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Old 08-07-2010, 12:58 PM   #1
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Anyone decipher this bathroom wiring?


Hi all:

Am putting my bathroom together after some work (none of it electrical) and am puzzled by the wiring....

WHAT I'VE GOT:

Coming out of the cement ceiling slab is Wire 1 (red/black/white/copper) going to Box A.

Box A has: Wire 1 to the cement; Wire 2 which seems to go to the next room, a bedroom (more on tihs later); Wire 3 which goes to the switchbox (Box B); GFCI outlet.
Specifically Wire 1's red is nutted to the black on Wire 2 (which goes to bedroom); Wire' 1's black and white are both going to the outlet; Wire 2's black is nutted to Wire 1 red and Wire 2's white to the GFCI. Wire 3 (to the switchbox) black and white both are on the GFCI.


Box B is a switchbox that has Wire 3 coming from Box A; a switch going out on Wire 4 (controlling and ending with the vanity light; another switch with Wire 5 going out and ending with the overhead lights.

I have 2 circuits involved here Breaker #4 and Breaker #6:
If they are BOTH off, everything is off and cold in both the bathroom and the bedroom

If #4 is on and #6 is off: The bedroom is on. the bathroom lighting is OFF but the circuit tester is indicating live wires on each wire.

If #4 is off and #6 is on: The bathroom is on and the bedroom is off.

For what its worth #6 was labeled as the bathroom and #4 as one of the general lighting circuits since I moved in.

WHAT I AM TRYING TO DO:
Can anyone explain whats going on here?

Also, more practically, Box 1 (with the GFCI) no longer reaches where it needs to go because of repositioning of a medicine cabinet. I have a closet on the adjacent wall and was planning to replace Box 1 with a junction box where it would remain accessible (inside the closet) and then branch off to a new box for the GFCI so wiring reaches properly (or put it in a 3 gang with the two switches).

Given the way the box with the GFCI is wired, I don't really understand how to make that box a junction box and put the GFCI elsewhere.

Thanks for anyone who can explain whats going on here

david

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Old 08-07-2010, 02:53 PM   #2
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Anyone decipher this bathroom wiring?


It's just a multiwire branch circuit. It uses a one common white wire and one bare ground wire for two hots (the black and red). The red wire is on breaker #4 and supplies the bedroom. The black is on breaker #6 and supplies the bathroom. In box A the bedroom circuit splits off. The common whites are all joined at the common on the GFCI. That's the only part I'm not clear on. Are they all joined on the "line" or "load" common terminal on the GFCI?

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Old 08-07-2010, 03:13 PM   #3
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Anyone decipher this bathroom wiring?


Thanks for the quick reply.

The black and the white from Wire #1 (the one coming from the panel) go to the line side of the GFCI.
the bedroom (wire #2) white is also on the line side. (the red from #1 and the black from #2 were nutted together)

the black and the white going to the switchbox (wire 3) are on the load side of the GFCI and not nutted to anything.
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Old 08-07-2010, 03:38 PM   #4
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Anyone decipher this bathroom wiring?


I think Jogr's right.
It's a MWBC, and you will probably find that Black from wire 1 and the Black from wire 3 are on the LINE side of your GFCI.
The White from wire 1 and the White from wire 3 are also landed on the LINE side, and the sticker is still intact on the back of the GFCI that comes from the mfg. covering the LOAD terminals.

That setup will produce the conditions you describe.


To make Box A into a junction box and relocate only the GFCI, your would connect:

1) wire 1 RED, wire 2 BLACK, (this keeps the bedroom circuit separate from your bathroom circuit, as before) This will still be on breaker #4.

2) wire 1 BLACK, wire 3 BLACK, and the BLACK new wire that will feed the relocated GFCI. This will be on breaker #6 as before, and will still serve only the bathroom.

3) wire 1 WHITE, wire 2 WHITE, wire 3 WHITE, and the WHITE new wire that is feeding the relocated GFCI.

4) all grounds together.

