Switched outlet to constant

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Old 01-26-12, 01:59 AM
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Switched outlet to constant

This is my first time working with electricity by myself so I will be needing some help. What I am trying to do is change my switched outlet to constant power and add a ceiling fan with no previous fixture. I either want to switch the switch with a combo light/fan control (preferred) or change to a 2 gang box and use 2 switches ( one for light and one for fan).

The pictures are below:

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ImageShack® - Online Photo and Video Hosting Switch

The switch you see controls the whole outlet. The pictures of the switch are bad but there is two romax wires in there (black & white coverings).

If you know of a video that I could not find with my similiar problem, please post it for me so that I may have a visual.
 
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Old 01-26-12, 02:15 AM
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If you could use the search function you can probably find the answers you need. I am off to work and really don't have the time for all the details.
 
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Old 01-26-12, 06:36 AM
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Easiest would be to redo the receptacle box and run the fan from there. Do you have an unfinished attic above to run cables in?
 
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Old 01-26-12, 12:57 PM
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The attic is unfinished, but their is plywood that covers the entire attic that is not nailed down. Because there is floor down, the attic is filled. I only have access behind the wall of the switch and the outlet where the one white romax wire is fished down to the switch. I am not sure where the outlet romax wires are run to, so I am unsure how to rewire the receptacle. If it matters, there is 2 boxes in my attic with white and black romax wires led into it.
 
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Old 01-26-12, 01:43 PM
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You are really going to need to move some of that plywood. You need to get to the wall where the receptacle is to drop a cable to it and run the cable to where you want the fan.
 
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Old 01-26-12, 01:55 PM
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If I was to run a 14-2 Romax cable (14-2 is for 15 amp right?) from my outlet wont that mean the switch will both control the fan and the outlet? Three romax cables is max for the picture of the outlet in my first post?
 
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Old 01-26-12, 03:19 PM
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from my outlet wont that mean the switch will both control the fan and the outlet?
OK. I looked again at the pictures of the switch. I'm not sure but there seems to be more wires then I can see in the picture. Is there two cables at the switch. A 3-conductor (white, red, black) and a 2-conductor cable (black, white)?
 
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Old 01-27-12, 12:12 PM
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Sorry for being so long in my reply. My circuit breaker box is not labeled so I did not know what breaker is which. I turned the main off today so I am able to take a closer look. The black Romax cable is a 3-conductor (black, red, and white) with a ground. The white Romax cable is a 2-conductor (black and white) with a ground. The switch only has a hot wire, but the red conductor from the black Romax cable is connected.

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Old 01-27-12, 01:34 PM
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Okay so I'm clear at the switch you have a 2-conductor cable and a 3-conductor cable correct?

At the switch:
You have the red from 3-conductor cable to one side of the switch.

You have the black of the 2-conductor cable to the other side of the switch, correct?

All whites are connected together, correct?
 
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Old 01-27-12, 01:51 PM
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At the switch:
You have the red from 3-conductor cable to one side of the switch.
Correct

You have the black of the 2-conductor cable to the other side of the switch, correct?
The switch has its own black conductor, which is wire nutted to both the 3-conductor and 2-conductor.

All whites are connected together, correct
Correct

There is also 4 ground, 3 are wire nutted together, and one is connected to the box.
 
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Old 01-27-12, 02:50 PM
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Your electrical box should be connected to the bare wire in the box. You should be able to connect it with a 10-32 screw in the tapped hole in the back.

Can you tell us the box depth? Box capacity may be exceeded by adding another cable to the switch box.
 
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Old 01-27-12, 02:51 PM
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Good. You can either run the cable for the fan to the receptacle or the switch, whichever is easier. Let me know which one.

Everything I have seen indicates the the two conductor cable at the switch is your power in. My guide to doing this will be based on that assumption unless you prove me wrong. You can confirm the 2-conductor cable at the switch is the hot by disconnecting it and checking it with a multimeter or a test light but not a non-contact tester.
 
