Too many Wires! Help with new wall outlet

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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote in

"Split receptacle" in NO WAY implies an Edison circuit. It's common to have one half of a duplex receptacle controlled by a wall switch, and the other half unswitched -- with both halves being on the same 120V circuit.
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wrote:
com:

u

ve one half of a

hed -- with both

+1
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On Wed, 3 Apr 2013 11:03:35 +0000 (UTC), Doug Miller

That's not referred to as a "split circuit" or a "split receptacle" around here. It's a half switched receptacle.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote in

"Split receptacle" clearly implies *only* that the two halves of the duplex are independent. It does *not* imply that it's an Edison circuit.
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On Fri, 5 Apr 2013 03:10:12 +0000 (UTC), Doug Miller

Forget your burr about Code and Canada. Common useage both sides of the border by "electricians" - a "split" is on 2 different circuits.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAd5fWAliZw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Po2P-TC9gug
http://www.diychatroom.com/f18/define-split-outlet-why-needed-kitchen-1153/ http://www.ecmag.com/section/codes-standards/using-two-pole-breaker-feed-split-wired-receptacles-break-tabs http://electrical.about.com/od/electricalbasics/a/splitoutletdef.htm - this one (above) meets your definition. http://www.easy-do-it-yourself-home-improvements.com/how-to-wire-a-split-receptacle.html http://www.electrical-online.com/kitchen-split-receptacle-circuits/
Just the first 7 references on Google that did not specifically refer to Canada (like a .ca domain)
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote in

I don't have a "burr about Code and Canada". I have a problem with *you* repeatedly making blanket statements that apply only on your side of the border. Or only in your head.
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wrote:
m:

repeatedly making

your head.
I agree with you. Here in the states a "split receptacle" means only that. That the two receptacles are not connected together. I have a bunch of them in my house. All are on the same circuits. One is switched, the other is not and is live all the time. It also appears that the mystery box in this thread is exactly that too. Why would anyone pull two circuits to do that? Do they actually do that in Canada?
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On 4/5/2013 9:55 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

It's unusual to have them here. I've only seen them a few times, and those have been in commercial settings. We, in the US refer to a split receptacle exactly as you describe. One circuit, half live, half switched. In Canada the use two circuit split receptacles for kitchen receptacles.
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What about an Edison circuit?
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On 4/2/2013 5:44 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

than one breaker. It's not impossible that the red and black wires are on separate circuits. They shouldn't be, but still could be.

You would have a red wire at any switch location that has a feed and return
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On 04/02/2013 04:31 PM, TimR wrote:

Correct, they shouldn't be at all as it sounds like OP has two 14/3 (or other/3) cables in this box with only two white (neutral) wires - only LEGAL explanations for that is that it is a splice in an Edison circuit, a splice in a circuit feeding duplex receps with one half switched (or other mixed switched lighting/unswitched receps circuit) or a splice for a traveler of a 3- or 4-way light switch (in which case, depending on where it is and how it's configured, the white may not be a neutral at all)
I can't think of any other explanations for what the OP is seeing, so if it's wrong, might as well figure it out now and fix it...
nate
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On Tue, 2 Apr 2013 13:07:11 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@mailcity.com wrote:

insulating caps and then turn on the power and use my meter to check -- one-by-one -- any current between the red and white wire.
For the record, you'll be checking voltage (pressure). You won't have any current to speak of until you connect a lightbulb or something between the two.

Again, voltage. That's why you use a VOLTmeter, not an AMmeter. If you try to use an ammeter (one or more of the settings on the multimeter) straight between a hot wire and a neutral or ground, without a lightbulb or something else also in the circuit, you'll burn out that setting of the meter.

Each of these two times that you say current, you mean voltage. Many others make this mistake too. Don't let them influence you.
If there is no voltage, perhaps the breaker for this circuit needs to be turned on. Are any of your breakers in the Off position?
Or the wires were disconnected somewhere, but probably not, since they covered up the wires so nicely. .

The breaker may trip if you try to connect one wire of a multimeter in the ammeter setting to a hot wire, and the second wire to a neutral or ground. But you will use a voltmeter setting becaues you are trying to measure voltage, not current or amps.
And you will use the 2000 volt setting, or 1000, or 250, but whatever you use, it will be more than 240, because if you use a 200 volt setting on the meter with 240 actual volts, you may burn out that portion of your meter. (Expensive and moderately priced meters have over-voltage protection, but I don't suppose anything under 24 dollars has that.)

And perhaps you should also get in the habit of saying AC or DC. Household voltage is Alternating, but the voltage in most parts of a tv or computer is Direct. (Yes, it's Alternating Current and Direct Current, but when they say that, they assume there is current, not someone measuring voltage with no current. If you keep track of whether you're dealling with DC or AC, it will help you choose the right setting on your meter, which is divided between AC and DC. If you use the wrong setting, AC vs. DC you won't burn anything out, but you won't get the correct reading.)
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if in doubt at ALL turn off main breaker to home before doing anything........
then set up to test....
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On Apr 2, 4:07 pm, snipped-for-privacy@mailcity.com wrote:

confused than enlightened.  Sorry, I did say I don't know much.

hat is, as it could feed other outlets.

toggle light switch on the wall, if that is any help.

ake off insulating caps and then turn on the power and use my meter to chec k  -- one-by-one -- any current between the red and white wire.

ent is 220 -- or the house blows up? ;>

Or I guess I can check and then report back with results.

All kidding aside, the first step here may be to call an electician or at least someone who is familiar with the basic concepts. As others have said, you need to find out what circuit these wires are on, what else they serve, etc. If they are part of a 3-way switch for example, then they aren't going to work for your outlet. Or one or the other could be on a switch. The most basic step before adding anything is to figure out which circuit they are on and what else is on that circuit.
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On 04/02/2013 04:07 PM, snipped-for-privacy@mailcity.com wrote:

First of all, you need to understand the difference between "current" and "voltage" - when you are referring to 120 or 240 that is "voltage."
Think of it like the wires are a garden hose with water flowing in it - voltage is analogous to pressure, while current is analogous to flow rate. You'll also hear people referring to power and/or watts (the unit of power) which is in DC-land volts (voltage) multiplied by amps (current.) It's a little more complicated in AC-land, but close enough for handwaving purposes. (I'm not trying to be a jerk, but proper terminology results in less confusion.)
So, in any case, what I would do is carefully probe all the connections, being careful not to ground anything and/or physically touch any of the bare wires, especially the black and red.
What is the voltage between black and ground? Red and ground? White and ground? Does flipping the nearby light switch make any difference?
Let us know what you find out...
good luck
nate
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BTW - it's Voltage.... Current is when the device is pulling amps from the supply service.
You really should grab a very basic Home Wiring book or pamphlet from Home Depot, etc.. so you understand the potential scenarios of the wires in the box...
Also - it is "possible" that the wiring is non-standard, and someone just used whatever they had laying around... SO - be careful at how you intrepret what you are dealing with...
Green or bare - White - Black - Red -
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Like I said - you might consider a simple Home Wiring pamphlet from say... Home Depot, etc -
If you don't understand the simple "terminology", then it's kind of hard to keep you from getting yourself electrocuted by following the "correct" answers from your FIL -
...
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BTW - where is the blank box located in the house ? upstairs, downstairs, basement, garage, outside, attic ? what else is around it that "may" have once required an outlet ?
Also - in any of your "testing" with a simple voltmeter ... once the wire connections are "bare", be VERY careful not to let them move & touch the metal box, as this will create a SHORT CIRCUIT - along with popping the breaker/fuse - and creating a HUGE spark right in front of your face.
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On Apr 2, 3:07 pm, snipped-for-privacy@mailcity.com wrote:

confused than enlightened.  Sorry, I did say I don't know much.

hat is, as it could feed other outlets.

toggle light switch on the wall, if that is any help.

ake off insulating caps and then turn on the power and use my meter to chec k  -- one-by-one -- any current between the red and white wire.

ent is 220 -- or the house blows up? ;>

Or I guess I can check and then report back with results.

You are checking for voltage, not current, THe fact that you refer to current rather than voltage tells us you are pretty much a novice.
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On Tue, 2 Apr 2013 11:32:27 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@mailcity.com wrote:

two red wires and two black wires (all solid copper 12-gauge). The two black wires were fastened to each other with a "rubberized cap" of some sort. The two white wires were fastened to each other the same way and the red wires were fastened to each other the same way.

220-circuit and all I need to do was to unfasten all the wires, wire nut off one of each color and then take the remaining three wires (red, white and black) and fasten them as normal to my duplex outlet and reinstall into the wall.
If so, you'd have a 220 volt outlet. Why would you want that except for a big room air conditioner?

Better than a test light is a voltmeter. For 4 dollars or so at Harbor Frieght, $18 at Home Depot or Radio Shack, you can get a digital mulitmeter that will measure volts and a whole lot more.
Take the caps (wire nuts, I guess) off and carefully touch the meter probes to each combination of two wires, and see what the readings are.
(Digital does have its problems that analog (a meter with a needle) does not. Sometimes it sees induced voltages, and shows up to 30 volts when there really isn't any. But if it says 30 or less, that's the same as zero, and the other two choices are110 to 120 and 220.to 240.
If you go to radio shack, buy a bag of 10 wires with alligator clips on each end. Then you can clip one meter probe to one of the wires and you can concentrate on putting the other probe exactly where you want it (on each of the other two colors) .
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