3 White, 2 Reds, 1 Green

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  #1  
Old 06-24-00, 08:35 PM
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Red face

I'm replacing outlets (for decoration, no problems)and ran into something I haven't seen before. I flipped the breakers, checked the circuit and unscrewed the outlet. Everything is going normally until I notice three white wires on the silver side On the back of the outlet, there are two plug holes at each screw and one had a wire in each hole. When I was releasing those two whites, one sparked. Naturally I stopped, move the wires apart wrote you! What now? Am I just missing a pigtail? Thanks for your help.
 
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  #2  
Old 06-24-00, 10:01 PM
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Is half of this outlet controlled by a switch? If so, then it is on 2 different circuits. You'll need to turn off the second circuit to kill all of the voltage and the neutrals to the outlet.
 
  #3  
Old 06-25-00, 07:07 AM
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Sorry, I did look for a switch; that was my first thought. I tried each one in three rooms and in all positions the circuit tester still glowed. Today I checked each circuit breaker and found the one that controls that wire. And that wire is the only thing that seems to be connected to that circuit breaker. Nothing else seemed to go off. The outlet is in the dining room wall and doesn't need to be switched. But perhaps the wisest solution is to just go get a switched outlet so it can be wired as was and I won't have problems from the "lost" switch.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by lefty:
Is half of this outlet controlled by a switch? If so, then it is on 2 different circuits. You'll need to turn off the second circuit to kill all of the voltage and the neutrals to the outlet.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

 
  #4  
Old 06-25-00, 10:25 AM
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Finicky,

A pigtail would have prevented the load spark you saw. But your situation is that of a shared neutral. Two circuits sharing the same neutral. You had turned the power to that outlet off, but the power to the other circuit was still on and carrying a load, therefore the arc (spark).
This to normal and acceptable wiring, but a pigtail would have been a better way when more than one wire is tied to a receptacle or any device.
 
  #5  
Old 06-25-00, 03:16 PM
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Talking

Thank You David!
One pigtail installed and everything is working fine!

Katie
 
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