One wire two breakers..Help!

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  #1  
Old 09-13-14, 02:03 PM
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Lightbulb One wire two breakers..Help!

I am hooking up a new outlet. I feed the new wire from the new outlet box down the wall to an unfinished basement.

I found an existing wire in the basement that seems to only go from the electrical panel up through the floor to an outlet in the kitchen.

I turned off the breaker for this outlet and tested. All other outlets in the kitchen still work except the one I am referring to. Great. So I get a junction box and figure this is the perfect wire to tap into for my new outlet.

With the breaker turned off, I cut the wire to the existing outlet so that I can tie in the new outlet in a junction box.

There is a flash and a different breaker pops in the panel controlling the dining room light.

How can this be?

I connected the cut wire with new wire in the junction box and turned both breakers back on and all seems good. New outlet has power also.

But it's driving me crazy. How can one single wire which leads to an outlet which tested dead with the breaker off, pop a second breaker when cut?...can anyone think of any possibilities?
 
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  #2  
Old 09-13-14, 02:09 PM
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It was common for kitchen circuits to be fed with two hots to the receptacles. Sounds like only one was turned off.

I believe you now have a code violation since the circuit should have been dedicated to the kitchen.
 
  #3  
Old 09-16-14, 06:41 AM
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Thank you for your reply, so if I understand correctly, this is a "Split Receptacle" and when I turned the breaker off, it only killed the power to one of two receptacles ? The other receptacle must be on the other breaker which popped when I cut the wire?

I tested the receptacle with a tester after first turning the breaker off but maybe I just tested the bottom one but the top one still had power? Does this make sense?

Thanks
 
  #4  
Old 09-16-14, 06:10 PM
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Hmmm, not a split receptacle. I checked the outlet.

Only a single wire going into the outlet. I turn the breaker off (happens to be 2b) both receptacles in the outlet have no power.

From the basement where the wire leads to the outlet, I cut the cable and 4b pops, I tie in the new cable for the new outlet in a junction box with 2b and 4b off. Everything works fine.

With only the 2b breaker off, I test the original outlet and no power but the new out is live.

WTF?

As you can tell I'm a handy man not an electrician.

P.S. The dining room light that is somehow tied into this is actually in the same room as the kitchen (open concept, not sure if that helps with the "code" end of things).

Any ideas anyone?

Thanks
 
  #5  
Old 09-16-14, 06:15 PM
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Was here a black and a red on the breakers involved?

A cable is an assembly of conductors in an overall sheath. I think this is what you meant when you said a single wire.
 
  #6  
Old 09-17-14, 07:25 AM
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Yes, sorry, a regular 14-2 wire containing Black, White and ground
 
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Old 09-17-14, 07:31 AM
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Yes, sorry, a regular 14-2 wire
No, cable not wire.

.
 
  #8  
Old 09-17-14, 07:49 AM
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oh, regular 14-2 cable gotcha
 
  #9  
Old 09-17-14, 08:30 AM
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As asked by PCBoss: Do you have red and black wires at the breaker.
 
  #10  
Old 09-17-14, 08:37 AM
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oh!, Thank you I will check and let you know (won't be until tomorrow though)

I'll check both 2b and 4b
 
  #11  
Old 09-17-14, 01:22 PM
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Without checking, issue sounds like this post I just came across:

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-one-wire.html
 
  #12  
Old 09-17-14, 03:48 PM
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Yes, that is what we are writing about. I didn't review the whole thread but the first couple of replies were correct.
 
  #13  
Old 09-17-14, 04:25 PM
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I thought I was the first person in the world to come across this. I feel a little better.

I'll take the panel cover and get a few pix and let you's know.

Maybe I'm ok if I label them correctly?

With a meter I measure 120 on both outlets.
 

Last edited by Rpciam; 09-17-14 at 04:26 PM. Reason: Added a Sentence and corrected Grammar
  #14  
Old 09-18-14, 05:31 PM
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Ok, I took the panel cover off and took a look.

2b has black wire going up into it. ( this is the breaker I turned off prior to cutting the cable which tested dead at the outlet)

4b also has a black wire going up into it (this is the breaker that popped when I cut the cable)

To clarify (or to confuse things), I might be using more wrong lingo.