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Old 01-27-12, 05:12 PM
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Can you tell us the box depth? Box capacity may be exceeded by adding another cable to the switch box.
2x3 and 3 inches depth

Good. You can either run the cable for the fan to the receptacle or the switch, whichever is easier. Let me know which one.
I want to run it from the switch because I want the outlet to costantly be hot and the switch to control the fan and the fan speed only.

You can confirm the 2-conductor cable at the switch is the hot by disconnecting it and checking it with a multimeter or a test light but not a non-contact tester.
To confirm the procedure with testing the 2-conductor romax cable I would turn the breaker off then remove the wire nut from the three black wires and sepperate them. After i was done sepperating the wires, would i proceed to turn the breaker back on or use the multimeter? Also would I then use the multimeter's red tester on the black wire of the 2-conductor and the multimeter's black tester on any ground wire?
 
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Old 01-27-12, 06:02 PM
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A box 3x2, 2 3/4 can hold 7 #14s. Right now you have a 14-2, a 14-3 and a switch.

2 + 3+2+1 for ground and 1 for the clamp =9. You need to replace the box with a deeper box before you add another cable to it. You would need a 20 cubic inch plastic box minimum.
 
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Old 01-27-12, 06:02 PM
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Maul514 replied:
I want to run it from the switch because I want the outlet to costantly be hot and the switch to control the fan and the fan speed only.
That can be done from either box.

PCBoss asked:
Can you tell us the box depth? Box capacity may be exceeded by adding another cable to the switch box.
PCBoss I was going to suggest he cut the box out to fish a new cable then replace it with a deep old work box.

Maul514 Asked:
To confirm the procedure with testing the 2-conductor romax cable I would turn the breaker off then remove the wire nut from the three black wires and sepperate them.
Yes

Maul514 Asked:
After i was done sepperating the wires, would i proceed to turn the breaker back on or use the multimeter?
Yes, and set the volt meter to a scale of approximately 300 volts.

Maul514 Asked:
would I then use the multimeter's red tester on the black wire of the 2-conductor and the multimeter's black tester on any ground wire?
Which probe does not matter on AC. I'd go from black to neutral bundle (white) but ground would work.
 
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Old 01-27-12, 06:36 PM
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In a previous post I mentioned that my circuit breaker box was not labeled. So I decided to test which breaker does what and I found out that the breaker that I am adding the fan too controls three bedrooms, my staircase, the hallway, the downstairs bathroom, garage, utility room, outside lights, and a ceiling fan. I belive that the breaker is already overloaded. I am not sure what my next step should be unless I use one of three empty breakers in my circuit breaker and wallfish a 12-2 Romax wire to my attic and run it into a junction box. If you know of a alternative solution, please let me know.
 
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Old 01-27-12, 07:36 PM
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A new circuit is a good idea. You could still just use the existing switch box and power the existing receptacle from the new circuit or the existing circuit.

As I wrote before you will want to pull the existing switch box so you can easily pull the new cable with out disturbing the Sheetrock. Installing an old work deep box should give you enough room either way.
 
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Old 01-27-12, 09:08 PM
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I appreciate your help so far, but I am going to need a couple days to clean the areas that need to have Romax wire ran through. After i run the romax to my attic, I will look for a video explaining how to actually hook the wires up to the breaker box. Hopefully ill have it dont within a week.
 
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Old 01-28-12, 05:07 AM
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You really should not need a video. You can look at how the existing cables enter the panel. Stay away from the large wires and connections. They are typically hot all the time and cannot be turned off.
 
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Old 01-30-12, 01:10 PM
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I was about to buy a Romex wire and found out I do not know what to get.

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This picture shows the breaker that controls the switch and outlet we were talking about in all the previous posts. It looks like someone already connected a second Romex wire to it. This breaker is 20 amps which requires a 12-2 wire. I have a 15 amp breaker I was gonna use to tie three celing fans to.

