How do tap into the power from this receptacle?

Reply

  #1  
Old 06-29-17, 07:06 AM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 959
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
How do tap into the power from this receptacle?

I have a light fixture that has a string to pull to turn on and off. There are two romex cables that came out of this light fixture. One goes somewhere else and the other goes to this receptacle outlet. How do I extend the power from this location to create another receptacle somewhere else in the room? This receptacle does not seem to have any power because when I plug in a pencil sharpener it does not work. However, it does seem to have power because I tested with a non-contact voltage tester and it shows there are power in this receptacle. It would like to make this receptacle have power so I can plug in other power tools and use, plus extend to another receptacle outlet. How or what would my wiring look like then?

Name:  receptacle.jpg
Views: 1341
Size:  39.7 KB

Thank you.
 

Last edited by Charlie2; 06-29-17 at 08:39 AM.
  #2  
Old 06-29-17, 07:33 AM
Geochurchi's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 4,952
Received 87 Votes on 82 Posts
somewhat confusing, you say the receptacle has no power but the pencil sharpener works, through out the contact tester and get a cheap analog meter, test between the black and white wires, tell us what your reading is,according to the 2017 NEC that receptacle will have to be a AFCI receptacle ,not trying to confuse the issue, has your town adopted the new 2017 NEC?
Geo
 
  #3  
Old 06-29-17, 08:41 AM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 959
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Sorry, I forgot one very important word, "not". When I plugged in the pencil sharpener, it does not work.
 
  #4  
Old 06-29-17, 09:57 AM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 24,410
Received 745 Votes on 684 Posts
The ground wires are lightly twisted together with NO wire nut and the ground is not connected to the receptacle.

It also appears you have a mixture of 12 ga and 14 ga wires. What size is the circuit breaker for that circuit?

You say you have black and white conductors going to the same wire nut? Are the white wires wrapped with black electrical tape?

It appears as though the cables/Romex are not fastened to the framing outside the box.

Basically I'm seeing a number of issues just in your one close-up photo. I'd have some questions about the other wiring on the circuit if it were done by the same person.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 06-29-17 at 10:14 AM. Reason: Romes>Romex
  #5  
Old 06-29-17, 10:32 AM
C
Member
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 41
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
To tap into that take the neutral from New romex and hook it to the neutral side of the outlet by stabbing in in the little holes in back and take the black wire from New romex and put it under the red wire nut along with the black and white, then all ground go together and ground the switch that's how to do it
 
  #6  
Old 06-29-17, 10:40 AM
C
Member
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 41
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
When I say new romex I mean the new wire you haven't ran yet btw
 
  #7  
Old 06-29-17, 10:43 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 60,761
Received 1,321 Votes on 1,221 Posts
hook it to the neutral side of the outlet by stabbing in in the little holes in back
NO sir.

Side screw terminals and back stabs are not used together. We, the electricians, at DIY do not ever recommend using back stab connections at all.

You can use both side screws to connect the wiring or combine the two together and then using a tail bring one wire to the device.
 
  #8  
Old 06-29-17, 10:58 AM
C
Member
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 41
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I didn't know sorry about that. I don't recommend it normally but he has both screws being used already and with the load only being one outlet with a pencil sharpener that the only reason I made the exception. I won't do it again though
 
  #9  
Old 06-29-17, 12:20 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 959
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The ground wires are lightly twisted together with NO wire nut and the ground is not connected to the receptacle.
Yes, I noticed that too.

It also appears you have a mixture of 12 ga and 14 ga wires. What size is the circuit breaker for that circuit?
No, it's the same gauge.

You say you have black and white conductors going to the same wire nut? Are the white wires wrapped with black electrical tape?
Yes and although I did not unscrew the wirenut to check whether the white wire is wrapped with black electrical tape or not, I believed it is no.

Basically I'm seeing a number of issues just in your one close-up photo. I'd have some questions about the other wiring on the circuit if it were done by the same person.
I believed it's done by the same person. I just bought the house about 6 months ago and I need to another receptacle in a different location and this is one is the closest that I could extend it from.
 
  #10  
Old 06-29-17, 12:26 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 959
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Side screw terminals and back stabs are not used together. We, the electricians, at DIY do not ever recommend using back stab connections at all.
What is a "using back stab connections"?
You can use both side screws to connect the wiring or combine the two together and then using a tail bring one wire to the device.
Okay, so I can connect my new receptacle romex cable black and white wire to the side screws and then, what is "using a tail bring one wire to the device."?
 
  #11  
Old 06-29-17, 03:00 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,583
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
A tail (aka pigtail) is a short length of wire 6" to 8" long the same color and size of the wires it is being connected to.
  • All black wires connected to a pigtail.
  • All white wires connected to a pigtail.
  • Black pigtail under the brass screw.
  • White pigtail under the silver screw.
  • Grounds per code.