Each breaker has 2 toggles (one of the toggles I am referring to as 2b)

The breaker on the right side of it also has 2 toggles (one of which I am referring to as 4b)

I took pictures...I have to figure out how I can post them.
 
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Old 09-18-14, 06:43 PM
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Old 09-19-14, 07:01 AM
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Oh, Thanks, Here it is, it shows 2b and 4b tripped:

Name:  Electrical Panel 2b &4b.jpg
Views: 195
Size:  46.7 KB
 
  #17  
Old 09-19-14, 07:07 AM
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Those are tandem breaker which are two circuits in the space of one breaker.

Both those breakers are on the same leg of the panel.
 
  #18  
Old 09-19-14, 08:15 AM
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So does this mean the voltage between the hot wires is 220?

So does this mean the condition was there even before I tapped into the Cable to add the new outlet?
 
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Old 09-19-14, 08:21 AM
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So does this mean the voltage between the hot wires is 220?
No, voltage across both hot wires will be 0 as they both come from the same source. Kind of like putting both leads of your meter on the same lug.

So does this mean the condition was there even before I tapped into the Cable to add the new outlet?
Yes, probably so.
 
  #20  
Old 09-19-14, 08:36 AM
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I'm confused (it doesn't take much)

When I turn the breaker off for 2b only, I have no power at the original outlet but I still have power at the new outlet (I am not sure how that is possible but that's probably me )

I have to turn both 2b and 4b off for both outlets to be dead. Does this make sense? Is this safe providing I label them properly?

Thanks
 
  #21  
Old 09-19-14, 09:11 AM
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Sounds like an accidental cross connection between the two circuits. That must be fixed. Are there any boxes with cables from both breakers?
 
  #22  
Old 09-19-14, 09:16 AM
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Between the Panel and the place where I put the new Junction box, there is another junction box but I can't trace the wires from that one because it is all dry walled (but that junction box has a door on the celling so I can get at it. There are three cables going into it.
 

Last edited by Rpciam; 09-19-14 at 10:18 AM.
  #23  
Old 09-19-14, 10:30 AM
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I'm not at home but could this junction box contains the cables from 2b and 4b? Why would they have done that?

Thanks
 
  #24  
Old 09-19-14, 10:38 AM
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One possible reason is a split receptacle with power to each side from a different breaker. A new receptacle was installed but the tab wasn't broken.
 
  #25  
Old 09-19-14, 10:50 AM
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Oh, So the new receptacle I installed, I just need to break the tab? I didn't do that not realizing it was a split receptacle from the get go.

I should kill the breakers, remove the tab and re-test?, Correct?

Thanks.
 
  #26  
Old 09-19-14, 12:00 PM
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oh, I just watched a video on hooking up a Split receptacle. The new receptacle I hooked up contains a new 14/2 only. This 14/2 cable I tied into an existing 14/2 into a new junction box. There are no other wires in the new receptacle other than the black, white and ground.
 
  #27  
Old 09-19-14, 12:23 PM
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Sitting here drawing it out, I think I just figured out an explanation.

- I saw the cable going up through the floor towards the outlet in the kitchen
- I found the breaker that controlled that outlet and tripped it.
- I cut the wire and 4b breaker popped.

Solution: The wire that goes up the floor towards the kitchen outlet does not actually go to the outlet in the kitchen, it actually goes to the Dining room light (4b)

Which explains why after tying in the new outlet to that wire, I still had power to it while 2b was turned off....this is what was driving me crazy. How could I still have power to one outlet but not the other when 2b was off.

The assumption I was making is that I was cutting the same wire that was going to the kitchen outlet.

That's an amateur for you

I'll test this theory when I get home and follow up
 
  #28  
Old 09-19-14, 03:12 PM
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Yup, it's official, I'm an idiot.

I didn't need to turn off breaker 2b as I wasn't touching that wire I needed to turn off 4b as that was the wire I was tapping into. I made things much more complicated by an assumption made.

Thanks for staying with me, sorry to waste your time
 
  #29  
Old 09-19-14, 04:20 PM
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But you figured it out. That's what counts. Thanks for letting us know.
 
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