Outlet Problem

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Old 12-17-20, 04:56 PM
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Outlet Problem

At another house, newly occupied....an outlet reads hot & ground reverse. So meaning open neutral I understand. The Thing is the outlet has only a 14-3 cable, red,white and black wires, attached to it. The red and white are on, if I remember correct, the hot side of outlet, and the white on the neutral side.

I only get actual voltage between the ground and one of the outlet sides. Anyway my thought is that since it's just a 14-3 cable attached...is that someone screwed up and a three way switch was supposed to go there, not an outlet. Does this seem a good place to start exploring? Thanks in advance!
 
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Old 12-17-20, 05:22 PM
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Does this seem a good place to start exploring?
Exploring for what ?

14/3 is found in receptacle boxes. It could mean two circuits or it could mean one receptacle is always live and one is switched. Look at the receptacle on the brass side..... is the tab removed between the two screw terminals. A removed tab could indicate one half switched. Doubtful your neutral problem is there as the white wire is on the receptacle.
 
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Old 12-17-20, 07:56 PM
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Well...explore a solution, but I don't understand...yet.

But I am understood that 14-3 is found in outlet boxes. And For clarity, it's actually not just a single outlet box, it's a 2 gang box with a wall switch on a separate circuit to the right of the bogus outlet. And the outlet has no split tabs...I know how 14-3 can go there for other location outlet switching.

Perhaps just my take on it, but it seems uncanny to have a single 14-3 cable, with no other box connections to it, configured on an wall outlet at switch height.

Since I don't know yet, my track right now is trying to understand how/where I am measuring 120v from across one outlet side and ground.....That is IF it's really a 3 way switch thing by mistake.

So I wrote this picture up trying to figure it out. I can see where neutral may be gotten, but not a potential for hot. Switching elsewhere would theoretically do it, but switch position matters not from other locations.

Hope this makes sense.Thanks....!


 
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Old 12-18-20, 06:20 AM
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Hi, I think you should post some pics of what you have, drawing makes no sense, what does the M in the circle represent?
Geo 🇺🇸
 
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Old 12-18-20, 09:19 AM
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OK I hope this clarifies it.

I'm trying to picture that a 3 way switch was really supposed to be where this bad outlet is installed, and trouble shoot based on that.....and if so.... where would I have gotten the 120v that I had mentioned in the first post I described....with switch position not mattering.


 
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Old 12-18-20, 06:25 PM
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1st pic here is the outlet.

The 2nd pic is what we decided to do, after wire nutting the red and black together, to satisfy the rental inspector for now.--since we're stumped.

Still I am open to suggestions for solution.






 
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Old 12-18-20, 07:14 PM
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Do you have any idea where the cable goes? The way it's wired is really odd.

Can you use a neon tester or multimeter to take a reading between all three wires? Do the readings change when you flip any nearby 3-way switches?

My only guess is that it is in fact supposed to be a 3-way switch. Someone mistakenly thought they could convert it to a receptacle (it can't be), so ended up wiring it to basically allow the other switch to work.

There's nothing that can be done with those wires other than a switch. You can't get 120v at that location with the current wiring (assuming it was a switch).
 
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Old 12-19-20, 05:41 AM
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What did you gain by wire nutting the red and black together?
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Old 12-19-20, 08:45 AM
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Typo Geo...I put the red and white together, not the red and black....as the red and white were already connected via the tab on the hot side of the outlet. So no change from the outlet wiring per se...
 
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Old 12-20-20, 06:10 AM
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While it is possible that there was a switch there and someone replaced the switch with a duplex receptacle, we must not rule out that he did not also do somehing at the other end of that cable to make the receptacle work (and in the next few years a loose connection occurred so it does not work today).

You might want to get one of those two piece circuit tracing kits. You clip one component (often called a toner) to a wire end and use the other (hand held) component (with speaker or indicator light) like a stud finder and trace along the wall surface to find out where the cable goes..

By the way, with neither tab broken (and no broken part or loose connection inside the receptacle due to rough plugging and unplugging) both halves of the receptacle will behave the same way.
 
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Old 12-20-20, 10:04 AM
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What happens when you open the red and white wires ?
Something elsewhere should go dead.

What happens when you plug a table light into that receptacle ?
 
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Old 12-20-20, 06:48 PM
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Thanks guys!

Allan...where do I find a good circuit trace kit for the future? Preferably with instructions to use it effectively....

PJ...Nothing happens plugging anything in. And Though I'd love to explore this until a solution, it's just going to stay with a dead face plate for now because it's a rental on a lower fix it priority.
 
 

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