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Where should this wire go? I am left with one "orphan" wire.

Where should this wire go? I am left with one "orphan" wire.

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  #1  
Old 03-07-11, 06:33 PM
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Where should this wire go? I am left with one "orphan" wire.

Last week I asked about a situation where I had two outlets that will not fit inside a two device box because of the depth of the outlets and the amount of wires inside the box. The thread I started is here:
http://forum.doityourself.com/electr...evice-box.html

This was the original two device box.





OK, so the way I solved it is to use two two device boxes, one on top of the other. Because of this I had to take apart all the wires and I carefully wrapped each wire with different color tapes so I know which goes with which. Well, for some reason, one white wire (neutral) does not have the tape on it anymore. This could be due to me pulling the wire in and out of the conduits several times and it fell off.

So this is the new configuration.



You can see from the top, we have five wires coming into the box. A blue wire, a yellow wire, a black wire, and two white wires.

The blue wire and yellow wire pass straight through the box and goes down below. The blue wire (hot) eventually connects to an outlet which is for the garbage disposer, it is switched. The yellow wire (hot) goes to a three wire MC cable for the dish washer.

The black wire goes to the GFCI outlet for the top box. The two white wires also run through below to be the neutral for the disposer and the dishwasher. One white wire connects with wire nut label 1, another with wire nut label 2.

If you look at my GFCI outlet, the top has a black wire (no problem) and a white wire which is the one with the label missing. Where should it go? The bottom black and white wires are not a problem I just need to hook it to another outlet which will go into the box below, I know the green wires are not yet mounted, I will later.

Right now I don't know where the white wire of the outlet goes to.

Help!
 
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  #2  
Old 03-07-11, 06:36 PM
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I am thinking, it should go into the wire nut where the other white wire goes to the unswitched disposer cable?
 
  #3  
Old 03-07-11, 06:51 PM
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I see you have done a lot of work to get everything to fit into the box, but I do not think you have enough space between the boxes to allow the trimplates to fit.

How many total circuits are we dealing with?
 
  #4  
Old 03-07-11, 09:43 PM
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There are three circuits.

One for the outlets, one for the dishwasher and one for the garbage disposal.

You mean I should not have used the box connectors but instead a short section of pipe to space them further apart?
 
  #5  
Old 03-08-11, 01:20 AM
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I would certainly try to fit the trimplates before you drywall. It will be easier to switch to a short pipe nipple now instead of later.

OK, you say you have three circuits. Follow the two neutrals back from the disposal and dishwasher. The one left over will be for the receptacles.
 
  #6  
Old 03-08-11, 03:43 AM
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Not only that, Jim, the boxes he used won't accommodate the installation of the receptacles without a plaster ring. Those are junction boxes, and not receptacle boxes.
 
  #7  
Old 03-08-11, 06:54 AM
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chandler I am using junction boxes throughout for both outlets and switches.

The reason is this is an older house and when we started the rewiring, there were regular sheet rock (1/2"), plastered wall with gysum and brown coat (almost 1") and some variations in between. I was not entirely sure where we would replace with new wall and where we would try and patch existing wall thickness. So I opted to do the junction boxes and use mud rings of different depths to sort out the differences later.

So yes there will need to be mud rings for these boxes.
 
  #8  
Old 03-08-11, 10:30 AM
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I said three circuits. I know the disposer switched outlet is dedicated. I know the dishwasher is dedicated. I am not sure about the outlets, it could be coming from another junction box. What I know is I have five wires coming into that conduit, three hot and two neutral.

A schematic is below. The "gray" colored wires are actually white, but I can't draw white on white so I made it a bit gray and may be hard to see.



So may be you are saying I should have six wires coming in, three hot and three neutral?
 
  #9  
Old 03-08-11, 10:52 AM
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The "standard" way would have six wires (3 hot, 3 neutral), but there are possible configurations that would legitimately have 3 hot and 2 neutral. The gist of it is that two hots would share one of the neutrals, but it can be a little tricky to determine which one is the right one to share.

Do these wires come right from the panel or go through some other location first?
 
  #10  
Old 03-08-11, 12:07 PM
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They go through some other boxes. I know the disposer wire goes up the attic over and back down to a switch by the opposite wall. The dish washer I am not sure where it goes.

I'll do more testing today when I pull it apart to insert a shorter section of pipe in between the boxes.
 

Last edited by MiamiCuse; 03-08-11 at 12:38 PM.
  #11  
Old 03-08-11, 05:26 PM
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OK I have done some testing and know how the circuits run all the way back to the panel. It will take me a bit of time to draw it up because trying to explain in words would be confusing. I will post the schematic soon.
 
  #12  
Old 03-08-11, 07:56 PM
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Here is the layout of the wiring I have been able to determine all the way from the panel.

I apologize I am drawing it my way I am sure there are standard ways to draw it in a schematic but I am not familiar with it so here goes. The color of the lines in the image is the same as the actual color of the lines EXCEPT for white I drew in magenta because white does not show on white.

