I replaced four regular power receptacles this afternoon. Some on one
circuit some on another. There was one receptacle that had a red wire.
I wired the receptacle like the one that was there before. Black and
red on the same side opposite white. When I searched this group I see
the red is a switched power source. My problem now is a can't turn on
both circuits at once or they both blow. The funny thing is all
receptacles have power! That is very strange. Could the wires be
crossed giving power to the other circuit some how?
Is that one in a kitchen or used for some other high wattage appliances? It
sounds like a split circuit. It works similar to a switched receptacle but
it is supplied with a 120/240 volt circuit, if you have the old receptacle
you will see a brass jumper between the two brass screws was broken away
separating the outlets on the receptacle. This is done to provide a switched
outlet and an unswitched outlet. However, yours don't seem to be switched
but a split circuit. What you are doing is creating a 240 volt short circuit
that would blow both fuses. Turn off the power and remove the break-away
jumper on the brass coloured screw side. Leave the jumper on the white screw
On 10 Sep 2006 16:26:38 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
Red doesn't have to be a switched line.
It sounds like the red and black are two hots on different phases. If
so, and assuming you're in the USA, you created a dead short with a
potential of 220 volts. That's bad.
You could get a meter and figure this out, but I'm reluctant to tell
you how if you don't know. It might be better to get an electrician.
This sounds like the most likely scenario.
Your house has two hot lines coming in. Both are 110 volts but are on
opposite cycles. Some things like electric heat, electric dryers and
electric stoves are designed to use both lines. For those appliances,
each line basically grounds the other.
You probably have a switch recepticle that is typical for a lamp that
is switched. In on older house, it might just be wired on and covered
up long ago. But it's probably there.
So without removing the tab, you are creating a dead short on that side
of the recepticle where the two wires are connected. That's why both
breakers are blowing -- which is a very, very good thing. If they had
been on the same phase, you'd probably be worse off in the long run
because you'd effectively have to go twice as high before you tripped
one and it might have caused a fire. So if this is the case, consider
There are two very simple tests to do. First off, if any lamps were
switched, turn the switch the other direct and see what happens.
Basically, nothing should happen except the lights should work okay and
not blow anything. (Caution, don't have anything else except lights on
the circuit. The other test is to turn on 1 breaker. Everything
should work okay. That lets you know if the scenario is true. If ALL
lights and ALL recepticles work, then you know you have a problem.
Assuming this is the case, both breakers should have tripped basically
as soon as you threw the second breaker. It shouldn't take any time
when you did it.
Just out of curiosity, if this isn't the case, are there any GFIs on
Good luck with it.
In the US it is getting late. Shut both down and check to make sure
all is dead before you go to sleep. Then double check your work in the
Also I wanted to say this is in a bedroom and I am in the USA. This
house did originally have electric heat so maybe they were planning on
adding a heater in the bedroom. The house was built in 1979. I will
check into if there are GFIs on this circuit. I think there might be
some on this circuit in the bathroom.
Thanks for all your help!
A couple of more questions before anyone can say if all is okay.
First, look inside the box. Do the red lead and the black lead come
from the same wire or separate wires? This is very important.
Second, go look at the breakers that trip together. Are they
side-by-side? Do they have a little metal wire connecting the switch
part. Some breakers have a small hole in the handle that you touch.
Then there is a small wire going from that breaker to the one next to
physically connect them so they have to go off together. Are your
breakers like that? Is it possible to turn off one and not the other?
Go try it.
Depending on the answers to the above questions, maybe yes and maybe
In the mean time, disconnect the black and reconnect the red. I would
imagine everything works fine that way, too. We need to know that.
Separate wires. In the box there are three romex cables coming in two
with white, black, and ground. The third has all three plus the red
wire. All three blacks are taped together to give one black that goes
to the receptacle.
Yes there is one on top of the other.
Do I need to take the cover off to see this wire?
I can turn them off seperately.
Yes I did reconnect red and disconnect black and everything works fine.
Should I just clip the tab and reconnect both?
These are my best guesses, but by all means wait until someone else
confirms them or argues them. This is sort of like troubleshooting by
No, see next comment
Okay, not a 220 breaker
I was just checking to make sure we weren't dealing with a 220 breaker.
We aren't. That's good.
Okay, 3 romex wires into the box. Here's my guess as to the scenario.
One 2-wire is hot and the other goes onto another recepticle. That's
normal. If the cut-out wasn't clipped and you only had 2 wires, you'd
put on on each screw. But for you with a cut-out that's clipped, they
both go on the same screw (or using a jumper). All standard and okay.
The test for this is to hook up just one wire and test the recepticle.
With one it should be fine and with the other is should be dead. Check
that. Assuming it is like that, you are okay so far.
Now, do you have any unexplained switches handing around behind a door
or something. If so, one part of the recepticle was probably switched.
If not, hmmmm. If you have a switch, let us know and with a switch
recepticle. If not, then you just have a wiring problem.
Hook up the black wire and not the red one. One breaker will now turn
off the power and one will not. Leave on the "good" one and shut off
the other one. Go do an extensive search and see if anything is dead.
If so, see what. If not, go count the recepticles and lights that this
one breaker controls and get back to up. You're probably okay but it
should be checked. Also let us know what is on these recepticles (for
example, 1 recepticle with a refrigerator and a freeze is more load
than 3 that are never used except for vaccuuming).
If nothing is dead, the load is okay, and there are no switches, you
are probably just fine like this. Otherwise we need to know what's
BTW, this recepticle isn't up high like is used to be a switch, is it?
Did you ever find the old recepticle to see if it had the cut-out
I checked the old receptacle that was in the trash and it had the tab
removed. So I clipped my tab and now it works fine with both red and
black wires coming in. Thanks for all your help, you guys are great!
Go and look closely at the old receptacles , you will find a tab that
ties them together in the middle removed on at least one of them. You
need to do the same to at least one of the new ones
If two fuses blow together, you have GAY FUSES. Hetrosexual fuses
will not blow together. I suggest buying fuses somewhere else besides
the place you are getting them. That place is probably run by a
couple gay guys.
On 10 Sep 2006 16:26:38 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
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