"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 --
halves being on the same 120V circuit.
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.
- this one (above) meets your definition.
Just the first 7 references on Google that did not specifically refer
to Canada (like a .ca domain)
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
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?
On 4/5/2013 9:55 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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...
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
On Tue, 2 Apr 2013 13:07:11 -0700 (PDT), email@example.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
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.)
On Apr 2, 4:07 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
On 04/02/2013 04:07 PM, email@example.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...
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
BTW - it's Voltage.... Current is when the device is pulling amps from the
You really should grab a very basic Home Wiring book or pamphlet from Home
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 -
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 -
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.
On Tue, 2 Apr 2013 11:32:27 -0700 (PDT), firstname.lastname@example.org 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
(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
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) .
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.