Starting from the top left is seven wires coming from one 3/4" conduit that goes back to the electrical panel. The seven wires are label as: Blue, White 1, Red, Black, White 2, Brown. Testing with a voltage tester I can tell blue goes to circuit 16, red to circuit 8, black to circuit 10 and brown to circuit 18. They are all hot. I can't tell where the two white wires go to.



On the left the blue wire and the white wire are both SOLID UNSTRANDED wires that runs all the way through two BOX 1 to BOX 4 to BOX 5 and connects with the dishwasher MC cable. So that is a pair that's on their own.

The red wire from circuit 8 goes to a switch in BOX 1, then continues on with a yellow wire through BOX 4 to BOX 5, where it goes into a GFCI outlet for the disposer.

The black wire from circuit 10 splits into two black wire, one to go into a GFCI outlet in BOX 1, the other continues on to an outlet in BOX 4. That outlet is the one I don't know where the neutral goes to because of a missing color tape, as previously stated.

The brown wire to the right is from circuit 18, runs through BOX 1 to a GFCI outlet in BOX 2, then another GFCI in BOX 3.

Then the second white wire (white 2) comes in, and it goes into a large wire nut where four white wires are twisted together, the white wire from the outlet in BOX 2, the one in BOX 4, and the one in BOX 1, they all tie together.

The picture shows these boxes close together, in reality, BOX 1 and BOX 4 are twelve feet across from each other, plus the conduit runs up to the attic, across and back down. Same with BOX 1 and BOX 2, pretty far apart. However, BOX 2 and BOX 3 are fairly close together, as is BOX 4 and BOX 5.

All these are 20A circuits. I have 68 circuits and only one is 15A.

I hope this explains it clearly.

The questions I have are:

(1) The outlet in BOX 4, where should the neutral wire go to? Does it tie back to the white wire to the right?

(2) In BOX 5 I have a GFCI outlet, does it really need to be a GFCI if the one in BOX 4 is a GFCI?

Let me know if anything is unclear. Thanks for any feedback or comments.
 
  #13  
Old 03-09-11, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by MiamiCuse View Post
(2) In BOX 5 I have a GFCI outlet, does it really need to be a GFCI if the one in BOX 4 is a GFCI?
I meant to say In BOX 3 I have a GFCI outlet, does it really need to be a GFCI if the one in BOX 2 is a GFCI?
 
  #14  
Old 03-09-11, 08:46 AM
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Thanks for the detailed diagram, that helped a lot. Red #8 and black #10 are parts of a multiwire circuit (shared neutral). The magenta neutral marked with a question mark should be connected with the other two magenta wires that are pictured right next to it (coming from the disposal recept).

Based on 2008 code, the #8 and #10 breakers (should be right on top of each other) ought to be replaced with a 20A double-pole breaker; or you can connect the two existing 20A single pole breakers with a handle tie kit if one is available for your panel. When working on this circuit, a shock hazard exists on this circuit unless both #8 and #10 are off, and that is why modern code requires the two breakers to be joined.

The GFCI in box 3 is redundant if box two is wired for LOAD protection.

The GFCIs in boxes 1 and 4 should be wired only using the LINE terminals.

The GFCI in box 5 is optional - code does not require it for a disposal.
 
  #15  
Old 03-09-11, 09:49 AM
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Thanks Ben. This helps. I have a few more questions if I may.

(1) You said GFCI in BOX 1 and BOX 4 should be wired with line terminals. What is the reason that the outlet in BOX 4 cannot be wired off the outlet in BOX 1, similar in how BOX 3 and BOX 2? Is it strictly due to them being much farther apart?

(2) Now that I have it all out in the open and know which goes where...what is the best way to make sure 5 years from now I won't need to scratch my head and say "I think this one may go to that one..." is there a standard way to label or mark these lines so as to make further trouble shooting easier? Once I close up the boxes if you ask me next week I won't remember.

Thanks again!
 
  #16  
Old 03-09-11, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by MiamiCuse View Post
What is the reason that the outlet in BOX 4 cannot be wired off the outlet in BOX 1, similar in how BOX 3 and BOX 2?
Shared neutral circuits are incompatible with the downstream (LOAD) protection feature of GFCI receptacles. Because the neutral is shared down the line with the disposal, these GFCIs would not function correctly if they were wired for downstream.

is there a standard way to label or mark these lines so as to make further trouble shooting easier?
Two of my practices are to type up a real circuit directory and attach to the inside of the panel door and to label wires. Use a spreadsheet or something like that to make a detailed description of each circuit number. You can even attach a CAD/hand-drawn/napkin map showing each receptacle and put a number next to it to indicate which breaker controls that receptacle. This is far more helpful than the usual 1" x 1" lite & plugs type stickers you find on panels. You can also pick up a booklet of wire label stickers for a couple bucks which basically have A B C 1 2 3 skinny little labels you can wrap around the ends of wires in the j-boxes so you know which one came from which breaker. Of course you could do this with little flags of electrical tape and a pen too, but I like the premade stickers for convenience.
 
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