CODE RELATED ISSUES:
1) The current code requires a MWBC to have both breakers turned off simultaneously, which can be done using an approved handle tie for your two breakers or using a double-pole breaker.
2) The current code requires the bathroom circuit to be a 20amp circuit. Is this what you have for breaker #6? Is wire 1 made of 12 AWG?
3) The current code requires an Arc-Fault-Circuit-Interrupter (AFCI) to be installed for the bedroom circuit. This becomes a problem for you because your setup would require a 2-pole MWBC AFCI. I'm not sure if there is one made for your panel. What panel do you have?
4) Make sure breaker #4 and breaker #6 are not on the same phase in your panel. In some panels adjacent slots can be the same phase.
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Old 08-07-2010, 03:42 PM   #5
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Anyone decipher this bathroom wiring?


Quote:
Originally Posted by schnitz411 View Post
the black and the white going to the switchbox (wire 3) are on the load side of the GFCI and not nutted to anything.
While this is acceptable, the wire 3 doesn't need to be wired on the LOAD side of the GFCI, and I would suggest that it not be. The down side of that is that if you trip the GFCI you lose your lighting in the bathroom!
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Old 08-07-2010, 04:39 PM   #6
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Anyone decipher this bathroom wiring?


1)....they arent next to each other, so not sure how that would work
2)...nope...everything is 14
3) TI2RI2F from GE (also listed as 2P and 2B on some parts of the sticker)
4) that well beyond my knowledge level...


CODE RELATED ISSUES:
1) The current code requires a MWBC to have both breakers turned off simultaneously, which can be done using an approved handle tie for your two breakers or using a double-pole breaker.
2) The current code requires the bathroom circuit to be a 20amp circuit. Is this what you have for breaker #6? Is wire 1 made of 12 AWG?
3) The current code requires an Arc-Fault-Circuit-Interrupter (AFCI) to be installed for the bedroom circuit. This becomes a problem for you because your setup would require a 2-pole MWBC AFCI. I'm not sure if there is one made for your panel. What panel do you have?
4) Make sure breaker #4 and breaker #6 are not on the same phase in your panel. In some panels adjacent slots can be the same phase.
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Old 08-07-2010, 08:51 PM   #7
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Anyone decipher this bathroom wiring?


Quote:
Originally Posted by schnitz411 View Post
1)....they arent next to each other, so not sure how that would work
2)...nope...everything is 14
3) TI2RI2F from GE (also listed as 2P and 2B on some parts of the sticker)
4) that well beyond my knowledge level...
...1) can't tie 'em together if they aren't next to each other
...2) then at least make sure your breakers are 15A
...3) I can't identify this model number...
...4) if we have an exact, correct model number (and maybe a photo of the panel would help) and we know where the breakers are, we could determine if they are probably on opposite phases. A meter would tell us for sure.

Using a multimeter, one way to find out from your box A is to:
1st) turn off both breakers
2nd) disconnect the red and the black from wire 1 so you could read the power on wire 1 as it comes straight from your panel. Make sure the wires are not touching anything.
3rd) turn one both breakers, and put your meter on AC volts (at least 300V setting), and read the voltage with one lead on the BLACK WIRE and the other on the RED WIRE.
4th) near 240 volts is correct, near 0 volts would indicate they are the same phase= PROBLEM. **CAUTION: A READING OF 0 VOLTS DOES NOT MEAN THERE IS NO POWER, IT MEANS THAT THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE IN THE VOLTAGE BETWEEN THE TWO WIRES BEING TESTED.

In any case, I just wanted to make you aware of what would be required if you were to bring it up to code. The connections I listed would still be appropriate. I also forgot to mention that you would connect the new wires to the GFCI's LINE terminals.
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Last edited by williswires; 08-07-2010 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 08-07-2010, 09:59 PM   #8
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Anyone decipher this bathroom wiring?


Pictures of the breaker box attached...its probably circa mid-1960s, possibly early 70s.
Would be good to know the accurate model # regardless of where I go wiht things right now.
Attached Thumbnails
Anyone decipher this bathroom wiring?-img00229.jpg   Anyone decipher this bathroom wiring?-img00230.jpg  
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Old 08-08-2010, 02:21 PM   #9
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Anyone decipher this bathroom wiring?


Got all my wiring straight now thanks! One new snag thought.. got a Carlon 3-gang old work box to hold the original two switches and the GFCI....I forgot that the wall in question will only fit a box that is 3 1/8 deep from the lip to the back (i.e. the wall cavity+thickness of drywall=3 1/8")...standard box is 1/4 inch too big....any ideas?
Of course I've already cut a hole in my nice new drywall....

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