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Novice switch and receptacle replacement turned into nightmare

Novice switch and receptacle replacement turned into nightmare

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  #1  
Old 05-31-15, 11:21 PM
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Unhappy Novice switch and receptacle replacement turned into nightmare

Hello everyone, just purchased a 30 year old townhouse and me and the wife thought it would be a nice little side project to replace 2 of our old style flip switches with more modern looking push switches, and to replace one of our old receptacles with a new square style. Went out and bought a great set of Klein voltage pen tester, outlet tester, and wire cutting/stripping/crimpers and seemed to have everything ready for the job.

Boy, what a mistake. We undid all of the connections and now for the life of us cannot figure out how to get it all put back together.

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I have attached a picture of my crude diagram . Every "colored" lines from the entry points are obviously the 14ga copper wires..

Basically, we have a box with 2 switches in it: One is supposed to turn on a fan, and one turns on a receptacle that I guess is meant for a floor lamp. Inside the box 3 is entry points, with wires of various colors. There is only ONE wire emitting a rolling beep from the pen tester, it is the lone black wire marked in green in the diagram. All other wires do nothing until we begin to connect them to the various terminals and then others start becoming live as well.

We have a stockpile of regular 2 way switches and 3 way switches as well.

Where the heck do we begin here? We understand the basic concepts about attaching the ground wires to the ground screws and have done everything like that properly. We just cannot find the correct combination here. We either have the receptacle working, or the fan working, but never both.

What are my first steps in troubleshooting this?

The diagram shows exactly the colors and combinations of wires in the box and receptacle. What's the first combination of wires and switch type you guys would first try? I have both regular 2 way and 3 way switches both available. Hopefully a 4 way isn't needed?

Sorry for the confusing post but my brain feels like spaghetti right now from trying to figure this out all night.. We have tried what seems like every combination of colors to different points on the switch possible and still haven't got it going.

Thanks so much for any help!
 
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  #2  
Old 05-31-15, 11:28 PM
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Looks like you need two black pigtails off the hot black to feed the two switches. You might need to splice in the black from the 3 wire cable going to the receptacle. The other black and the red will go to the other screw of two single pole switches.

All whites spliced. All grounds spliced and to each switch.

At the receptacle you will break the tab on the brass side between the two screws. Again pigtail the blacks to one brass screw. The red will be the switched hot on the other brass screw.
 
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Old 05-31-15, 11:37 PM
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Went out and bought a great set of Klein voltage pen tester, outlet tester, and wire cutting/stripping/crimpers and seemed to have everything ready for the job.
Except something to actually measure voltage with. You need an $8-$15 analog multimeter to actually test for voltage. That non contact tester is wrong to often to be useful except as a rough guess that a wire might be hot. Your lucked out though. PCBoss has figured it out with out you needing to make a voltage check.
 
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Old 05-31-15, 11:47 PM
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Thank you so much for the replies, me and the Mrs. genuinely appreciate it, especially so quick. I am re-reading pcboss' comments over and over trying to get familiar with it . I am going to draw an updated diagram in a moment just to see if you can clarify I have it right?

I am slightly confused by the "breaking the tab" comment, I am not exactly sure what you mean by that?

I bought the non contact tester just because I saw Mike Holmes using them all the time - my apologies and I will head to Home Depot or Lowes first thing tomorrow morning and get the appropriate tool - again very helpful advice thank you
 
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Old 06-01-15, 12:25 AM
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I'm having a brain fart figuring out how to split up the 2 black pigtails. I think I understand the rest of it.. Would you possibly be willing to draw it for me quickly by opening the image in paint? I added the two black pigtails at the top but didn't draw anything going into them

Is the rest of this diagram correct?

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again thank you so much from both me and the Mrs, we sincerely appreciate the help and hate having to ask you guys to explain it to me in "idiots terms", but I feel like I will definitely learn from this experience once I see exactly how you described it. And of course if you are unable to complete the diagram I still am very appreciative for your time

Cheers from Toronto
 
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Old 06-01-15, 12:39 AM
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Is this it? My brain is mush and it's 2am, hopefully a good sleep and fresh start in the morning might help me make sense of this

I know it's not much but I will happily donate a few bucks to the forum if you guys can help me complete this diagram, it's going to bug me and drive me insane until I get it fixed. I feel like the answer is so obvious its staring me in the face, I just can't visualize the connections

Thanks and please do let me know!
 
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Old 06-01-15, 01:26 AM
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I am slightly confused by the "breaking the tab" comment, I am not exactly sure what you mean by that?
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The tab connects the two plug-ins of the receptacle. If one plugin is switched and the other is always hot then the tab is removed.
I bought the non contact tester just because I saw Mike Holmes using them all the time
There can be lots of misleading things on a show like that ... or from the sales people at BigBox. Don't let them talk you in to a digital meter. Like the non contact testers they can be fooled by capacitive or induced voltages.

Your last diagram looks a bit wrong. The black of the power in cable (hot cable) is connected to two pigtails and the black of the 3-conductor cable. One pigtail to each switch.

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Last edited by ray2047; 06-01-15 at 02:08 AM.
  #8  
Old 06-10-15, 12:01 PM
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Wanted to report back that your advice worked like a charm.

Me and the Mrs. would both like to thank you very much for your help and expertise, and will happily donate a few bucks to either you or the website for your time. Please tell me where I can do this, as I would like to keep receiving good advice in the future and it's the least I can do

Thanks again guys

Cheers from Toronto
 
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Old 06-10-15, 01:17 PM
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Not permuted but the parent company would be appreciative if you would patronize their advertisers.
 
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Old 06-10-15, 01:49 PM
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You could always contribute to someone else that needs help on this board.
 
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