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Wiring a GFCI in an outlet with a red wire and the blacks tied together

Wiring a GFCI in an outlet with a red wire and the blacks tied together

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  #1  
Old 08-27-13, 05:23 PM
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Wiring a GFCI in an outlet with a red wire and the blacks tied together

Hi All:

I have a 2-prong outlet in a 1955 house wired as shown in the picture. I'd like to install a GFCI as we're going to be putting a fish tank nearby, and the filter/heater/etc require 3-prong outlets, plus I want the added protection in an environment with potential leaks. There are no ground wires in the outlet.

There is an overhead light in the room controlled by a switch near the outlet.

The W1 & W2 conductors are white, the R conductor is red, and the B1/B2 conductors are black. B1/B2 are wire-nutted together. B1/B2 are not connected to the outlet at all.

There is 116V between the W1/W2 side and B2 when B1/B2 are separated.

The overhead light does not operate when B1/B2 are separated.

Based on this, B2 is clearly the line side. However, how do I wire up the new GFCI? I'm presuming that B2 should go to the GFCI line side, along with W2. W1 would go to the load terminal of the GFCI.

However, what do I do with B1 and R? Which one gets connected to the GFCI load side, and what do I do with the other one?

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Thanks for any assistance you can provide! Let me know if there's any additional info I need to add.

- Rich
 
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  #2  
Old 08-27-13, 05:50 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

There is 116V between the W1/W2 side and B2 when B1/B2 are separated.

The overhead light does not operate when B1/B2 are separated.

Based on this, B2 is clearly the line side.
It sounds more likely that B2 is the switch-controlled hot feeding the light. What do you read between B2 and the neutrals when the switch is off?

Right now, there are no conductors that you've identified that feed other receptacles, so there are no conductors identified to be connected to the LOAD terminals on the GFCI. The receptacle you've described appears to be an end-of line receptacle. To provide GFCI protection to a chain of receptacles so that they can be replaced with 3-slot receptacles, the GFCI receptacle must replace the first receptacle in the chain.

Is your house wired with cable or conduit? How do the 5 conductors enter the box? Assuming that B1 and W1 come in together, and that B2 and W2 also come in together, how does the red come in?

For now, tell us about the wiring at the switch and at the nearest receptacle in either direction from this one. We may also need to know about the connections above the light, but let's start with these.
 
  #3  
Old 08-27-13, 06:28 PM
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Hi - thanks for the quick reply! The outlet is currently in a room with a sleeping child, so I can't do any more direct investigation of it tonight, but for the answers I can give:

1) W1/B1 come in on the same cable, and W2/B2 on the same cable.
2) The red conductor comes in on its own in a knockout
3) There was 116V between the W1/W2 and B2 regardless of the switch position
4) All of the house is wired with cable, not conduit

I hadn't even considered the possibility that this is the end of the line since it's geographically in the "middle" of other outlets on the same branch that are physically more distant from the breaker box, but considering some of the other things I've found in the house, anything is possible. ;-)

I'll open up the other outlets tomorrow and see how they're wired.


Thanks!

- Rich
 
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