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How to wire two lights, two switches and one outlet together?

How to wire two lights, two switches and one outlet together?


  #1  
Old 08-13-14, 07:57 AM
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How to wire two lights, two switches and one outlet together?

I have two lights in my kitchen that can be controlled by two seperate switches, one of which has an outlet in the same box. I wanted to install new fixtures and once I removed the first light I discovered a wiring nightmare (for a novice anyway).

I pulled up diagrams on the internet showing how it should be wired correctly, but the person that wired this home taped one of the black wires (which runs off the switch in the shared outlet box) as opposed to two of the white wires. So my diagram was now confusing.

I thought I tried every possible combination but to no avail. Can someone help me figure out my problem? The junction/lampholder box shows both switch reds wired together.

The red wire off the power feed is an extension of the black wire that the original electrician wired on. All the grounds were together already.

Now I'm left with the two whites from the switches and the one from the power feed, and the two blacks from the switches (one taped) and the black(red extension) from the power feed.
What combo do I need to try in order to successfully power everything up?
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Last edited by ray2047; 08-13-14 at 01:42 PM. Reason: Added paragraphs.
  #2  
Old 08-13-14, 08:20 AM
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Welcome to the forum. Pictures are always helpful but they need to be large enough we can see them. I have enlarged them but they were too low resolution to be clear.

The new lights should have been connected the exact same way as the old lights. Did you keep a record of that?

Can you give us a better picture of the box with switch and receptacle showing how the receptacle is connected to the switch? Was the receptacle also controlled by a switch? Can you tell us the wiring at the second switch and the wiring at the second light.
 
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Old 08-13-14, 08:39 AM
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Name:  outlet-switch box 2 (640x480).jpg
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Size:  32.1 KB One of the wires from the old light came loose as I was disconnecting the other wire so I lost track as to which one goes where. I hope these new pics will help clear up the issue a little.
 
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  #4  
Old 08-13-14, 08:45 AM
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Excellent pictures. Thank you. Breakfast calls but I'll be back if someone else doesn't answe you first. So you have a 3-way switch. That changes things.
 
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Old 08-13-14, 08:47 AM
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Thanks for the reply. Waiting patiently
 
  #6  
Old 08-13-14, 09:50 AM
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Not seeing enough cables at the switch and receptacle box. Please post a picture of the other light.

Explanation: I am seeing only a 3-conductor cable at the switch. I would expect also to see a 2-conductor cable. The 3-conductor cable seems to be used for power in but then there is no cable to the second 3-way switch. If the 3-ways are joined at one of the lights then there is no power for the receptacle in the box. I'm wondering if the receptacle was added by someone who didn't realize there was no neutral. Might be able to get this to work with out the receptacle.
 
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Old 08-13-14, 10:26 AM
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Here's a pic of the second fixture box. It only has the one three-wire feed coming in. Name:  DSCN1052 (640x632).jpg
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Old 08-13-14, 11:04 AM
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Actually that is a two wire feed. Ground doesn't count. Okay so we can ignore that box for now. Did the receptacle ever work?

Left center of the first light box there seems to be a wire nut with a red and white wire. What are they connected to? Am I looking at that wrong?

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Old 08-13-14, 11:11 AM
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Yes the receptacle did function. The red nutted wire is merely an extension of the black wire from the power feed. The original installer must have cut them self short and had to extend the black to reach. I didn't originally disconnect anything except the three whites and three blacks. all the grounds and two reds from the switches remained connected. I'd like to see it all back up and running, but I can definetly live w/o the receptacle if it gets the lights running.
 
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Old 08-13-14, 11:21 AM
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If the 3-way switches worked correctly and there is only one cable in the box with the switch and receptacle then I am baffled unless there is another junction.box. Am I correct only the one 3-conductor cable and no other cable in the receptacle and switch box? The pros should be around after work. Perhaps they will be able to help. Do you have a multimeter, preferably analog?
 
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Old 08-13-14, 11:28 AM
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No, but I can pick one up no problem. I may have to climb up in the attic and see if they hid one on me. This house was built in a SIU (Slap it up) contractor zone. I've found several lazy mistakes. I replaced two of the ceiling fans in the living room and one was installed on a regular lampbox! I was shocked it stayed up for 14 years!
 
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Old 08-13-14, 01:19 PM
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I think Ray is on the right track.
 
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Old 08-13-14, 01:57 PM
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Joe thinks:
the power comes from the 2 wire cable on the right bottom of the 2 gang box.
I didn't see a second cable. Looking again I do see it... i think. If it is there the black wire of it should be pigtailed to both the black screw of the switch and the brass screw of the receptacle. Is that correct.
I pulled up diagrams on the internet showing how it should be wired correctly,
May not have been for a 3-way switch and there are many ways to wire a three way switch.
The red wire off the power feed is an extension of the black wire that the original electrician wired on.
To avoid confusion consider that black. In fact I'd replace it with a black tail.

