires, and another short segment of black wire (called a "pigtail"). Connect the other end of the black pigtail to the LINE HOT screw.

Use another wire nut to connect these four white wires together: Pw, Dw, Lw, and a white pigtail. Connect the other end of the white pigtail to the LINE WHITE screw.

Connect Lb to the other switch wire.
 
  #9  
Old 07-09-08, 09:42 AM
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Works great! Thanks! I'm getting a book on electrical so I know a little something going forward
 
  #10  
Old 08-04-08, 08:27 PM
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Question GFCI install trouble - switch/outlet combo

I am trying to install the same GFCI switch/outlet combo in my bathroom, where a light switch used to exist. The bathroom has no outlets, so I wanted to add this switch. The problem I'm having is that there are no white wires in my electrical box. There are 2 black wires and 1 red wire entering the box. I've also discovered that the outlet in my bedroom is on this same circuit - I'm guessing that the red wire is the "Load" wire and continues on to this bedroom outlet.

I am not sure how to wire this switch/outlet combo. From what I've read on this string already and other forums, I believe that the red wire needs to be attached to the Load part of the switch. I need to know where to attach the 2 black wires so that both the light switch and the bedroom outlet work. Obviously the switch is for the light - I'd like both of the outlets (the GFCI and the bedroom outlet) to work without the light being on!

Thanks!
 
  #11  
Old 08-05-08, 11:47 AM
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Suzy, do you live in the greater Chicago area? Please fill in the location field of your profile for best advice.

Can you tell us in what year the house was constructed?

If there are no white wires in the switch box, then you cannot install this device there. But if you answer the above questions, we may be able to help you find alternatives.
 
  #12  
Old 08-09-08, 06:30 AM
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I live in Minneapolis, and the house was built in 1951.

Nope, no white wires in the box, just two black wires and a red wire. It won't break my heart if I can't have an electrical outlet in this bathroom, though I thought maybe this device would provide it. If there's not an alternative that I can install myself, I'll probably just put the single switch for the light back in there.

Thanks for your help!
 
  #13  
Old 01-09-11, 05:08 PM
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I know this is an old thread, but here is a link to a pretty clear picture of how to wire one of these gfci switch/outlet combo:
http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/ibeCCtpSctDspRte.jsp?section=17233&minisite=10021#7299

 
  #14  
Old 01-09-11, 05:39 PM
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Thanks for the link.

.....
 
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