Single gang / double switch issue

Reply

  #1  
Old 08-16-14, 04:02 PM
mrowmrow's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 35
Single gang / double switch issue

My head is about to explode. I'm no stranger to electrical wiring stuff and when I have an issue, it's usually something stupid that I just didn't notice and I'm hoping that's what this is, because I can't figure out the problem.

Due to a lack of space between two studs, I only have room for a single gang junction box, yet I need to have two switches, one to control a chandelier in the dining room and one to control an exterior flood light. After putting it off for a while, I finally ran some an extra wire into the junction box last night. I also had to switch out the wire that was supplying my chandelier (for the last few months up until yesterday, I had to controlled by the same switch as the kitchen lights),so that wire is new as well. For some reason, whenever I have the receptacle hooked up, it trips the breaker and I can't figure out why. As I'll show in my pictures, the black wire is the power supply and the each yellow goes to its own light source. The black wire from the feeder wire is connected to the line (black) screw on the receptacle and the black lines from each yellow wire are connected to the load (brass) screws, the three white wires are connected together, as are the ground wires (with a pigtail to the ground screw on the receptacle).
Everything I've found online shows that my setup should be correct, I'm going crazy. Please help me find the place where I've stupidly jacked something up and just haven't noticed.
Name:  IMG_6265.jpg
Views: 1066
Size:  25.9 KBName:  IMG_6266.jpg
Views: 385
Size:  30.7 KB
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 08-16-14, 04:13 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Louisville KY
Posts: 563
It looks like the twisted ground wires are awful close to the connection on the lower side, could they possibly be touching or arcing? Secondly, have you checked with a meter to be sure that the white cable is where your feed is coming from? How old is your home? Only newer ones have neutrals in all of their switch boxes.
 
  #3  
Old 08-16-14, 04:23 PM
Handyone's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: U.S.
Posts: 5,451
How many wires were there before you ran new cable?
1 blk, 1 wht?

Or more?
 
  #4  
Old 08-16-14, 04:42 PM
Handyone's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: U.S.
Posts: 5,451
If you know which cables go where... disconnect black and white wire going to chandelier (cap them off), leave everything else as is and see if flood light works.
 
  #5  
Old 08-16-14, 07:29 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,365
While waiting on further info I will say the grounds need a wire nut to keep the connection secure.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 08-16-14 at 07:33 PM. Reason: wire but > wire nut
  #6  
Old 08-17-14, 12:08 AM
mrowmrow's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 35
Thanks so much for responding! Sorry for the delay, I was at work. I'll try to answer all of the questions:
I've only tested it and had the breaker trip as you see it (not putting everything back in the box) so nothing is touching that's not supposed to. I'm going to make everything more secure once I know I've got it set up correctly and it's working. (I've already taken it apart about three times to triple check that indeed the feeder wire is in fact the feeder wire and that neither of the yellow ones is carrying any power of their own). The house was built in 1978 and the black feeder wire was previously there, both yellows are brand new, but all of the house's wiring has had neutrals thus far.

"If you know which cables go where... disconnect black and white wire going to chandelier (cap them off), leave everything else as is and see if flood light works."

Good idea, I was going to do that today, but ran out of time.
 
  #7  
Old 08-17-14, 12:13 AM
mrowmrow's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 35
"While waiting on further info I will say the grounds need a wire nut to keep the connection secure."

Definitely! This is kind of a "let's make sure everything works before I secure everything and put it away," sort of thing.
 
  #8  
Old 08-17-14, 07:29 AM
Handyone's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: U.S.
Posts: 5,451
I've already taken it apart about three times to triple check that indeed the feeder wire is in fact the feeder wire and that neither of the yellow ones is carrying any power of their own
Myself or another Mod will get back to you on how to wire this. For now it would help to know:
Does Chandelier have only one cable in box?
Does Flood Light have only one cable?

The quote above.... Please separate all three cables again and check for voltage.
This time, using a meter:
Check Black to White, Black to Ground, and White to Ground, on each cable....
 
  #9  
Old 08-17-14, 11:15 AM
mrowmrow's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 35
The flood light and chandelier both only have one cable. I'll separate and check for voltage in a bit (I have to take the kids to the grocery store).