Name:  Pigtail.jpg
Views: 1095
Size:  9.6 KB
 
  #12  
Old 06-29-17, 03:49 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 959
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Ray2947, do I add another wirenut for pigtailing or just add my extension romex cable wires to the existing wirenuts for pigtaling?
 
  #13  
Old 06-29-17, 04:58 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,583
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
Not sure I understand your question. The pigtail goes the receptacle. The wires of your cables goes to the pigtail. How many cables do you have?
 
  #14  
Old 06-29-17, 05:25 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 60,761
Received 1,321 Votes on 1,221 Posts
Since the lights are pull chain fixtures.... the cables.... in and out should be always live.

In that box would be power in, power out to the next light and a new cable to the new receptacle getting added. That would mean you have three white wires and three black wires to be connected. You cannot connect three wires to 2 screw terminals so you make splices and add tails.

However.... you labeled the picture with a red wirenut with a black and white wire connected together. That makes no sense here unless there is a wall switch you haven't mentioned.
 
  #15  
Old 06-30-17, 04:20 AM
A
Member
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 571
Received 23 Votes on 22 Posts
"Box Fill" issue possibly here.

OP states all conductors same size but does not state the size. If the box is a standard 18c" box it may hold the conductors needed and not exceed count if 14 gauge is being used (we don't know if it is a deeper box than standard). If 12 gauge being used I would think three romex cables and the yoke will pull the OP over the max on conductors for that box.

Charlie2: What size conductors are you using and can you see into the box at the back it should have stamped in it the number of cubic inches capacity of the box. You may have to put in a larger box to add another romex to it.
 
  #16  
Old 06-30-17, 12:56 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 959
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
In that box would be power in, power out to the next light and a new cable to the new receptacle getting added. That would mean you have three white wires and three black wires to be connected. You cannot connect three wires to 2 screw terminals so you make splices and add tails.
Actually only one white and one black goes to the screws on the side. The other black and white wires are twisted together inside the red wirenut.

However.... you labeled the picture with a red wirenut with a black and white wire connected together. That makes no sense here unless there is a wall switch you haven't mentioned.
There is no wall switch somewhere that I'm aware off. The light fixture in this room is turning on and off by pulling a string. I'm not sure either why there is a white and black twisted together inside the wirenut here either.
 
  #17  
Old 06-30-17, 04:12 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 959
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Let's rephrase my question to this.

How do I make this current receptacle working (because right now it's not), add another receptacle from this receptacle, maintain the light fixture the way it is right now and without disturbing other light fixtures or receptacles in the house?

Base on Ray2047, I would simply put my new receptacle romex white and black wires into the existing wirenut and call it good (if I understood it correctly). However, would this mean my current receptacle would still not work?
 
  #18  
Old 07-01-17, 10:18 AM
C
Member
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 41
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Let's say your new outlet has been added and and now you just need to tie it in to a power source and it's the source in your picture.The white goes on the side with the other whites and the black goes under the red wire nutt with the black and white wire. It's that easy and it will be hot all the time just like any other outlet. The small problem is on the side of the outlet the white wires are already taking up both screws so you need to unhook them and tie them all together with a wire nutt, so under that nut you will have the 2 existing wires plus the one from new outlet plus a short piece to tie back into the existing outlet, so 4 white wires total. After that the new black goes under the red nut with the existing white and black. After that the new ground goes to the others and then a short piece to hook back to the existing outlet, so 4 ground wires total under that wire nut
 
  #19  
Old 07-01-17, 03:10 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 959
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The small problem is on the side of the outlet the white wires are already taking up both screws...
Actually a white wire from the light fixture and a black wire from/to the other room goes into the red wirenut. A black wire from the light fixture and a white wire from/to the other room goes to the outlet. So, the outlet only have one white and one black wire screwed in. Here's a closer/brighter look.
Name:  outlet.jpg
Views: 1014
Size:  33.1 KB
 

Last edited by Charlie2; 07-01-17 at 03:47 PM.
  #20  
Old 07-01-17, 08:05 PM
L
Member
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 1,550
Received 92 Votes on 80 Posts
How do I make this current receptacle working (because right now it's not), add another receptacle from this receptacle, maintain the light fixture the way it is right now and without disturbing other light fixtures or receptacles in the house?
Actually a white wire from the light fixture and a black wire from/to the other room goes into the red wirenut. A black wire from the light fixture and a white wire from/to the other room goes to the outlet.
Does the light fixture this wire runs to work?

From your what you have told us, the light should not work unless outlet is shorted. Is there is another wire entering the light?
Maybe the person who installed this outlet was plugging something into the outlet that works as a switch of some sort?