The two reds connected together are travelers from the 3-wire cables and are correct. They are not used for the light.

Is the second traveler on the switch in the two gang box white and how is it connected in the two gang box? What is the wiring for the common. And again id there a 2-cpnductor cable in the two gang box.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 08-13-14 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 08-13-14, 02:32 PM
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In addition to the questions above:

Incorrect image removed to avoid confusion.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 08-13-14 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 08-13-14, 04:27 PM
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Black wire is pigtailed from the switch(bottom brass) to the receptacle (top brass) then there is a white pigtailed from where they have both whites tied together that goes to the other side brass on receptacle. Does that help? Need more pics? I have an analog multimeter now as well.
 
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Old 08-13-14, 04:35 PM
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no, just two 3-wire and one two-wire
 
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Old 08-13-14, 04:48 PM
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So there is only one 3-conductor cable at the two gang box? Was the diagram of the first light box correct? Yes, please a better picture of the switch connection in the two gang box.
 
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Old 08-13-14, 04:51 PM
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no the diagram showed an extra 2-wire at the first light. two switch wires and one feed. stand by for a new image.
 
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Old 08-13-14, 05:01 PM
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Here's some new images of the second box Name:  box two 3 (640x480).jpg
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Old 08-13-14, 05:10 PM
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no, it's not. can we fix it? where did the question go?...lol
 
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Old 08-13-14, 05:17 PM
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Disconnect the 2-conductor cable in the lower right corner of the the gang box and check if it shows 120 volts.
 
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Old 08-13-14, 05:45 PM
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the meter didn't move on those two wires. Turn the meter to AC, but what setting on the dial? showing an image of the wires disconnected. Name:  DSCN1064 (640x480).jpg
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Old 08-13-14, 06:47 PM
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I need to go to work for a while but I'll be checking back frequently. Looking forward to closing this one out!
 
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Old 08-13-14, 06:48 PM
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250 will be okay for the meter.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 08-13-14 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 08-13-14, 06:52 PM
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yes, the diagram is correct now. do I need to reconnect the wires at the switch to test voltage at ceiling box?
 
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Old 08-13-14, 06:55 PM
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okay then, I don't get a reading on those wires either. (and yes, circuit is swithced on during testing..lol)
 
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Old 08-13-14, 06:57 PM
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What is the voltage at the 2-conductor cable in the first light box? Do I now have that box drawn correctly?.
I think you have it drawn correctly, Ray. That 2 wire cable has to go to the 2nd light box and cannot be power to the circuit.

Joe thinks:

the power comes from the 2 wire cable on the right bottom of the 2 gang box.
The only way the receptacle will work is if the power to the lights comes from this 2 wire cable.
 
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Old 08-13-14, 07:03 PM
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yes, his diagram is correct now. any way to bring those wires back together?
 
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Old 08-13-14, 07:07 PM
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Seems to me that the two wire cable entering the first box is the power feed, the black wire from the two wire is wound around the common terminal of the first 3 way sw and also connected to the receptacle which is ok, the three wire cable is connected to the traveller terminals and should be connected to the traveller terminals of the 2nd 3 way switch, a two wire should then be connected to the common terminal of the 2nd 3 way sw and light, any other light fixture could be added to first light using 2 wire cable, all ground and neutral wires should be appropiately connected. (the lights are at the end of the cable run)
 

Last edited by teddydiy; 08-13-14 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 08-13-14, 07:09 PM
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Eric you need to recheck that 2 wire cable. Check your volt meter in a receptacle first.
 
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Old 08-13-14, 07:13 PM
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okay, does it matter which probe goes in which slot of receptacle?
 
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Old 08-13-14, 07:19 PM
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No. Just use the two that aren't ground.
 
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Old 08-13-14, 07:23 PM
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well, it worked on a 1.5 volt battery...lol..but not on the socket. crap meter? it's brand new
 
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Old 08-13-14, 07:29 PM
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It happens. Just get a different brand analog under $15. The cheap ones usually work. See you tomorrow.
 
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Old 08-13-14, 07:32 PM
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why does it work on a battery and not on the outlet?
 
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Old 08-13-14, 07:46 PM
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I'll check back later. I've had enough for one day. Thanks for all today's help! Hope we can figure it out.
 
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Old 08-13-14, 07:53 PM
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So long as the 2-conductor in the 2-gang is hot we should be good to go. If you want to skip getting another meter just re connect the 2 gang box as it was and I will tell you how to connect it at the light and we will see if it works. We will make one test at the light using the new light.
 
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Old 08-13-14, 08:30 PM
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okay, sounds good. can we try that in the morning? my old lady just went to bed for the night and I don't want to disturb her.
 
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Old 08-13-14, 08:48 PM
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Sure see you in the morning.

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Old 08-14-14, 05:17 AM
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Ray, looks right to me!
 
 

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