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Old 01-21-2008, 12:39 PM   #31
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Hall light worked before installing a new light fixture in bathroom


Yeah Alan has pretty well summed up what you have and it is not going to be easy to figure out. But lets give it a shot if you want.


In the bathroom switch box is your biggest mystery. I would like to now what wires are in the bathroom receptacle box and how they are connected.

Please perform these steps in the bathroom switch box and do not disconnect any more wires. I think I know whats going on in the bathroom switch box but we need to make sure. So get your voltmeter. Make sure the hall switch is connected back as you said.

KEEP THE BREAKER TURNED OFF WHEN WORKING WITH THE WIRES. And test all wires even after you turn the breaker off for voltage before working on them. Test the whites and blacks to one of the bare ground wires after you connect them together as described in 1.) below. Since you have forgotten what is what we will have to figure out the switch loop wire. And go from there.

Make sure all the other wires in the hall and bath receptacle have there wires reconnected as they were originally. Don't touch the wiring in the light fixtures leave those connected for now. Make sure everything on this circuit breaker to this branch circuit does not have a light turned on or anything running.

1.) Take all the bare grounds and connect them in a wire nut and if the box is metal take a short pigtail of wire and add to the wire nut and connect to the metal box. Get this done first before anything else. You may need a green grounding screw in the threaded hole in the back of the box or ground clip.
2.) Separate all the other wires by the cable they come out of...ie... each cable should have a bare, a black and a white associated with it. Make sure they are not touching bare to bare and put a wire nut on each end if you need to.
3.) We need to find the switch loop wires. So turn on the breaker. Test the white wires to the bare ground wires. One of the whites should be hot and you should get a line voltage reading. The other whites should not give a line voltage reading. Then test the blacks to the bare ground wire and make sure none of them are hot they shouldn't be. If they are report back. Also if you do not get voltage testing to those ground wires stop and report back to the forum.
4.) Once you find the hot white wire turn the breaker off . Connect the white back to the switch and then connect the black in the same cable with that white to the other screw on the switch. Test to see it the light works when you turn the breaker back on. Do this carefully and do not touch the screws on the switch just operate the toggle.
5.) If the light works turn off the breaker and connect the two whites remaining in a wirenut. Then take the white off the switch and connect it to the remaining two blacks along with a short pigtail that you will connect to the switch.
6.) If this all works out we will move to the hall light and bath receptacle.

Below is what I think is going on with the bathroom switch box rather unconventional if this is correct. I'm very worried someone is using that bare you said was in the wire nut with the two whites as a neutral wire. We will have to check later.


Stubbie
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Last edited by Stubbie; 01-21-2008 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 01-21-2008, 03:16 PM   #32
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Hall light worked before installing a new light fixture in bathroom


Quote:
2 whites and a bare wire spliced together and 2 bare wires not connected to anything.
There is your red flag. Someone found a way to "fix" a problem in the past by using the ground as a neutral.

This would take 15 minutes to trobleshoot in real life but could take hours over the internet.
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Old 01-25-2008, 09:43 AM   #33
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Hall light worked before installing a new light fixture in bathroom


The light switch for the bathroom light has 3 cables coming into it. I tested the wires with a voltmeter and one of the white wires (105 volts) and the black wire in the same cable tests 15 volts (if I'm reading the voltmeter correctly!) I believe it is in 5 volt increments. It has 0 to 50 then 100 with increment lines between them. Then of course on over to 250. The rest of the wires in that box don't read anything. The one with the hot wires is coming from the light fixture in the bathroom

One of the cables goes directly behind it on the same wall to the light switch for the hall. The switch there had another cable leading away from it to the light fixture in the hall. In the box for the light switch it had two black wires connected to the switch and 2 white wires spliced together and 2 bare wires twisted together without a wire nut.

In the box for the light switch in the bathroom there is one more cable and it runs to the 2 outlet boxes on another wall in the bathroom. ( One of the outlet boxes I discovered when I moved the vanity. It was behind the mirror.) It just has the wires spliced together with wire nuts on them and the 2 bare wires twisted together both of those boxes tested 0 on all the wires.
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Old 01-25-2008, 10:40 AM   #34
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Hall light worked before installing a new light fixture in bathroom


Ok I see the problem whoever did this used the bare ground wire ( the one I was worried about) in the cable coming from the bathroom fixture box as the neutral to get a neutral to the bathroom switch box. I changed the diagram to show you what is going on below. You need to get a 3 wire cable with ground ( one that is H-H-N-Grd) from the bathroom fixture to the bathroom switch box. This will provide a neutral wire that you do not have. Look at the diagram. Later today I'll post a diagram showing the correct wiring.

Now what I don't now is how they connected the ground at the fixture but whether it is connected to the neutral of the incoming power or is connected to the incoming powers ground wire the branch circuit will still work as the ground and neutral both end up together back in the main panel. Point is this is wrong . You do not want a ground wire carrying neutral current.
Now as far as why your hall light won't work is most likely related to how you reconnected the wiring in that bathroom switch box. Since it quit working when you were working on the bathroom wiring. Remember also that you said you could get the bathroom light to work. So look at the correct wiring diagram in the following post.
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Last edited by Stubbie; 01-27-2008 at 11:10 PM.
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Old 01-25-2008, 03:05 PM   #35
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Hall light worked before installing a new light fixture in bathroom


Sorry, but I wasn't able to finish what I was going to say in my last thread. (I don't know how to save the message to come back to it so I posted it) I also discovered that the bedroom next to the bathroom is on the same circuit breaker. That room has a light fixture for the clothset, the bedroom, and 3 outlets on the walls. I guess that the power for it is coming from the bathroom also.

