Hot/Ground Reverse

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Old 01-09-10, 06:29 PM
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Hot/Ground Reverse

I just connected some things to a different circuit than the one they had been on. Now my tester says 'HOT/GRD REVERSE instead of 'CORRECT'. I don't believe the Hot and Ground are actually reversed, that would mean I have connected a black to the green screw and a ground to the other blacks, somewhere. I never would have done that. So why am I getting this reading? What does it really mean?

The new circuit previously was for a 2-way switch which controlled one light fixture. I used 14-3 for that circuit. Does this have anything to do with the reading I am getting? Because the things I just connected are only using 14-2. So in the junction box, I connected black to black, white to white, and ground to ground. Of course, the 14-2 has no red, so there was nothing to connect to the red. Is this why I'm getting the 'HOT/GRD REVERSE' reading? Are you not supposed to connect 14-3 to 14-2?
 
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Old 01-09-10, 06:38 PM
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You have a missing neutral or loose neutral. Your tester doesn't really know the difference. Tell us cable in the junction box goes to what...
 
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Old 01-09-10, 07:49 PM
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There's no loose neutral - I checked by disconnecting the cable (call it cable X) that leads to the 14-3 junction box. I have temporarily connected this cable X to a box which just has 14-2 and the tester now says 'CORRECT'. (The tester also says 'CORRECT' for the outlet on the 14-3.)

So I have a hunch that I was getting the HOT/GRD REVERSE reading because it has something to do with the red wire in the 14-3 cable (cable Y). That might also explain why the switch for the 2nd light fixture, from cable X, wasn't turning on the light.

I would like to connect cable X to cable Y properly. So here's what I'm trying to do:

14-3 cable Z goes from panel to junction box where it connects with 14-3 cable Y. Red to red, black to black, white to white, & ground to ground in this box.
Cable Y controls an outlet, 2 switches, and a light fixture. The outlet uses 14-2 and the switches & light fixture use 14-3.
My intention is to connect 14-2 Cable X to cable Y & Cable Z in the same junction box where Cable Y & Cable Z connect to each other now. Cable X leads to a single light switch & light fixture, + an outlet.
I think I'm going to need to connect a red to a black somewhere, but not sure about which ones.
 
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Old 01-09-10, 09:52 PM
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Tried connecting 14-2 to 14-3 in the box. Got these results:

1. Cable X black to the other 2 blacks, result: HOT/NEU REVERSE. The 2-way switch controlled by Cable Y works normally, but the outlet controlled by Cable X is now controlled by that 2-way switch. The switch & light fixture on Cable X no longer work.

2. Cable X black to the reds. Result: no power to Cable X. The 2-way switch controlled by Cable Y works normally. Nothing on Cable X works.

3. Cable X black to the other 2 blacks, all blacks connected via jumper to the reds. The 2-way switch controlled by Cable Y now is always on. You can only turn the light off by carefully positioning the switch in the middle between the ON and OFF positions. The outlet controlled by Cable X works if the Cable Y switch is in either the ON or OFF position. The switch controlling the light fixture on Cable X doesn't work.

Now I'm out of ideas. Have disconnected Cable X and will wait until I find the right answer.
 
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Old 01-09-10, 10:04 PM
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There is no such thing as a "two way switch" there is a single pole (where one switch controls a light(s)) and a 3-way switch (where a light(s) is controlled by 2 switches) There is also a 4-way switch which goes between 2 3-way switches to control a light(s) in more than two locations.

So, just to be clear, which one do you have?
 
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Old 01-09-10, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand View Post
There is no such thing as a "two way switch" there is a single pole (where one switch controls a light(s)) and a 3-way switch (where a light(s) is controlled by 2 switches) There is also a 4-way switch which goes between 2 3-way switches to control a light(s) in more than two locations.

So, just to be clear, which one do you have?
It's a 3-way switch. That's not the one I'm having trouble with. The one I can't get to work is a single pole.
 
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Old 01-10-10, 02:53 AM
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I just figured out what the problem is. Cable Z doesn't come from the panel. It's coming from one of the 3-way switches. So I've been trying to insert all this other stuff in the middle of the sequence for the 3-way switch. Of course it wouldn't work the way I was expecting it to.

In this case, I can only attach Cable X to Cable A, which is the cable coming out of the panel, before it connects to the 3-way switch.
But that means I need to add a junction box. That defeats the whole purpose of trying to connect to this 14-3 junction box. If I have to add a junction box, I can add it to any circuit. The 14-3 box was close enough to reach Cable X and I thought it would save me the time & effort of adding a box and a new branch cable. Instead, I would have been finished by now if I had just added a box and connected Cable X to any circuit at all.
 
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