hello - I am adding a couple of outlets in my unfinished basment,
something I have done before (though never in this house - new (1985)
However, with this circuit, when I add an outlet (black/white/ground
NM), and I test the outlet with circuit tester , I get "hot/neutral
When I flip the switch that I believe is at the end of this circuit,
(this switch controls an overhead light, and only has cable going into
it) my circuit tester (on my "new" outlet) changes from "hot/nuetral
reversed" to "hot/ground reversed". As far as I know, there is nothing
(outlet, junction box, switch) between my new outlet, and the wall
The light switch has a black wire, and white wire that has been
painted black going in, as well as bare ground.
Any suggestions as how to wire outlet, re-wire wall switch?
The ground doesn't get counted as one of the circuit wires. So there
were only two. In addition, the black paint on the white wire is
supposed to tell you that *both* wires need to be treated as black
(hot), and that the white wire is not neutral.
No. The "switch leg" contains two conductors that, if connected
together, turns on a lamp or outlet located somewhere else. You don't
have both (unswitched) hot and neutral, so you cannot connect an outlet.
I'd like to take this opportunity to suggest that you find a book about
DIY electrical work and read it before you do any more additions to your
basement. There are a bunch of conventions you need to follow to ensure
that your changes (a) work, (b) are safe, and (c) can safely be worked
on by someone else. Even if you aren't worried about having your work
meet electrical code (so it will pass an inspection), it should still
follow these conventions and standards for the other reasons listed
Paul, the simple solution is, you must find another receptacle to tap
off of, don't use the wires going to the switch. Just find another
receptacle, fish the cable to that box, connect color to color on the
receptacle or the splices in the box that tap off to the receptacle.
the only way you could tap off a switch box is if there are 2 or more
white wires in that box spliced together that are not connected to the
switch. In that case, you tap off the black wire on the switch and the
white wires spliced together.
Incidentally, if you ever extend a circuit by tapping off an existing
circuit, don't use the little holes in the back of a receptacle for
extending to a new branch that will have several receptacles on it.
Those cheapey connections aren't worth a hoot for carrying current.
Splice the wires in the box with wire nuts along with a black and
white wire, short pigtails, that you will connect the receptacle back
Agree with you getting a book from Lowe's or somewhere on DIY
Open every box in the chain, and map out the colors, and inspect for fried
devices. Something is reversed or loose or shorted out somewhere. The
painted white in the switch box indicates a switch leg, so it isn't the
'end' of the circuit. You need to go upstream from the box that switchleg is
hooked to, all the way to the breaker. Something is bass ackwards. I also
recommend a DIY wiring book- they will show what colors are supposed to be
on what screws, and what colors are wirenutted together where.
The wire was running from behind a finished wall (from the finished
side of the basement) to the switch;
however, between the switch and the place I was placing the outlet,
the wire went back behind the wall.
You, or someone before you, has violated one of the color rules.
Green or bare wire goes to ground. There should be ground screws
on the receps. Metal boxes should have a ground stinger.
White wire goes to the silver colored screw. If anyone has done
this wrong upstream it will give you the signal.
Colored wire, usually black, goes to the brass colored screw. A
recep will work if wired incorrectly, but will result in a back
A switch leg at a switch has only ground and an interrupted hot.
Using Romex, an electrician uses both the black and white as hots
through the switch to operate the light. The white is NOT a
neutral in this circumstance.
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
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