A new circuit is a good idea. You could still just use the existing switch box and power the existing receptacle from the new circuit or the existing circuit
Since I was going to use the 15 amp breaker for my fans, would I have to remove power from the existing receptacle and then run the 14-2 Romex wire to it?

Whichevery gauge wire I use, does it matter what screw I connect the neutral and ground wires to on the bus bar?Could i use both the ground and neutral on the same screw?
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Old 01-30-12, 02:32 PM
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This picture shows the breaker that controls the switch and outlet we were talking about in all the previous posts. It looks like someone already connected a second Romex wire to it
That is a code violation. You can either connect both wires to a pigtail and the pigtail to the breaker or add a breaker for one of the wires.

I would go with the second suggestion since it would reduce the load on the circuit you are going to use for the fan. In all probability you wouldn't need to run a new cable for the fan.

Since I was going to use the 15 amp breaker for my fans, would I have to remove power from the existing receptacle and then run the 14-2 Romex wire to it?
It now appears you won't need to run new cable just switch one wire to a new breaker.

Whichevery gauge wire I use, does it matter what screw I connect the neutral and ground wires to on the bus bar?
Moot point since you are going to use an existing cable but no it doesn't matter. Your second picture shows code violations.You can not have two neutrals or a neutral and ground under the same screw. You can have two grounds but that is it. It looks like you may need to add a ground bar to the panel and move some of the grounds there.

does it matter what screw I connect the neutral and ground wires to on the bus bar?
If this is the main panel no. If it is a subpanel wired to modern code yes. If there is no breaker ahead of this panel it is a main panel.

Can you give us a picture of your full panel with the front cover removed. We need to see if you have space for another breaker.
 
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Old 01-30-12, 04:03 PM
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This is a picure of the entire box.

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This picture is the bottom of the box show what I think is room for more breakers.
 
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Old 01-31-12, 08:37 AM
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I am not that familiar with a Push-matic panel to tell if you can add another breaker. The wiring diagram may be able to clear this up.
 
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Old 01-31-12, 02:09 PM
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I found out that two of my free breakers were both dead, thats why there were two hots on the same breaker. I replaced it and sepperated the hots to its own breaker. So now I have a 20 amp breaker with only three rooms on it, should be plenty of room to add 3 ceiling fans to each of the rooms.

Back to what ray2047 said:
Everything I have seen indicates the the two conductor cable at the switch is your power in. My guide to doing this will be based on that assumption unless you prove me wrong. You can confirm the 2-conductor cable at the switch is the hot by disconnecting it and checking it with a multimeter or a test light but not a non-contact tester.
I will have this done in about an hour or so to confirm the power in.
 
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Old 02-02-12, 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Good. You can either run the cable for the fan to the receptacle or the switch, whichever is easier. Let me know which one.

Everything I have seen indicates the the two conductor cable at the switch is your power in. My guide to doing this will be based on that assumption unless you prove me wrong. You can confirm the 2-conductor cable at the switch is the hot by disconnecting it and checking it with a multimeter or a test light but not a non-contact tester.
I finally just had a chance to test both the 2-conductor and the 3-conductor. It was actually the 3-conductor black wire that was only hot after disconnecting the wires.
 
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Old 02-02-12, 05:05 AM
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It was actually the 3-conductor black wire that was only hot after disconnecting the wires.
The black was hot to which wire of which cable?
 
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Old 02-02-12, 05:19 AM
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The black was hot to which wire of which cable?
I am not entirely sure what you mean. I put probe on the black hot wire that came from the 3-conductor (Black+White+Red+Ground) and I put the other probe on any neutral wire (not sure which one).
 
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Old 02-02-12, 07:36 AM
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What I'm trying to determine with my questions is if the cable that brings power to the circuit comes in at the switch or receptacle. Mark the connections at the receptacle so you can reconnect them the same way then take them apart. My guess is that the white cable (2-conductor cable on the right side of the picture) is the "hot" cable. Check with your meter between the black wire and white wire of the white cable.
 
