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Old 03-03-2010, 08:10 PM   #1
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adding a plug from a switch that has red,white,black, and bare


ok so I'm renoing my parenst bathroom and tehy asked me if I could add a plug.

There is a switch on the other side of the wall that I thought i could grab power from...so i took a look and found the switch was connected by (2)red, (2)white, (2)black, and (2)ground(bare)

I don't know where the power is coming from but its coming from somewhere and the going to the bathroom light.

the switch(old single pole switch) is connected like this red connected to top screw, 2nd red connected to bottom screw. Then two black wires connected together and 2 whites connected together the grounds connected to the screw at the back of the box.

What i need to do is get power from there to a new plug(GFCI) is this possible with a GFCI and how do I go about doing it?.

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Old 03-03-2010, 08:54 PM   #2
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adding a plug from a switch that has red,white,black, and bare


From the looks of it, you connect the new receptacle by stringing a new a 2 wire cable with the black wire connected to the joint with the two existing blacks and the white connected to the joint with the two existing whites.

To be positively sure this is right, you should measure the voltage between those two joints to see you are getting the regular voltage (120 volts or so) regardless of the positions of switches in the room.

You may need a larger box for the switch. To be exact, the box needs to have 22 cubic inches of interior space

A GFCI receptacle unit can be installed as your new receptacle.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 03-03-2010 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 03-04-2010, 05:24 PM   #3
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adding a plug from a switch that has red,white,black, and bare


sounds good. Thanks.

What is this red, black, white wire and why is it used??

I have this in some areas of my house too..not much but there is some. Was this some type of new wiring used in the 70's or 80's?
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:17 AM   #4
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adding a plug from a switch that has red,white,black, and bare


Wires carrying red, black, white, and ground were commonly used in 3 way switches...where you turn the light on at the beginning of the hallway and turn the same light off at the end of the hallway. In higher voltage appliications, they were used to carry two 110 volt circuits enabling a house to have electrical ranges, A/C, dryers, etc.
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:24 AM   #5
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adding a plug from a switch that has red,white,black, and bare


3-wire cable can also be run from a wallbox to the ceiling to control a fan and light from separate switches.
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:31 AM   #6
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adding a plug from a switch that has red,white,black, and bare


yeah but he has 2 reds connected to switch whats with that
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Old 03-07-2010, 05:21 PM   #7
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adding a plug from a switch that has red,white,black, and bare


ok so I was wrong..it was dark that day and it seems that there isn't two reds connected to the switch..here is the connection

red wire connected to top screw(only one red wire I was mistaken)
two whites connected together
black pigtail from bottom screw connected to two blacks

I connected a thrid black to the blacks and a third white to the whites...then connected those to the new GFCI on the line side as it states to do. It says that the load side is for additional connections.

tried it out and no power to the gfci...yes I pushed the reset button.

The light on the GFCI is not lit.

I'm guessing that the red is the hot...what should I do??

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Old 03-07-2010, 06:27 PM   #8
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adding a plug from a switch that has red,white,black, and bare


If red is the hot then turning on the switch should activate the GFCI. Try that first and let us know what happens.
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Old 03-07-2010, 06:43 PM   #9
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adding a plug from a switch that has red,white,black, and bare


The red is probably not a hot conductor --- it is the switch leg. The 2 black wires are supposed to be your hot source, and the whites are the neutral.

Is it permissible to use a 15 Amp lighting circuit for your GFCI receptacle in a bathroom in Canada? I am not up on the codes in the great white north
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Old 03-07-2010, 09:49 PM   #10
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adding a plug from a switch that has red,white,black, and bare


It is permissible to have bathrooms in Canada on the same circuit as other rooms.
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Old 03-07-2010, 10:06 PM   #11
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adding a plug from a switch that has red,white,black, and bare


I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the possibility that this could be a 12/3 with two separate circuits on it, running split plugs. I found this in several places in my house as I was remodeling.
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Old 03-08-2010, 04:35 PM   #12
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adding a plug from a switch that has red,white,black, and bare


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
If red is the hot then turning on the switch should activate the GFCI. Try that first and let us know what happens.
tried that and still nothing?

how do I connect this thing?
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Old 03-08-2010, 06:27 PM   #13
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adding a plug from a switch that has red,white,black, and bare


Does the switch control anything?
Do you know where the two cables come from that are in the switch box?
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:09 PM   #14
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adding a plug from a switch that has red,white,black, and bare


the switch controls the light in the bathroom that I installed the new plug in. I don't know where the wire that powers the switch comes from? This shouldn't be so hard though? if teh switch is getting power I should be able to power the plug from that right?
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:17 PM   #15
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adding a plug from a switch that has red,white,black, and bare


The black and white groups should have provided the power required in my opinion. Try a standard receptacle and see if it powers up properly. Maybe the GFCI is bad.

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