replacing an outlet and switch


Old 01-20-01, 03:54 PM
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We own a 50 year old home. The wiring is very funky. In the guest house kitchen there is an outlet and switch for the garbage disposal. The disposal stopped working and my partner decided to change the switch and outlet. After reconnecting the breaker switch keeps tripping.

I didn't see the way the old switch was connected, but it looks like there was one red wire from the wall to the outlet. Then a red wire from the outlet to the switch. Finally a white wire from the switch to the wall.

Doesn't seem to make sense since there are more connections on the outlet. Also, there are black wires in the box, but are not connected to anything.

I replaced the other outlets in the house and they are nothing like this set up. They all have white wires and black wires. They did however have that common wire from the outlet to the switch wherever that combo existed. HELP!
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Old 01-20-01, 04:14 PM
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Try turning off your switch then turn on the breaker. If the breaker holds then turn it back off and change your wiring in the switch. I suspect you have connected the hot to the first screw of the switch and grounded [aka neutral] to the second screw. When you turn on the switch you just make a contact direct from hot to ground causing a short thus kicking the breaker.

Old 01-20-01, 10:07 PM
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The outlet for the garbage disposal is very likely a split recepticle with half switched and half not. If you still have the old recepticle, check and see if one or both of the tabs separating the top and bottom halves of the recepticle are broken out. If so, did you do the same with the new recepticle? And of course, the wiring will be more complicated with such a recepticle. This can explain the red and black wires.
Old 01-20-01, 11:15 PM
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Sounds like your having a good time figuring this one out. I would begin by identifying and turning off the ckt. at the breaker (should be quite easy since it has already triped at least once) for the switch/recep situation you are asking about. Next pull all new devices out of the wall and establish where the power is actually coming from (ie. which box location.) At that point your half way home. Begin by installing the "hot" wire to switch (either terminal) Let's call that the black wire just for example.
Once you've determined the "hot" wire location you should have the neutral (white) wire with it in the same box. This neutral wire goes straight to the receptacle for the disposal (do not tie to switch) The wire feeding the receptacle I'll call red for example. Make sure the red wire goes only between the terminal opposite the "hot" wire on the switch and the terminal oposite the white(neutral) wire on the receptacle. If you have checked or done these items and the breaker is still tripping you may have a problem with the cord to disposal or the motor itself.
Sometimes starting over from scrtch is the easiest way to troubleshot a problem with a ckt. Take your time and always make final connections with the power turned OFF
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