please help red black wire in switch box

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Old 07-21-09, 06:25 PM
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please help red black wire in switch box

hi i am installing a bath exhaust fan in my bathroom and when i took apart the the switch i for the light i found there to be only one red wire and one black wire ..the red was tied into bottom of light switch and the black one was tied into the top....my plan was to put in a double switch so i could control the fan seperatly....is this even possible to do with this type of wiring........if it matters any the light itself has two wires ran into the box the black wire is nutted together with the red wire from wire two and then the red wire left over is tied to white of light fixture and the other black wire is tied to black wires on light fixture....lastly there is a single white wire that comes in the bottom of the box by itself that is jus grounded to the box
 
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Old 07-21-09, 06:41 PM
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You are in the US aren't you? Some of the wiring sounds wrong.
lastly there is a single white wire that comes in the bottom of the box by itself that is jus grounded to the box
This is never correct. Do you have any bare or green wires in either box?
one red wire and one black wire ..the red was tied into bottom of light switch and the black one was tied into the top
Not necessarily wrong but not usual.
he light itself has two wires ran into the box the black wire is nutted together with the red wire from wire two and then the red wire left over is tied to white of light fixture
It almost sounds like they are using the ground in the switch box as neutral, This is wrong and potentially dangerous.
and the other black wire is tied to black wires on light fixture.
That might be right but there are so many other things wrong it may be best to disconnect every thing and go from scratch. First is this cable or conduit? We will go from there.
 
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Old 07-21-09, 06:42 PM
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Ray was too fast for me
Bud
 
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Old 07-21-09, 07:18 PM
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ok yes i am in the us and no there is no bare ground wires all the wires ran are two wires which consist of a black and red wire only it is a fusable electrical panal with only 4 fuses the fuse that this is on also controls diff lights and recepticles like the fridge one and the a/c is also off this same circuit.....the two wires come from the attic into the box for the light one of those wires must be constant power and the other wire just runs to the bathroom switch so the 1st wire has the black tied to the red from 2nd wire which runs to the light switch and ties into bottom screw....and the red from the first wire ties to white on light fixture and the black from the light fixture ties to the black wire on wire 2 which is tied to the screw on top of light switch
 
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Old 07-21-09, 07:42 PM
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You really haven't said if it is conduit or cable. We need to know that. Conduit looks like pipe. Cable is a group of wires in a metallic or non metallic sheath. There is a third type knob and tube. Are the wires covered with cloth not shiny plastic?
it is a fusable electrical panal with only 4 fuses the fuse that this is on also controls diff lights and receptacles like the fridge one and the a/c is also off this same circuit....
You already have to many things on the circuit. For many reasons you need to run a new circuit but if the fuse panel is all you have you can't. In fact my suggestion would be a new main panel if all you have is the fuse box and if other wiring is similar a total rewire of the house.

I'm not trying to discourage you but the situation you describe is scary.
 
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Old 07-21-09, 07:46 PM
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they are cloth covered wires no conduit what so ever
 
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Old 07-21-09, 07:57 PM
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At the very least you need to run new cable to the bathroom. What you have is not safe to use because there is no neutral.
 
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Old 07-21-09, 08:25 PM
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You have our interest. Now, just so we can get a clear picture in our old minds as to what you have, would it be possible for you to take pictures of the switch box and the light box and post them on a site such as photobucket.com? You can copy/paste the HTML code to your reply to us. That way we can see what you are looking at. To answer your question, I doubt you will be able to do what you want until you rewire it totally from the panel with NM-B cable.
While you are at it, look on the next to bottom line of keys on your keyboard. You will find the "period" and next to it, the "shift" key. Sure would help if you used them
 
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Old 07-21-09, 08:41 PM
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a bit confused

from what i can get, this is what i think you got....

switch box and light picture by mikerios - Photobucket
 

Last edited by mikerios; 07-21-09 at 08:57 PM. Reason: photo not showing
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Old 07-21-09, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by mikerios View Post
from what i can get, this is what i think you got....

switch box and light picture by mikerios - Photobucket
I know you were trying but I don't thing that is what the OP was describing. He said there was a white to ground in the switch box that went to the neutral side of the light.. There is no white wire into the neutral box but you show one.
 