Any way I haven't connected the light switch wires back to the switch for the bathroom or the hall. should I hook it back the way it was except the bare wire with the 2 white wires? I assume I should twist all the bare wires together and then splice the 2 white wires with a wire nut with the remaining 3 black wires and one white to the switch.
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Old 01-25-2008, 04:00 PM   #36
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Hall light worked before installing a new light fixture in bathroom


The other parts of this circuit should be unaffected since you did not fool with them. Your description of the wiring would indicate that the power for the bathroom light and bathroom receptacles and the hall light originates with the incoming power at the bathroom light fixture..... since there is no onward power from the receptacles themselves and the hall light fixture only has the cable from the hall light switch going to it which ends in the hall light fixture. The cable getting power to the hall light switch is coming from the bathroom switch box.

Connect the wiring as shown in the below diagram. You must not use the bare wire for neutral (even though it will work) that is a ground wire in the diagram in my previous post. You have to get a 3 wire cable to the bathroom switch box as shown.

The reason they had the two ground wires disconnected in the bathroom light switch box is because the made a mistake with the cable coming from the incoming power in the bath light box it should have been a 3 conductor with ground cable and they found out that they didn't have a neutral so they used the ground wire as the neutral. When they did that they knew they had done something wrong. They didn't connect those two ground wires in the cables going to the receptacles and the hall light because they no longer had a ground wire to get back to the incoming power ground. They had used the bare ground they needed to connect to as their neutral back to incoming power so didn't have anything to connect the ground wires to. Consequently they left them unconnected in the bathroom light switch box. This is leaving you with no ground fault protection and is a safety hazard because a breaker will not trip on a ground fault past the bathroom light fixture box.

You should also install gfci protection for the bathroom receptacles if they don't have it already.
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Last edited by Stubbie; 01-25-2008 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 01-27-2008, 06:18 PM   #37
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Hall light worked before installing a new light fixture in bathroom


(QUOTE) I changed the diagram to show you what is going on below. You need to get a 3 wire cable with ground ( one that is H-H-N-Grd) from the bathroom fixture to the bathroom switch box. This will provide a neutral wire that you do not have. Look at the diagram. Later today I'll post a diagram showing the correct wiring.
Stubbie,
I am sorry but, I don't know how to read the diagrams. Could you tell me what the purpose is for the neutral wire. Also all the wiring is behind to sheetrock. How do I change a wire?
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Old 01-27-2008, 09:02 PM   #38
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Hall light worked before installing a new light fixture in bathroom


>>> purpose of the neutral

Just about everyone talks about the hot wire supplying the electricity and the electricity returns to the power plant via ground.

In modern building circuits the ground wire does not carry this return current. A neutral wire must accompany every hot wire to lights, appliances, etc. and be used for this return path. The ground wire must also be there to dissipate electricity that may otherwise pose a shock hazard if a defect pops up somewhere in the circuit.

In the diagrams above, gray lines represent the neutrals which must actually be white wires. Green represents the ground wires which in real life may be bare or covered with green insulation. Any other color stands for a hot wire, black then red are the most common. There are a small number of situations when white is legitimately used as a hot wire but rules are specific and also that white wire must be marked in black or red at both ends.

The colored triangles are "wire nuts", cone shaped caps that are screwed onto bare wire ends to hold them together and also insulate (cover) them. You do not have to match wire nut color with wire color except green should be reserved for ground wires. In the diagrams, wires are connected only where wire nuts or screw terminals are shown, not where two lines cross each other.

If there are not enough wires of the proper colors already in the wall, you will not be able to complete the job/work without stringing more wires. Experienced electricians can cut only a few small holes here and there in the plaster or plaster board and using thin stiff metal strips called fish tapes to get the wires inside.

When the power feed comes into the light fixture box, the neutral normally does not go down to the switch alongside the hot wire. But in your case the hot wire after getting to the bathroom switch is supplying other things too (the hall llight; a receptacle). Therefore in your case a neutral must go down to the switch to serve as the current return for those other things.

Last edited by AllanJ; 01-27-2008 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 01-28-2008, 01:30 AM   #39
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Hall light worked before installing a new light fixture in bathroom


jcfan

I changed the diagram in post 34 with some better explanation. Your incoming power cable to the bathroom light switch only has black white and bare. This was a mistake and when they discovered they didn't have enough wires to provide a neutral, constant power and a switched hot back to the bathroom light they resorted to forgetting about the grounds and used the ground wire in the cable bringing power to the bathroom switch box for the neutral. NO can do. This is why you had those other two ground wires not connected to anything. They should have connected to the ground wire being used as the neutral.
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Old 01-28-2008, 10:36 AM   #40
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Hall light worked before installing a new light fixture in bathroom


If you need just one non-bare wire, for example one red wire, you may not fish one all by itself in the wall. You must run a complete Romex (tm) type cable with insulated wires and a bare ground wire enclosed in the plastic sheath (NM means nonmetallic sheath). If you run a new (14 gauge) "14-2" cable alongside the existing cable, the new black wire becomes the hot (constant) feed and the new white becomes the neutral for the hall light etc. further on. If you run a "14-3" cable down from the bath light, there are enough new wires so you can decommission the old cable.

Last edited by AllanJ; 01-28-2008 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 02-23-2008, 09:46 AM   #41
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Hall light worked before installing a new light fixture in bathroom


Well I finally got the wire that you all had suggested and got it installed in the wall and wired up the way the diagrahm said. Halleluia it works!! Thanks to the both of you for your explanations and information on how the system works. May the Lord bless you!!!

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