A puzzle - Can you solve?

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  #1  
Old 03-10-13, 01:12 PM
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A puzzle - Can you solve?

I need to install a new 20A circuit. My 200A panel seems quite full. Here is a picture:

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Rotate head to your left

At the bottom left, there is an unused 50A breaker, taking up 2 spaces. Can I use that, or should I leave that alone? What is it even there for? A subpanel?

Next question:
I have 2 switches in the walls at separate locations that SEEM to serve no purpose, though they are wired. They don't SEEM to control anything. Here are the pictures:

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And:

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Again rotate head left.
The first picture, the switch on the right controls a ceiling fan. The removed one does .......?

The second picture, same thing, except switch controls hallway lights (1 of 3 switches that control those lights). Removed switch does.....?

I have 1 - 15A breaker (bottom right of panel) that has 12/2 connected to it, and goes .... somewhere..... but for the love of God I have no idea what it does if anything. House panel labeled poorly (by others). I was thinking maybe it had something to do with those mystery switches, but I couldn't get any reading with my MultiMeter on the 2 mystery switches (not sure if I even am using it correctly however).

Any ideas? Any help at all would be wonderful!
 
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  #2  
Old 03-10-13, 01:32 PM
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Absolutely no reason you can't remove that two pole 50A breaker.
Remove it and replace it with two single pole breakers or one breaker and one blank.

Those two switches you are showing us are three way switches. The may both control the same thing. (at this time.....nothing.)


If the switches are near entrances maybe they're for something outside.
 
  #3  
Old 03-10-13, 01:54 PM
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The Square D breakers should not be in a GE panel.
 
  #4  
Old 03-10-13, 05:04 PM
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Yeah I will probably remove it...
I just can't stop wondering what those switches do though, and the mystery breaker with cable coming out of it and going to ..... who knows..... driving me crazy..


thanks for the reply!
 
  #5  
Old 03-10-13, 05:23 PM
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You say the single pole switch operates a ceiling fan. Does the ceiling fan have a light fixture? If not, they probably control that, and since it isn't there, it controls nothing.
 
  #6  
Old 03-10-13, 06:42 PM
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chandler
You say the single pole switch operates a ceiling fan. Does the ceiling fan have a light fixture? If not, they probably control that, and since it isn't there, it controls nothing.


No light fixture on the ceiling fan... I don't think there ever was one.. ceiling fan looks like original at time house was built (2001).

The switch has wires that come out of it though, so it doesn't make sense at all, unless someone has used the switch as some sort of junction/connection point in the house wiring??? I have 2 of these in the house!

Thanks for your input.
 
  #7  
Old 03-10-13, 06:54 PM
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Chandler is saying that that pair of 3-way switches may be wired to control a light on the ceiling fan and that, because there isn't a light there now, they don't presently control anything.
 
  #8  
Old 03-10-13, 08:32 PM
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I understand that may be the answer. I just don't understand why this occurs in 2 different spots in my house, the other of which has no ceiling fans, just can lights in a hallway area. Lights are controlled by 3 different switches, one of which is in the same box as another 'mystery switch', doing nothing, but still having wires coming out of it....

Thanks for your input. You have all been extremely helpful and I am very grateful to you for taking time to help me solve this mystery!
 
  #9  
Old 03-10-13, 09:22 PM
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I just don't understand why this occurs in 2 different spots in my house, the other of which has no ceiling fans, just can lights in a hallway area. Lights are controlled by 3 different switches, one of which is in the same box as another 'mystery switch', doing nothing, but still having wires coming out of it....
Is that mystery switch a single-location switch or a 3-way or a 4-way? How many wires, of what color are attached to it? Is the box it's in next to an exterior door?
 
  #10  
Old 03-11-13, 01:35 PM
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The mystery switch has 3 wires attached to it.. black, red, and white

In one installation, the mystery switch is near the front door - the other switch in the same box as it is controlling a ceiling fan with no lights.

In the other instance,the mystery switch is in the middle of the house - the other switch in the same box as it controlling lights
 
  #11  
Old 03-11-13, 02:40 PM
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Since the two mystery switches are both 3-ways, one guess is that they control the same load. Do you have a blank plate on the ceiling anywhere, or a receptacle that doesn't always work, or half of it doesn't always work?
 
  #12  
Old 03-11-13, 07:39 PM
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Unfortunately, I don't have any of those scenarios going on!
 
  #13  
Old 03-11-13, 08:21 PM
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Unfortunately, I don't have any of those scenarios going on!
Oh, well, so much for the easy answers. I guess you'll just have to look for unconnected wires as you go through things then.
 
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Old 03-12-13, 02:58 AM
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You have two three way switches. Although they may not be paired to each other, they are paired to another 3 way switch somewhere. Look around on opposite sides of the rooms where the 3 way switches are located and see if there are any switches without the "on/off" logo on the paddle. Those are 3 and 4 way switches. You said you used a multimeter to check for the presence of voltage. Where did you probe the wires? Remember you have no neutral in a switch setup, so you have to probe each wire to ground, or in your situation, to the bundle of neutrals with the cap on them behind the switches..
 
  #15  
Old 03-19-13, 12:01 AM
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If the one by the front door is like most new houses, it may go to your dining room fixture (other side is likely a three-way dimmer). I have a friend who has the exact same setup. he tried to remove it, and the dining room fixture stopped working.
 
  #16  
Old 03-28-13, 03:17 PM
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It is possible that your 3way switches werent required for the wiring... a 3wire romex could be going to a receptacle to create a switched receptacle but someone saw the 3 wires and assumed it was supposed to be a 3way switch. check the receptacles in the room for a 3wire romex cable or dead receptacles
 
  #17  
Old 04-04-13, 04:10 PM
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NEC Violation?

The problem here: The neutral wire is in the switch. So the ground wire is being used as a neutral? Or am I blind? If I'm not seeing something correctly, would someone explain to me what this setup is?
 
  #18  
Old 04-04-13, 06:10 PM
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It looks to me like the white wire is a traveller and not a neutral.
 
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