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Old 02-02-12, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
What I'm trying to determine with my questions is if the cable that brings power to the circuit comes in at the switch or receptacle. Mark the connections at the receptacle so you can reconnect them the same way then take them apart. My guess is that the white cable (2-conductor cable on the right side of the picture) is the "hot" cable. Check with your meter between the black wire and white wire of the white cable.
In the switch, the live wire is the 3-conductor as I said before.
But in the receptacle, you were correct that the white Romex cable is the hot. With the probes, I touched both hot and neutral of the white Romex cable and got 120-120.1V.

Hopefully, I have answered your question correctly this time.
 
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Old 02-02-12, 01:10 PM
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OK back on track. Just let me know if you want to run the fan off the switch box or the receptacle box. Either way we can have receptacle always hot and the fan controlled by the switch. The fan will need a light to meet building code when the receptacle is no longer switched. If you want the fan and the fan's light on separate switches your switch cable should be 3-conductor.
 
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Old 02-02-12, 01:38 PM
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I would like to do the easiest possible way of making a constant hot plug and changing my single pole switch to something similiar to these links.

Decora 15-Amp White Single-Pole AC Quiet Switch-R72-05601-2WS at The Home Depot I would use this for to turn the fan on and off and control the speeds by chain.

Maestro White Companion Dimmer-MA-R-WH at The Home Depot This would naturally be the dimmer for the light

Again, I would get something similiar to this.
 
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Old 02-02-12, 03:23 PM
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If you used a dimmer for the light the fan would need to be on a separate switch so easiest is to just use the switch in your first link.

You are going to need to replace the new work box with an old work box and the Sheetrock is so chewed up below both boxes I'm not sure how well an old work box will hold. I would suggest before cutting out the existing box you buy an old work box and hold it up to the switch opening to make sure it will work. If the opening is to big top to bottom we will have to explore other options.

Instructions:
At the Switch:
Disconnect all wires at the switch box. Cut the nails holding the box with a Sawzall or hacksaw blade with one end wrapped in duct tape to make a handle. Be careful that you don't loose the wires in the wall.

Drop your new fan cable into the wall and grab using the hole where the box was to access it.

Feed the new cable and existing cables in to a deep old work box and insert the box into the wall and lock in place.

Cap the red cable. It is not used.

Connect all white wires together.

Connect the preexisting 2-conductor cable black wire and the three conductor black wire to a pigtail. Connect the pigtail to one side of the switch.

Connect the black of the cable from the fan to the other side of the switch.

Changes at the receptacle:

Remove the red wire and cap. It is not used.

White wires remain connected to the receptacle's silver screws.

All blacks connected together and pigtailed to the brass side of the receptacle.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 02-02-12 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 02-02-12, 03:57 PM
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I am extremely sorry, I should have been more specific before you typed up a guide. I am not the owner of the house, and the only way work would be allowed to be done is if a double switch is placed on the wall, one for the dimmer and one for the fan. What I meant to say was what would be the easier way to run a cable to the fan from either the switch or receptacle. The owner wants a dimmer on the left and a fan on/off to the right of the dimmer.

If you want the fan and the fan's light on separate switches your switch cable should be 3-conductor.
This is exactly what I want. If I do need a 3-conductor cable, would i buy a 12-3 Romex Cable?

I got a old gang box (20 cu. in.) and a new outlet for the receptacle.
When i use the new dimmer and fan on/off, what size (cu. in.) double gang box should i get for the switch? If i need to, I can always put a new piece of sheetrock up to fit the old gang boxes.
 
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Old 02-02-12, 04:06 PM
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I'm sorry but it is the policy of this forum not to advise a renter who is not a licensed electrician to do this kind of work even with permission from the owner. There are liability issues for the renter, permits may need to be applied for, and there may even be local ordnances prohibiting you from doing the work.

For educational purposes only:
If I do need a 3-conductor cable, would i buy a 12-2 Romex Cable
No. 12-3 but as I said you need to have an electrician do it. He will make his own choices of materials and provide them for the job.
 