I think it is the best for you to just ignore current wiring and redo it the correct way. First make sure that you black and white wires from the other room outlet are actually hot and neutral. Then, connect black to hot screw (brass color) and white to neutral screw (silver color) and to the same for the wire going to the light fixture. Check wiring in the light fixture to see if hot and neutral are under correct screw. For most pull chain lights, brass and silver screws let you know which is which and some more fancy lights will have black and white wires.
Non-contact tester will test presence of electric current, but doesn't really give you the full picture. You need to use a multimeter to check voltages across the wires to test if the outlet actually has a working power.
Non-contact tester will also detect induced current from wires running next to the wire being tested if that wire is in open (floating) condition.
 
  #21  
Old 07-02-17, 07:31 AM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 959
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Does the light fixture this wire runs to work?
From your what you have told us, the light should not work unless outlet is shorted. Is there is another wire entering the light?

From your what you have told us, the light should not work unless outlet is shorted. Is there is another wire entering the light? Maybe the person who installed this outlet was plugging something into the outlet that works as a switch of some sort?
The light fixture works when pull the chain regardless if the outlet is plugged or not. However the outlet has never worked. The light fixture does have another romex cable that goes somewhere in a different room as well.
I think it is the best for you to just ignore current wiring and redo it the correct way.
Yes, I think that the way it outlet was wired was kind of wear so you're right. It's best to start from scratch and make it correct. I assumed if I use a multimeter on live wire, as long as my hand is on the rubber of the red and black needle, I should be fine, correct?
 
  #22  
Old 07-02-17, 07:53 AM
L
Member
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 1,550
Received 92 Votes on 80 Posts
How is this other cable wired to the cable going to the outlet in question?

As long as you don't touch the bear copper or test lead tip, you will be safe.
 
  #23  
Old 07-02-17, 10:08 AM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 959
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Okay, I just measured the voltage on the outlet with a multimeter and it shows 102. That explains why when I plugged in the pencil sharpener, it was not working. It looks like whether I turned on or off the light fixture, I always get 102 on the multimeter. So here's what I wanted to do at this point by re-wireing this receptacle even if it is best for me to purchase a new receptacle box that is according to code.
  1. Make this current receptacle outlet to 120v
  2. Extend the power another receptacle
  3. Still have the light fixture operate the way it currently is by pulling the chain to turn on and off

So, can I assumed that the romex cable wires from/to the light fixture is always hot since the light fixture has its own on/off pull chain and regardless if the light fixture is on or off, the multimeter always shows 102v? Can I also then assumed that the romex cable going from this receptacle to the light fixture is also the source of the power to the light fixture and not the other way around? I'm trying to avoid opening this outlet up and measure the voltage live.

Okay, so this is what I'm thinking with all your help. Will this get me three of things I've mentioned above?

Name:  Artboard 1.jpg
Views: 1505
Size:  20.1 KB

Again, thank you so much for all your help. I've learned much from all your responses.
 
  #24  
Old 07-02-17, 12:24 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,583
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
Electrically what we have been saying all along and will work but what we said was:

Name:  Artboard 1.jpg
Views: 1003
Size:  21.5 KB

Notes: You don't need to use tape with wire nuts. Ditch the tape shown in your picture. As mentioned earlier you may need a deeper junction box to meet code.

Look at the picture in my post #11. It is just the same.

Attachment 82388
 
  #25  
Old 07-02-17, 02:00 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 959
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Okay, tried what Ray2047 suggested in the diagram and it's not working. The existing chain pull light fixture still works but the existing receptacle as well as the new one measured .647v on the multimeter. It's not working.
 
  #26  
Old 07-02-17, 02:07 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,583
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
Redo the wire nuts. You are using the screws not the backstabs for the pigtails connection to the receptacle aren't you? Post a clear picture showing your current connections at the receptacle.
 
  #27  
Old 07-02-17, 04:48 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 15,218
Received 103 Votes on 89 Posts
Between what two points are you measuring voltage?
 
  #28  
Old 07-02-17, 05:53 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 959
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
This is exactly what I have.
[ATTACH=CONFIG]82583[/ATTACH]
 
Attached Images  
  #29  
Old 07-02-17, 06:16 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,583
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
Disconnect the black and white of the cable you believe to be power in (hot) and measure between the black and white with a multimeter. (A non contact tester won't work.) If no voltage reading or less than 100v measure black to ground of the power in cable.
 
  #30  
Old 07-02-17, 08:56 PM
L
Member
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 1,550
Received 92 Votes on 80 Posts
Have to find out how the cable between outlet in question and pull chain light is wired and how the cable between outlet in question and outlet from the other room is wired.
I believe the pull chain light has it's own power source and outlet in the other room also has it's own power source if it is working as wired.
There is no way pull chain light is getting power from this outlet junction box and there is no way outlet in the other room is getting power from this junction box. Cables in between just don't make sense.


Don't assume anything. Find out what is connected where and how first.
 
