14-3 Romex at switch and at ceiling light

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Old 05-07-17, 07:52 PM
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14-3 Romex at switch and at ceiling light

Thanks in advance for the help. I'm sure this is a simple solution but just something I want to get a second opinion on. I replaced a light fixture in a bedroom. The receptacle box for the ceilng light was wired with a single 14-3 romex, set up for a ceiling fan I guess, but no fan present. I also installed a single pole switch at the switch. At the switch, there is only a single cable of 14-3 romex also. At the ceiling fixture, I connected ground to ground, white to white and black to black, capped Red in the box. At the switch I also capped Red in the box and attached white and black on the switch on the two copper screws.

Switch works as it should and light functions properly, on and off. Here's what is causing me to second guess though. I opened the switch junciton box and when I flip the switch, my non-contact tester is reading hot on both the red and the black wire, even though the red is capped at both ends. Did I do this correctly?

This is the only switch that controls the light source. I did not test voltage on the red wire in the ceiling box.
 
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Old 05-07-17, 08:03 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

A three wire cable only at the fan and a three wire cable only at the switch... are you sure ?
There would usually be an additional two wire cable at one end for power.
 
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Old 05-08-17, 03:45 AM
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That is what is throwing me for a loop. The house has a mix of old cloth wiring and romex, this is the only light fixture strung up like this using Romex, the rest of the house's fixtures use simple cloth two wire set up. Here's my guess and tell me if it makes any sense...There is a power source connected in another junction box, possibly in the attic, with one string of 14-3 going to the switch and one 14-3 going to the fixture. The power source is cloth 2-wire and it pigtailed the hot with the red and the black and used the switch to complete the circuit?
 
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Old 05-08-17, 04:14 AM
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Also here is another piece of info, not sure if it is relevant. Before I made my changes, there was a fan switch at the switch box. It had an adjustable fan speed lever and an on/off toggle for the light. The fan speed lever did nothing but the on/off toggle worked the light. I didn't record the wiring for the fan switch in terms of which was hooked up to black or red.
 
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Old 05-08-17, 04:20 AM
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Here's my guess and tell me if it makes any sense...There is a power source connected in another junction box
Yes, makes sense. In fact there is currently on the board another thread where that is the case.

Of course if it was connected recently to an ungrounded cable it is not code compliant because ungrounded cables can't be extended. Might be better to wire from scratch from the breaker box.
 
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Old 05-08-17, 04:51 AM
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Ive owned the house for about 4 years and that was the wiring set up since I've owned it. Is there any way under the current set up, assuming that we are guessing correctly, to make this compliant without running wire to the box? My plan was to cap red wires at the switch, at the fixture and at the power source, so essentially you'd have a dummy wire
 
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Old 05-08-17, 07:37 AM
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Running a separate ground wire is allowed. If you are under latest code you don't need to come from the breaker panel just the nearest good EGC (example: grounded receptacle or light).
My plan was to cap red wires at the switch, at the fixture and at the power source, so essentially you'd have a dummy wire
Grounds smaller than #4 must be factory bare or green. The red can't be used.
 
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Old 05-08-17, 08:59 PM
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Thanks Ray, for the advice. I might not have spoken properly with what I meant to say in regards to the red wire and my plans for it, sorry for the confusion. I wasn't trying to use the red for a ground, just cap it and leave it in the box.


Regardless, I enlisted the services of an electrician today and he helped me make sense of the wiring situation. From my understanding of the situation, there is a junction box in the attic that feeds the ceiling fixture. It is sourced by a grounded cable running from the breaker box and then sends the 14-3 to the ceiling fixture and then another 14-3 "switch loop" to the switch. Also, it turns out that I was getting a false hot reading when I tested the red wire after capping it in the box. The electrician meter tested the red wire after we capped it at the switch and determined it was not energized. He said my non-contact was likely picking up residual energy from the black wire.

Long story short, I'm glad I spent the money to have a pro look over the work.
 
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Old 05-08-17, 09:48 PM
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Non contact testers should never be used for real testing as you have now learned. Thanks for letting us know you got it fixed.
 
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