GFCI Combo Switch


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Old 11-10-13, 08:22 AM
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GFCI Combo Switch

First time poster here with limited electrical wiring experience. We have a combo switch/outlet (not-GFCI) in our guest bathroom that I am attempting to replace with a Cooper Combination Switch/GFCI outlet. The existing switch controls the outlet and an overhead light. There appears to be only one big cable that comes into the electrical box that has one black wire and two white wires (along with a copper grounding cable). The black cable and the two white cables are connected to the old outlet/switch. Attached is a picture of the current setup in case it helps.Name:  IMG_20131110_105828_097.jpg
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Ideally, I would love it if the outlet could be constantly on (and not controlled by the switch), but at this point I have no clue how to wire it. The wiring instructions provided with the outlet seem to suggest there would be two black wires, but no instructions for what to do if there is only one.

At my wit's end here. Any suggestions on how to wire this? Thanks for the help!
 
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Old 11-10-13, 09:01 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

You will need to make sure which wire is your hot. The white wire that is connected to the silver screw should be a neutral. I would suspect the other white is your hot, but this should be checked with a meter. (meter is only about $10) After you identify which white is a hot/switch leg wire, you should mark it with black tape/marker to avoid confusion later.
 
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Old 11-10-13, 10:32 AM
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To me it seems to be missing a wire. It looks like the light is taking a neutral from another source.
 
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Old 11-10-13, 12:23 PM
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To me it seems to be missing a wire. It looks like the light is taking a neutral from another source.
Ray, I think the neutral is in the box where the light is mounted. Looks to me like a simple switch loop with white being the hot wire. Then, another 2-wire NM cable returning from the light fixture to power the receptacle. Remember, the OP said the receptacle was powered by the switch.

The existing switch controls the outlet and an overhead light.
 
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Old 11-10-13, 12:29 PM
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Then, another 2-wire NM cable returning from the light fixture to power the receptacle. Remember, the OP said the receptacle was powered by the switch.
But the O/P wrote:
There appears to be only one big cable that comes into the electrical box that has one black wire and two white wires
So where is the fourth wire? Can't be xx-3, no red. Is this conduit? If so why the odd colors? Sorry to go off on a tangent. Maybe just having brain block today.
 
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Old 11-10-13, 12:43 PM
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There appears to be only one big cable that comes into the electrical box that has one black wire and two white wires
Oh yea. That can't be right.

So where is the fourth wire? Can't be xx-3, no red. Is this conduit? If so why the odd colors? Sorry to go off on a tangent. Maybe just having brain block today.
Yea, you're right, can't be a 3-wire cable. But.....I see two black wires and 2 white wires?

I don't think there is any conduit, I can see the paper and sheathing from the old cloth covered 2-wire NM cable. I think there are two NM cables, XX-2. Maybe the OP will come back and clairify.
 
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Old 11-10-13, 01:27 PM
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Not sure I know what you all need from me, but attached is a picture I took after taking of a metal piece at the back of the box which shows a little bit more about the wires feeding the box. It looks like I assumed incorrectly about the number of "cables" coming in to the box - the third white wire appears to becoming from somewhere different than the cable containing the other white wire and the one black wire.

CasualJoe, I don't see a second wire anywhere in the box. Perhaps it is behind the wall? Certainly not visible to me. Let me know if there is any other info I can provide or pictures I can take!

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Old 11-10-13, 01:33 PM
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Pulled the unit out farther and can definitely confirm a black and white wires are bundled together with the white wire coming in separately.
 
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Old 11-10-13, 03:04 PM
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confirm a black and white wires are bundled together with the white wire coming in separately
You need that black wire also. One of those cables is power in, probably the one you can see two wires for. The other probably goes to the light. All four wires should have been connected to the combo device.

We need to see the wiring at the light to determine if it is a switch loop or powered from the switch box. That will determine how you connect the new device.
 
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Old 11-10-13, 05:19 PM
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CasualJoe, I don't see a second wire anywhere in the box.
In the picture it still looks to me like there are 2 black wires and 2 white wires in the box, but perhaps what I think is a black wire going to the receptacle is just a shadow from the white wire.

The white wire going to the receptacle appears to be a single conductor and not part of a cable, the black wire too if it isn't a shadow. I'd like to see the wires in the fixture box if it's not too much trouble..
 
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Old 11-10-13, 05:35 PM
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From the description it sounds like someone may have added a single neutral conductor.
 
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Old 11-11-13, 05:17 PM
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Tolyn Ironhand
Welcome to the forums!

You will need to make sure which wire is your hot. The white wire that is connected to the silver screw should be a neutral. I would suspect the other white is your hot, but this should be checked with a meter. (meter is only about $10) After you identify which white is a hot/switch leg wire, you should mark it with black tape/marker to avoid confusion later.
If you follow Tolyon's post there are enough wires ( albeit non-typical ) to do what you want.

The single white wire will be connected to the *line* silver screw ( neutral )

The cable that has the black & white wires has one of those *hot* all the time.
Whichever ( white or black ) is the *hot* gets connected to the *line* brass screw ( hot ) --- providing there is a jumper between here and the switch.

If no jumper --- then the *hot* should be joined with 2 short jumper ( pigtail ) wires using a wire nut.
One of those pigtails ( jumper ) will connect to the *line* brass screw ( hot ). The other jumper connected to one screw on the switch.

The remianing wire ( black or white ) connects to the other screw connector for the switch.

The result being the receptacle will be constanly live and the switch should only control the light.

Hopefully this helps.
 
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Old 11-11-13, 05:26 PM
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The picture you show a new issue. You have one cable and a single wire. You can not have a individual wires installed in a wall. It is required to be in conduit or be a cable. I think you have some rewiring to do.
 
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Old 11-11-13, 05:42 PM
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Yep --- a proper re-wire for this would be the way to go.
 
 

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