Thanks so much for your help!
 
  #10  
Old 08-20-14, 05:14 PM
mrowmrow's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 35
Multimeter results

Ok, sorry for the delay. I've been single parenting for the last few days and every time I'd get out my multi-meter, a child would act up.
Anyhoo, here are my results: 120v from hot (black wire from black cable) to ground and hot to neutral (white wire from black cable), nothing from the black wires that come from the yellow cables and nothing from neutral (white from black cable) to ground. I get about 25v when I test from hot (black from black cable) to whites from the yellow cables.

Thoughts?
 
  #11  
Old 08-20-14, 06:12 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,516
You have three cables. Treat each cable separately and check from white to black.

I'm not sure how the receptacle you mention fits in the picture here.

Your wiring there looks correct.
 
  #12  
Old 08-20-14, 07:34 PM
mrowmrow's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 35
Exactly. According to everything I know, it IS correct, so I can't figure out why it keeps tripping.

ARGH!
 
  #13  
Old 08-20-14, 07:52 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,516
Still a little vague on the receptacle.

Are you testing with the switches off ?
 
  #14  
Old 08-21-14, 12:57 AM
mrowmrow's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 35
When I tested today, I tested with the power on and the wires separated. I guess I could see if it trips with the switches turned off, I don't recall if I tried it that way. I'll report back in the morning. Thanks!
 
  #15  
Old 08-22-14, 11:13 AM
mrowmrow's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 35
So I decided to replace the black cable with a new piece of cable, in case that was the issue (since its age was unknown). I also switched the feed to a different circuit to see if that was somehow the issue.
I just reconnected the switch and turned the power on (with the switches off) and it didn't trip. As soon as I flipped a switch, it tripped. Argh! I don't know why this is happening. I ordered another different switch, just in case.
 
  #16  
Old 08-22-14, 12:16 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,678
Trying to understand this thread. You wrote:
The black wire from the feeder wire is connected to the line (black) screw on the receptacle
Receptacles don't have black screws. Do you mean brass screws?

At the receptacle do you have three cables? If so remove the receptacle, wire nut the three blacks together and wire nut the three whites together. Does the breaker still trip?
 
  #17  
Old 08-22-14, 02:34 PM
mrowmrow's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 35
Check the 1st picture, some gfcis and this double-gang switch have black screws for the LINE side of the receptacle.

Anyway, I figured it out! Turns out that a neutral wire had come loose on the chandelier (not in the junction box, where I had been looking, but by the bulb) and was laying on the hot wire, thus causing the tripping. I knew it had to be something stupid!

Now I'm off to take some pix/post about this other 3-way switch that I somehow jacked up when I replaced it a few months ago. I'll be back soon.
Thanks for the help!
 
  #18  
Old 08-22-14, 02:47 PM
Handyone's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: U.S.
Posts: 5,451
The black wire from the feeder wire is connected to the line (black) screw on the receptacle and the black lines from each yellow wire are connected to the load (brass) screws
Ray,
By receptacle I think OP means stacked switch.
OP, Look at picture above, img_6265.jpg. One Cable sheathing looks Black and you said Black cable was your source power. If so... I blew up photo and this hot wire is not connected to common screw, it's connected to load. The source hot wire needs to go to one of the black screws.
Move the black that's there now to the other side.
 
  #19  
Old 08-22-14, 02:57 PM
Handyone's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: U.S.
Posts: 5,451
Oops, you got in before me. Good Job..
 
  #20  
Old 08-22-14, 04:13 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,678
Ray,
By receptacle I think OP means stacked switch
But that isn't a receptacle. Outlet yes but not a receptacle. I thought power for the switch came from a receptacle. Moot, he got it. That's what counts.
 
  #21  
Old 08-22-14, 06:54 PM
mrowmrow's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 35
Sorry, I'm not down on all of the vocabulary. I guess I thought "receptacle" referred to whatever was "receiving"the power inside the junction box. Oh well... live and learn.
Anyway, it's working now. I appreciate the assistance.

p.s. I'm a lady.
 

Last edited by mrowmrow; 08-22-14 at 08:28 PM.
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'