Dishwasher, Garbage Disposal, and Light Wiring

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  #1  
Old 02-02-13, 06:38 PM
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Dishwasher, Garbage Disposal, and Light Wiring

First off, thanks for any insight, and please go easy on me (laymanís terms are great)! Iím sure a great many of you will roll your eyes because Iím unfamiliar with many terms, but Iím learning.

I have 2 switches that power the garbage disposal, a light above the sink, and (what I believe to be) 120v dishwasher. What I found is 6 cables that are spliced. There are 2 sets of 3 white wires connected with wire nuts and the ground wires are bundled together. This leaves me with 6 black wires.

Iíve got what I believe to be ďbasicĒ switches; 2 brass screws and a green screw. After some trail and error, I got the garbage disposal and light to work, but the dishwasher has no power. Whatís the correct combination?
sf
 
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  #2  
Old 02-02-13, 07:06 PM
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Welcome to the forums! No fear. That's what we are here for. We may frustrate you with questions, but getting all the information together is imperative to giving you good answers, so here goes.

The dishwasher should not be on a switch. The two switches probably do the light and the disposal, with the wiring remaining direct to the dishwasher. Dishwashers are normally on their own circuit or share with the disposal. Do you have a breaker marked "dishwasher"? I know its simplistic, but we gotta cover the bases.

Another way for us to help is for you to remove the power at the breaker for the disposal and light, remove the switches and snap a pix of the inside of the switch box, although my suspicions say it won't help. Do you have a method of measuring electrical voltage? Multimeter?? If not, it may help if you buy one ($10) at HD and have it on hand for future questions. Then you can add it to your tool repertoire.
 
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Old 02-02-13, 07:20 PM
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If you buy get an analog not digital multimeter. If you already have a non contact tester it will not be useful for this.
 
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Old 02-02-13, 08:11 PM
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From the threads I've read on the topic, I found I need to invest in a multimeter. The guess and check method doesn't seem to be working.

I understand it's not on a switch, but I'm unsure how the power to the dishwasher factors in to the switch circuit? But now I'm finding that none of outlets left of the GFI (where the dishwasher is located) are working. The switches to the light and the disposal work correctly, so I assumed after reading a few threads that the power to the dishwasher is somehow tied in to that switch duo.

The breakers are fine, nothing was tripped. I was changing out all of my outlets and switches to update them for purely decorative reasons. All of the outlets were very simple with the ground, white, and black wire, so my assumption is that I didn't put the light/disposal switches in correctly.

I was more confused as to why the ground wire(s) and white wires were tied off with a wire nut separate from the actual switch. That left me with 6 black wires. How many are "hot", and should 2 of them be used as a "ground" or attached to the green bolt on the actual switch?
 
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Old 02-02-13, 09:20 PM
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White wires are neutral and are just carried thru....not switched.
Ground wires are also carried thru.....connecting to the box and to the devices but not switched by the devices.

Left you with six black wires.

Someone took a shortcut. Normally splices are made so that there are only two black wires on each switch. You must have had more than two black wires on each switch.

Of the six wires you have there:
1) feed in
2) feed out
3) feed out
4) feed out
5) light
6) disposer

Or:
1) feed in # 1
2) feed out # 1
3) feed in # 2
4) feed out # 2
5) light
6) disposer
You will need to confirm that you only have one feed in that box. You may have two which will complicate the splices a bit.
 
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Old 02-02-13, 09:32 PM
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I was more confused as to why the ground wire(s) and white wires were tied off with a wire nut separate from the actual switch. That left me with 6 black wires. How many are "hot", and should 2 of them be used as a "ground" or attached to the green bolt on the actual switch?
Ground wires are never switched. They are emergency overflow drains. Neutral wires are never switched. they are the standard drains.

Three of the six black wires should be "hot" wires. Those should show 120V from each wire to neutral when you test them with your new multimeter. The other three black wires should be "load" wires. They should show 0V from each wire to neutral when you test them. There are other possibilities.

Some questions, of course: Is this a 2-gang or a 3-gang switch box? Were there 2 or 3 switches here before you started?

When you buy your new meter, see if you can pick up a copy of Wiring Simplified at the same time. Together, the money for the meter and the book may be the best $20 you will ever spend toward doing your own electrical work.
 
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Old 02-02-13, 09:58 PM
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In thinking of what you have and the fact that I forgot the dishwasher.......

1) feed in # 1
2) feed in # 2
3) feed out to receptacles
4) light
5) disposer
6) dishwasher
 
  #8  
Old 02-02-13, 10:44 PM
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I think my life may have been much easier had there been a 3-gang switch box, but there is and was only 2. I'm going to cross my fingers that 3 of the wires are indeed "hot" once I get the readings tomorrow. In that case, where do the hot wires connect and where do the load wires connect on the 2 switches? Further, nothing is connected to the green bolt on the switches, correct?
 
  #9  
Old 02-03-13, 01:04 AM
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Don't worry rac....we'll help you out.

You have to determine if there are two hot wires (different circuits) in that box. Label those wires first.
Then you need to identify what should or was on each one.
Then you can temporarily connect one wire at a time to one of the feeds. Once you find out what each wire does.....you'll know better what needs to be done.
Be sure to label the wires as you ID them.

There are supposed to be ground taps left out for the switches. If that's older work....it may have not been done back then.
 
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Old 02-03-13, 08:46 AM
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It does not matter which screw the hot or switched hot connect to on the single pole switch, ignoring the green.
 
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