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Old 07-21-09, 09:18 PM
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re read OP post

if you re-read his post
he says the left over red is tied to the white wire of the light fixture

....[and then the red wire left over is tied to white of light fixture]

hence why i tried to figure out how it was wired.. and that why i am confused...

so i figured if he could comment on the drawing i made, he can verify or comment on how it actually is..
 
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Old 07-21-09, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by mikerios View Post
if you re-read his post
he says the left over red is tied to the white wire of the light fixture

....[and then the red wire left over is tied to white of light fixture]

hence why i tried to figure out how it was wired.. and that why i am confused...

so i figured if he could comment on the drawing i made, he can verify or comment on how it actually is..
You are correct and my comment was wrong. Came back to edit but you beat me to it. You had a good idea and hopefully he will post back.

Frankly though I think the only safe way may be to wire from scratch but with only four fuses available for circuits no way to even do that to code. Best we can do is as close to code as possible. No pro though so the pros may have other ideas.
 
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Old 07-21-09, 09:42 PM
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hopefully he will respond with accurate info

i agree on new circuits...
i hate old 4 fuse box panels
as your options are very limited from the get go

if he could pull down a new 14/3 or 12/3 ( depending on his wire size or circuit amp size ) down to the switch box he can make it happen... though i do not know if it would help.. as the last house i worked on with 4 fuse box panel, had no ground what so ever, no ground rod, and it was only a 2 wire system on the meter ( hot and a nuetral, no second leg ). I ended up replacing the panel with a new one, and the power company brought in the 2nd leg. I ran a ground rod ( water lines had been patched in with PVC sprinkler lines over the years so there was no bonding to the water supply ) and grounded the service there.

to bad it's not in a bedroom with a ceiling fan
as Lutron make a neat fan module that works on 14/2 ( or 12/2 ), so no 3rd wire necessary, with dimmable lighting and fan control from one switch, kinda pricey at 50 bucks, but I am a big fan of Lutron switches and other stuff they make.
 
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Old 07-21-09, 11:02 PM
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I have a question to ask here what else is on that circuit ?

And it may possiblity that the OP have T&K system in there if that the case the code do not allowed to extended the T&K without grounding conductor in there so that is one major issue with the T&K and to make it worse the older K&T the netrual is switched so that is the other item you have to pay attetion to it.

You will have to trace that cable or conductor back to the other junction box and maybe more further backtrack to see where it go and how it connected.

I have a feeling but not confirmed that someone used the DC automovtive conductor colour format { I did see it once a while like that }

And it will be a good time to think about putting new larger service load centre in there the old 60 amp fuse with 4 plug fuses is pretty much done for it { I have see some of them used 30 amp time delay fuse in there it can really heat up smaller conductors }

I do not know what location you are in the state and the price may varies a bit

Typical overhead 100 amp service useally run about 1200 USD { done by electrician } and that the code bare minuim size nowdays

If you have more question just holler one of us will help you with this matter.

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 07-22-09, 05:55 AM
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Marc, a little off topic, but I had the same thing happen when evaluating skill levels of mechanical personnel at a factory once. Set them to simply wire from supply a receptacle, and switch controlled light fixture on a board. One guy did it perfectly, great loom, etc., only with color codes backwards (black for neutral). I asked where he worked in the factory, and he said on forklifts......so go figure. He didn't have AC experience.
 
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Old 07-22-09, 08:06 AM
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Larry.,

Only twice in my bussines as working as Electrician in USA side I ran into UK colour format as well.

Old colour format
Black - Netural
Red - Active { live or hot }

Modern colour code

Bleu - Netural
Brown - Active { some case it will have Grey or Black as active conductor as well }

That colour is from UK side which I dealt pretty often when I am staying in France

And just once I got one house wired in UK fashon a ring circuit format now that is instering to see and in fact it is illegal in USA and France but in UK it used be popuar but slowly dropped out of flavor and If I did catch the new UK reguation do not allow new ring circuit anymore.

Sorry to get off topic a bit here.

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 07-22-09, 08:56 AM
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And what troubles me is that he seems to be pulling the neutral from a ground to a metal box. True K&T the box shouldn't be grounded. Also he has no trouble seeing the colors of the wires. Usually you'd expect more fading of the colors. Almost thinking BX except he says no cables. Guess the switch box could be grounded to a water pipe.
 
 

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