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schnitz411 03-08-2010 06:06 PM

Branching off existing circuit
 
Hi all:

Here is my situation. On the circuit that runs through a bedroom, there are 5 or 6 outlets and no other receptacles currently. The top 1/2 of the outlets (all of them together) are controlled by a switch. The bottom 1/2 of all of them are always hot.

I have added in a lighting fixture in the closet, added a remodel box for a switch and run the cable to it. The new box w/switch is located right above one of the existing outlets, and I ran cable from the new box to the outlet...but I clearly got something wrong.

HERE IS HOW IT WAS BEFORE:

The outlet I want to branch off from uses the crappy push-in type of connections. Looking at the back of it,
Top 1/2 of outlet: Red Red [empty] White
Bottom 1/2 of outlet: Black Black White [empty]

HERE IS WHAT I HAVE NOW AND WHAT HAPPENS:

At The Outlet:

Top 1/2: same as before

Bottom 1/2:
I have wirenutted together these 4 blacks:
both existing blacks, 3rd black that goes into one of the slots on the outlet where a black was before; 4th black that runs up to the new switch

I have wirenutted together these 3 whites:
the existing white, a short white running to the slot on the outlet, a 3rd white running up to the new switch

end result here for the bottom half of the outlet is
black [blank] white [blank]

At The Switch:
Wire nut of 3 whites: the run from the outlet, the run to the new fixture, the short jump to the switch

Wire nut of 3 blacks: the run from the outlet, the run to the new fixture, the short jump to the switch.

[Also grounded everything]

WHAT IS CURRENTLY HAPPENING:
The top 1/2 of outlet part of the room's circuit is working as always: the switch controls the the top 1/2s ofall the outlets.

The bottom 1/2 I modified is the problem. The new light gets power and turns on, but when I flip the NEW switch, it blows the circuit.

I assume I made a small mistake in how I added in the new run, but am not sure where. Help most appreciated!

brric 03-08-2010 06:37 PM

AS i understand you, at the new switch location you have two cables. If this is so, the whites should be wire nutted together, the black from the existing recep goes to the switch and the black going to the closet fixture also goes to the other screw on the switch.

schnitz411 03-08-2010 06:45 PM

Perfect! Works great.
Thanks

brric 03-08-2010 06:46 PM

cool!

schnitz411 03-14-2010 03:40 PM

OK I spoke too soon....the volume of nuts/wires in the existing outlet box was way too much...had to replace with a double gang box to fit everything safely.

Also putting in a standard outlet (not the push-in terminal kind)

Now I screwed something up again and didn't carefully note what went where.

Coming in are three cables: 2 are the prior in/out of the circuit with white/black/red; the 3rd is the white/black running up to the new switch.

I am nutting together all the whites and all the blacks, but what short jumps do I need to go from nuts to top and bottom halves of the existing outlet?

Do I nut together the two existing reds witha short red and have the top 1/2 of outlet be one red and one white?
and then the bottom is a white and a black?

brric 03-14-2010 03:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schnitz411 (Post 414402)
OK I spoke too soon....the volume of nuts/wires in the existing outlet box was way too much...had to replace with a double gang box to fit everything safely.

Also putting in a standard outlet (not the push-in terminal kind)

Now I screwed something up again and didn't carefully note what went where.

Coming in are three cables: 2 are the prior in/out of the circuit with white/black/red; the 3rd is the white/black running up to the new switch.

I am nutting together all the whites and all the blacks, but what short jumps do I need to go from nuts to top and bottom halves of the existing outlet?

Do I nut together the two existing reds witha short red and have the top 1/2 of outlet be one red and one white?
and then the bottom is a white and a black?

You only need one white to the receptacle. There are a tabs between the screws on the receptacle. On the hat(brass screw) side of the recep break this tab away. Put a red wire to the top half of the recep and a black wire to bottom half.

joed 03-14-2010 04:44 PM

You wired a direct short across the switch. As soon as the the switch is turned on the breaker will trip. Only the two black connect to the switch. The two whites only connect to each other.

schnitz411 03-14-2010 05:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brric (Post 414405)
You only need one white to the receptacle. There are a tabs between the screws on the receptacle. On the hat(brass screw) side of the recep break this tab away. Put a red wire to the top half of the recep and a black wire to bottom half.

Today seems to be a day I should have not done anything but I can't bear to leave this unresolved today.

Current situation at the box with the outlets and where the new run branches off:

Nut#1:all the whites (Two original cables' whites; cable up to new switch/light white;jumper to silver side/bottom 1/2 of outlet)

Nut #2:all the blacks (two original cables;cable up to new switch/light; jumper to brass side/bottom 1/2 of outlet).

Brass side tab broken; silver side tab in place

Reds to both terminals on top 1/2 of outlet.

If main ORIGINAL switch controlling the top 1/2 of the outlets is ON, breaker trips immediately.

If off, new switch/light works as intended, bottom outlets hot; top outlets not hot

Thanks for bearing with me on this clumsy day.

brric 03-14-2010 07:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schnitz411 (Post 414436)
Today seems to be a day I should have not done anything but I can't bear to leave this unresolved today.

Current situation at the box with the outlets and where the new run branches off:

Nut#1:all the whites (Two original cables' whites; cable up to new switch/light white;jumper to silver side/bottom 1/2 of outlet)

Nut #2:all the blacks (two original cables;cable up to new switch/light; jumper to brass side/bottom 1/2 of outlet).

Brass side tab broken; silver side tab in place

Reds to both terminals on top 1/2 of outlet.

If main ORIGINAL switch controlling the top 1/2 of the outlets is ON, breaker trips immediately.

If off, new switch/light works as intended, bottom outlets hot; top outlets not hot

Thanks for bearing with me on this clumsy day.

Connect a red jumper to the other two reds in the box with a wire nut. Connect the other end of the red jumper to the top half brass screw of the recptacle.
This should result in one white wire on the silver side of the recep, one black wire on the lower brass side and one red wire on the upper brass side of the recep.

schnitz411 03-14-2010 08:15 PM

Almost there....
Everything works except the bottom 1/2 of the outlet is dead...
They work on the other receps and all the switches do what they are supposed to at least.

brric 03-14-2010 08:22 PM

Check your wire nut connection of the black wires.

schnitz411 03-14-2010 08:53 PM

Right again...despite careful tape that one slipped out....if you're ever in DC I owe you a drink.

joed 03-14-2010 11:02 PM

You should not be using tape. Wire nuts are all you need.

schnitz411 03-14-2010 11:11 PM

Oh it was holding the wires together and even to put the nut on properly, just a temporarything...not part of the final deal.
...with four wires and fingers that were not being that nimble I was having trouble getting everything lined up...


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