Help with Junction Box

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Old 11-12-16, 11:05 AM
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Help with Junction Box

I had a short in a junction box. Upon opening I saw some loose ground wires and a real mess inside so I decided to just separate all the wires and start from scratch. Not sure how to put it back together because of all the different types of wires I have.
  1. One cable with two black wires. These are hot with the breaker on, so all others need to get power from these.
  2. One cable with Black, White, and Ground (goes to outlet)
  3. One cable with Black, White, Red, Ground (goes to light switch)
  4. One cable with Black and White. (goes to outside outlet).

Here is an album with pictures of each of the cables. In the same order as the list above. Wires - Album on Imgur

Since I have the cable with two black wires, does it matter which one gets hooked up to the white?

What do I do with the grounds? There is not ground coming with the two black wires (the source of the power).

And how to handle the black and red cable?
 
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Old 11-12-16, 12:14 PM
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A cable would never contain two black wires. The only way you would have two black wires from one breaker is if it was a two pole 240 volt breaker. Do you measure 240 volts between the two black wires?
 

Last edited by ray2047; 11-12-16 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 11-12-16, 12:25 PM
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With two blacks in the supply cable you would be missing a neutral for the 120 circuits. Something sounds a miss.
 
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Old 11-12-16, 12:58 PM
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Ok. I looked again. The two wires both have a black plastic coating. But they are both wrapped in fabric, one black and one white. The white is just dirty so hard to tell. You can actually see it in the first pick.

I measured 120V between the two wires. So I can connect black to black and white to white. But what to do with the two grounds? And what to do with the red wire?

The cable with the red wire goes to a double light switch. Although I am unable to tell which wire goes to which in the light switch because it seems there is another junction somewhere before it gets to the switch.
 
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Old 11-12-16, 01:41 PM
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But what to do with the two grounds?
Nothing if there is no ground with the incoming hot. Just put them in the back of the box and forget them.
One cable with Black, White, Red, Ground (goes to light switch)
Is the switch a 3-way switch or a switch for a device controlled from only one location?
 
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Old 11-12-16, 02:01 PM
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Here is the switch:

Switch

It's two different light switches. The left one goes to my outside porch light. The top right goes to a lamp post in my yard. The red indicator light (bottom right) turns on when I flip on the top right switch.

They are both either on or off.
 
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Old 11-12-16, 02:38 PM
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You need to remove the switches and pull them out so we can see all the wires in the box and how the wires are connected to both sides of the switches. Easier for us if you insert the images in your reply. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/li...rt-images.html
 
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Old 11-12-16, 03:16 PM
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OK. Turns out the ONLY thing using that cable is the lamp post switch and indicator light.

Here is a picture of the front of the switch and the back showing the wires. Thanks so much for all your help.

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Old 11-12-16, 03:29 PM
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Ok. I was able to read the writing on the back of the switch. Between the white and the black connections there is an arrow between the two with the word LOAD.

Between the black and the red connections there is an arrow between with the word SWITCH.
 
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Old 11-12-16, 07:35 PM
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So that means one of the two conductor cables other than the power in goes to the post light. The red of the 3-condubtor will connect to the black of that cable. The trick will be to find which cable goes to the post light.

Connect each of the three 2-conductor cables one at a time to the power in 2-conductor cable. When the post light lights you have found the cable to the post light. Mark that cable.

The remaining two 2-conductor cables will be your receptacles.

Below is a very rough diagram of your connections. Where I have indicated cables entering is not intended to indicate where they enter your box. It was just for ease of drawing. I know it is hard to follow so ask for clarification if you need it. Red dots indicate a wirenut connection.

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  • All whites connected together.
  • Black of power in connected to both receptacle blacks and switch cable black.
  • Switch cable red to post light black.
 
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Old 11-13-16, 04:02 AM
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You also need to properly connect the ground wire. It needs to be connected to the other grounds, or connect it to the metal box with a green ground screw.
 
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Old 11-13-16, 04:13 AM
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Tolyn, this is a non code compliant installation as I understand it. Original power in was a older NM cable with no ground and it was in violation extended. The new cables had grounds but there is no ground in the box to connect them to.
 
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Old 11-13-16, 04:35 AM
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Ah, missed that. Carry on.
 
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Old 11-13-16, 05:26 AM
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Since the issue was raised let me add that you should really replace the ungrounded power in NM cable with a new NM-b cable with ground and then connect all grounds.
 
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Old 11-13-16, 06:31 AM
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OK That all made sense. It was easy for me to tell which of the other cables went to the light.

I have it all hooked up per your diagram and everything works except, the pilot light on the switch is now on all the time, where before it was only on when the switch is on.

Is it possible the red from the switch should be connected to power in and the black from the switch should be go to the pole light?

In regards to upgrading to grounded wires. I know it should be done. It's probably beyond my ability and seems like such a huge undertaking. I eventually need to talk to an electrician about it.
 
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Old 11-13-16, 07:43 AM
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Is it possible the red from the switch should be connected to power in and the black from the switch should be go to the pole light?
While there is no hard rule generally black is used for constant hot (line) and red is used for switch controlled hot (load). That is the way I drew the diagram. Try swapping the black and red at the switch.
 
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Old 11-13-16, 10:37 AM
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Donezo! Thanks for your help, you did me a real service. Swapping the black and red did the trick.

You'd be surprised at how long that took me.
 
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Old 11-13-16, 03:00 PM
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Good job! Thanks for letting us know the outcome.
 
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