  #31  
Old 07-02-17, 11:07 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 959
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Between what two points are you measuring voltage?
I'm measuring the current outlet as well as the new receptacle outlet and it's both .647v. Other working outlets in the house I measured shows 120v.
 
  #32  
Old 07-02-17, 11:31 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,583
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
and it's both .647v.
That's an error caused by using a digital meter. It's really 0 volts.

As I previously wroteisconnect the black and white of the cable you believe to be power in (hot) and measure between the black and white with a multimeter. (A non contact tester won't work.) If no voltage reading or less than 100v measure black to ground of the power in cable. You may have made a wrong assumption.

Name:  82548d1499019690-how-do-tap-into-power-receptacle-artboard-1.jpg
Views: 1991
Size:  28.2 KB

Did the receptacle ever work?
I tested with a non-contact voltage tester and it shows there are power in this receptacle.
Proves nothing. Non contact testers often give false positives.

And this makes no sense:
Name:  receptacle.jpg
Views: 941
Size:  21.5 KB
Sure that can mean a switch loop but that seems unlikely unless someone tried replacing a switch with a receptacle.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 07-03-17 at 03:26 AM.
  #33  
Old 07-04-17, 12:10 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 959
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Okay, finally I got a chance to measure the wires. My assumption is wrong. The romex cables from the existing chain pull light fixture is the source of power. The cable wires are also 14awg instead of 12awg as I initially thought.

Okay, so what would my wiring look like?
 
  #34  
Old 07-04-17, 02:05 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 959
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
And here's the light switch wiring. I found a romex cable that goes directly to the breaker in this light switch.
Name:  light-switch-labled-optimized.jpg
Views: 997
Size:  49.4 KB
 
  #35  
Old 07-04-17, 02:21 PM
L
Member
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 1,550
Received 92 Votes on 80 Posts
It is hard to see which wire goes where, but it appears all blacks are tied together and all whites are tied together.
If that is correct, you should get 120V from cable coming from the pull chain light.

Connecting that black and white wires to an outlet (and also connect additional outlets to them), should get you a working outlet.
If it doesn't, remove wirenuts at the light and see if there are any bad connections. It is possible you have a bad connection, which happens quiet often if ends were not cut even before putting a wirenut.


Also find out how the cable running between the outlet in question and outlet in the other room. If that cable was supplying power to the outlet in the other room, that outlet won't be working as connected.
If it was working, and something isn't right.
 
  #36  
Old 07-04-17, 04:47 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 959
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
It is hard to see which wire goes where, but it appears all blacks are tied together and all whites are tied together.
If that is correct, you should get 120V from cable coming from the pull chain light.
Yes, all white wires are tied together and all black wires are tied together on the light fixture. I measured the romex cable that comes out of this light fixture and it does measure 120v (hovering around 118v on my multimeter). And if this is case, then what is wrong with my wiring here?
[ATTACH=CONFIG]82706[/ATTACH]
 
Attached Images  
  #37  
Old 07-04-17, 04:51 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 959
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
As I previously wrote is connect the black and white of the cable you believe to be power in (hot) and measure between the black and white with a multimeter.
I measured the white and black on this and it shows zero.
If no voltage reading or less than 100v measure black to ground of the power in cable. You may have made a wrong assumption.
The black and ground also shows zero. However, the black and white from the light fixture shows 118v.
[ATTACH=CONFIG]82710[/ATTACH]
 
Attached Images  
  #38  
Old 07-04-17, 07:15 PM
L
Member
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 1,550
Received 92 Votes on 80 Posts
Did you check under the wire nut and see if there is any loose wire?
Are you 100% sure that you are following the correct cable?
If so, your cable must been cut/damaged somewhere. Might be easier to pull new cable if the wall is open since repairing the cable will require 1 (if you have enough slack) or 2 additional junction boxes.
 
  #39  
Old 07-05-17, 06:34 AM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 959
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Did you check under the wire nut and see if there is any loose wire?
Are you 100% sure that you are following the correct cable?
If so, your cable must been cut/damaged somewhere. Might be easier to pull new cable if the wall is open since repairing the cable will require 1 (if you have enough slack) or 2 additional junction boxes.
I will double check for loose wiring but let's assume that there is no problem with the wires, is there anything wrong with this wiring below because do I get about 118v from the light fixture romex cable?

[ATTACH=CONFIG]82754[/ATTACH]
 
Attached Images  
  #40  
Old 07-05-17, 07:46 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,583
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
The connections are correct if you have a power in cable. If none of the cables when disconnected read 120 volts 10% then there is a problem.

To check if a cable goes where you think it does and is good:
  • Turn off the breaker.
  • Disconnect on both ends what you believe to be a continuous cable between two boxes.
  • Connect black to white of that cable with a wire nut at one end.
  • At the other end using a multimeter set to ohms check for continuity between black and white.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: