I have an outdoor electrical question

Dan's Avatar (by Gravatar) by Dan in  Energy » Electrical 

I have an outside electrical outdoor receptacle question?
I have two wires from an indoor switch running to.an outdoor receptacle that is not a GFI. Off the receptacle, is a four wire (red, black, white, and green) bundle that is pulled though a conduit to another outdoor receptacle box (that IS a GFI). This receptacle is in a small compartment under a water fountain. Right now, the fountain pump is plugged into one side of the receptacle, and a set of fountain lights is plugged into the other side..

I want to continue to have the indoor switch control both the lights and the fountain at the same time, but I want to install a photo cell at the non GFI receptacle that will keep the lights from coming on until dark. Can I do it with the 4 wires in the conduit or do I have to pull an additional wire? Also, can I do it with the single GFI receptacle under the fountain or do I have to install another? Could I just put the GFI back at the original switched outlet?


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Answer by homeowners

It sounds like you could make it work if you convert the non-GFCI outlet, the first one after the switch, into a GFCI and then run the rest of the loads from the GFCI-protected side.  Your cable to the fountain appears to have the extra wire you'll need (red) for the photocell switch - this wire will become the hot for the lights. The lights will have to be hard-wired  to the red wire (and also white and green in parallel with the pump) inside the compartment under the fountain instead of being plugged into the outlet that's there. You can't have both black (non-switched) and red (photocell switched) hot wires terminate on the same outlet, so hard-wiring the lights will provide the separation.

This all assumes that your pump is a 120V device and not 240V, otherwise the red wire would have already been taken.

Answer by

I don't think that "Dan" has supplied enough information. It sounds like the indoor switch is presently controling both the fountain and the fountain lights, or is it also controling the non GFI outlet? If both the fountain and the lights are plugged into a GFI outlet, they should both be 120V. Inorder to have a photo eye for the lights, you will need a constant hot for the Photo eye. Is the indoor switch a single or two pole switch? Where is the 3 conductors (and groud) picking up it's feed? If "Dan" is not accomplished with electrical work, he might do beter by purchasing a timer that plugs into the GFI outlet and then plug the lights into the timer. As long as the switch is not turned off (stopping the timer) He will do fine.

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