Wiring problem with receptacle-help please

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Old 11-08-16, 06:48 AM
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Wiring problem with receptacle-help please

I'm new here, any help would be appreciated. Have an existing 12-2G line running to a switched light. Into that line, between the switch and the light, spliced in another 12-2G line, connected black to black, white to white, ground to ground.

Connected other end of the new 12-2G to a new 20 amp GFCI receptacle, connected white to White (silver); black to Hot (brass), ground to the ground terminal (green) on the GFCI receptacle. Tested the GFCI as provided in Hubbell instructions, tests as wire correctly. Have power at the GFCI but no power now at the light.

All connections in splice in the junction box use wire nuts and are tight and strong. I did notice later that the GFCI instructions show the ground wire going to the ground terminal and also connected to the ground terminal inside the box, which I failed to do because I thought it only needed to be connected to the green terminal on the receptacle.

Also the instructions stated to connect to both the ground terminal on the receptacle and the ground terminal in the box IF THE BOX HAS A GROUND TERMINAL, making me think that would not be necessary since that connection wouldn’t be there if there was no ground terminal on in the box. I would appreciate any input as to why I now have power at the GFCI but not the light. Again, the switch is in the circuit before both the GFCI and the light. Thanks.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 11-08-16 at 07:19 AM. Reason: Add paragraphs so it was easily readable.
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Old 11-08-16, 07:21 AM
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How many cables to the switch box? If only one and the black and white wires are connected to the switch then that isn't a power cable. it is a switch loop and has no neutral.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 07:58 AM
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How many cables to the switch box? If only one and the black and white wires are connected to the switch then that isn't a power cable. it is a switch loop and has no neutral.
+1

If that is the case (one 12-2 in your switch box), then you need to get power off the light itself in order to feed the GFCI.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 08:36 AM
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I'm not where I can check right now but I'll bet that's right. I stupidly assumed it was power cable, duh! VERY helpful answers and much appreciated. I'll check when I get home tonight.
If it is a switch loop so it has no neutral, how would I feed the GFCI off the light itself?
 
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Old 11-08-16, 09:11 AM
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If it IS a switch loop..... only the hot is run thru it and the neutral is at the light. So to get power to your receptacle you would need to take your two wire cable to the light fixture.

You should find at least 2) two wire cables at the light.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 12:16 PM
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You might be able to use the same hole in the wall top plate to pass another cable down from the light to the switch box or new GFCI box.
I cut out the old boxes to make fishing easier.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 04:31 PM
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I can't adequately express how much I appreciate your help, thanks! Here's what I found. The switch is simple - 2 terminals plus a ground screw. Inside the box housing the switch are 2 single strand wires, one connected to each of the 2 terminals on the switch; nothing is attached to the ground terminal on the switch. I can't tell the colors b/c the wires are encased in the old cloth coverings (the house was built in the 1930s). I've not been able to check the wiring at the light b/c - with daylight savings time - it's dark by the time I get home every day. The light involved is an outside yard light on a pole. The cable I tied into is 12-2G Romex that comes out from under the house thru a crawl space vent and goes to the light. I could certainly be wrong (that's why I'm here) but this would seem to me that the switch is simply wired into the hot line going to the light. If that's the case, the splice I described initially should work since the splice is "down stream" of the switch and before the light. The switch controls only the yard light, nothing more. I need to repeat that the GFCI receptacle tests and works fine. Any more thoughts? I can't check the wiring at the light until this weekend but I'm trying to be ready to solve the problem then. Thanks again.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 04:44 PM
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If I'm understanding your configuration, the neutral connection for the GFCI receptacle you added is connected through the light. In other words, you wired the GFCI in series with the light. This is not going to work. If you plug a lamp into the GFCI receptacle, then that lamp and your outdoor light should turn on at about half intensity because you are dividing the voltage between the two fixtures. When you say the GFCI works fine, exactly how are you testing it? Pressing the "Test" button? Even so, that doesn't mean it is wired correctly. You'll measure 120V across the black and white wires of the GFCI, but as soon as you connect a load, the outside lamp will turn on and you'll be dividing the 120V amongst two fixtures. Bottom line, you don't have it wired properly. You need to get a feed from somewhere else. The thing I'm puzzled about is why your outside light no longer works after adding the GFCI receptacle. With nothing plugged in, the GFCI is an open circuit. Also confused as to why an outdoor light would have a feed in it rather than feeding the switch box that is switching it.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 04:49 PM
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Inside the box housing the switch are 2 single strand wires, one connected to each of the 2 terminals on the switch
Which indicates we are correct in our guess it is a switch loop.
The cable I tied into is 12-2G Romex that comes out from under the house thru a crawl space vent and goes to the light.
So it is not as you wrote in your first post?
between the switch and the light,
I can't check the wiring at the light until this weekend but I'm trying to be ready to solve the problem then.
Yes that is what needs to be checked next.

While we wait please explain what you mean by:
the GFCI receptacle tests and works fine.
Do you mean you checked the voltage at one plug-in using a multimeter with a load plugged in at the other plug-in and got a reading of ~120 volts? (You can't use a non contact tester or rely on the GFCI indicator lights.)

Please use paragraphs when writing your reply. No paragraphs make it difficult to read your posts.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 05:24 PM
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OP, I believe this is what you have. If so, the following conditions should be true:

Switch off, no load plugged into GFCI: 120V across GFCI receptacle
Switch on, no load plugged into GFCI: 0V across GFCI receptacle, light is on
Switch off, load connected to GFCI: some voltage significantly less than 120V across GFCI, light dimly lit
Switch on, load connected to GFCI: load turns off, light full brightness.

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Old 11-09-16, 03:37 AM
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Again, appreciate your trying to help. I need to put this on hold until I can work on it during daylight hours this weekend. I'll be back. Thanks again.
 
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Old 11-09-16, 04:35 AM
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Let us know how it goes. BTW, if your outside light bulb is burned out or removed, none of the conditions I listed will be true.
 
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Old 11-14-16, 01:06 PM
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Problem Corrected

Problem corrected, here's what happened. This for an underground connection so I used a waterproof box, twisted the wires together, installed wire nuts and put silicone around the wire nuts. When I pushed the wires into the box, the twisted black wire going to the light broke under the silicone so it appeared to be connected when it was not. Remade the connection and reinserted it into the box and both the GFCI and the light worked properly. Sealed the box with silicone as instructed and everything works fine. Many thanks for your thoughts and trying to help. I now have another question that came up during this project that I'll post separately because it's a different issue. Thanks again to all ... great forum!
 
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Old 11-14-16, 02:52 PM
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Sounds like you also incorrectly extended ungrounded wiring.
 
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