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Old 02-02-12, 04:17 PM
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I am not a renter, I live with the owner and were both working on it. He read what you wrote and said thats not what he wanted. He prefers a double. Not sure if this makes a difference. It would be like me living with my parents and I am helping them do it.
 
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Old 02-02-12, 05:50 PM
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Same instructions for the receptacle but at the switch replace the single gang box with a double gang old work box and follow the revised instructions below.

You are going to need to replace the new work box with an old work box and the Sheetrock is so chewed up below both boxes I'm not sure how well an old work box will hold. I would suggest before cutting out the existing box you buy an old work box and hold it up to the switch opening to make sure it will work. If the opening is to big top to bottom we will have to explore other options.

The dimmer you linked to says for multiple locations only. you need a single location dimmer.

At the Switch:
Disconnect all wires at the switch box. Cut the nails holding the box with a Sawzall or hacksaw blade with one end wrapped in duct tape to make a handle. Be careful that you don't loose the wires in the wall.

Drop your new 12-3 fan cable into the wall and grab using the hole where the box was to access it.

Feed the new cable and existing cables in to a double gang old work box, insert the box into the wall and lock in place.

Cap the red wire of the preexisting cable. It is not used.

Connect all white wires together.

Connect the preexisting 2-conductor cable black wire and the preexisting three conductor black wire to two pigtails. Connect one pigtail to one side of the switch and the other pigtail to one side of dimmer.

Connect the black of the cable from the fans to the other side of the switch and the red wire from the fan to the other side of dimmer.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 02-02-12 at 06:12 PM.
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Old 02-04-12, 12:38 AM
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I really appreicate your help ray2047. When you though I was a renter, I did not think you were going to post a revise guide for a dimmer and fan control. So I convinced the owner to just use the single switch for the fan. A picture is below.
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I have not installed the fan at the moment, but I tested the Romex cable that will be used for the fan and it is hot when the switch is on and not hot when the switch is off.

I am having another problem with the outlet though, well not really a problem. It all works, but i had an idea to put an outlet on the wall behind the outlet from the bedroom. I ran the same kind of Romex cable for the outlet and it came out looking like this.
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I was not 100% sure on how to connect the wires to to the outlet that im pulling power from so i wire nutted 4 wires of each color and pigtailed it to the original outlet. Ground on the green terminal, neutral on the silver terminal, and hot on the brass terminal. Below is a picture on how it looks.
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http://img515.imageshack.us/img515/7274/img0617tp.jpg Brass terminal
http://img213.imageshack.us/img213/3719/img0620n.jpg Silver terminal

My question will be is their an easier way to connect these wires to the outlet without having to wirenutt 4 wires together, it is a pain in the butt. Im not sure because there are so many wires nutted together that they might unscrew when i push them in the box.
 

Last edited by maul514; 02-04-12 at 12:54 AM.
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Old 02-04-12, 05:56 AM
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The way you did it is fine but you might want to replace the box with a deep box if it isn't a deep box. However if you mean you fed a new receptacle in the bedroom from the bathroom circuit that is a code violation. If the receptacle is in the bathroom there must also be a receptacle on a dedicated circuit in the bathroom. Also the new receptacle in the bath room must be GFCI receptacle or GFCI protected.

Note: It should be easy to remove the new switch box you installed, fish a 3-conductor cable, and install a double gang box with out disturbing your new mud job.Then you could put in the two switches.
 
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Old 02-04-12, 03:05 PM
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The new outlet I added is on the hallway wall, behind the bedroom outlet two feet to the right. Never touched bathroom receptacles. I showed two pictures of outlets, the finished one being the one I added, and the one with all the wirenuts is the old one. You already said that my eletric job was fine on the open outlet so I will be adding sheetrock with a 20 cubic inch deep box. I will most likely have the fan hooked up by tonight. I will repost with success or not. I really appreciate you helping me ray2047.
 
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Old 02-04-12, 03:47 PM
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Looks like you got a good start on your apprenticeship.
 
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