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Old 10-31-2010, 06:20 PM   #1
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Problem Wiring A Porch Light

New guy here. I'm having a little trouble getting our porch light to work. When we bought our house I replaced all the switches and outlets because they had been painted to match the original walls which we were repainting. I'm no electrical expert but I know how to replace an outlet and a switch. Or so I thought. I tried to pay careful attention to how each was wired but I guess I screwed things up with these switches.

There is no overhead light in the room so my wife and I are both a little befuddled by the two switches.

I believe that the switch on the left is the one that is going to porch. It's ground is clipped and there is no ground coming out of the brickwork to the light. One thing that really confuses me is the return neutral being tied in with the ground of what I believe to be the source line.

The other issue is with the outlet on that same wall. According to the handy dandy outlet tester I have, with both switches on the circuit is good. With only the left switch on, it shows a hot/ground reverse. With only the right switch on, it shows an open ground.

Sorry I tend to ramble a bit. If you need any other info/pictures let me know. the one thing I havent done yet is get up in the attic and try and trace lines.
There is an outlet on that same wall that is tied into the switches.


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Old 10-31-2010, 06:42 PM   #2
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Yowll! You are using the grounding conductor as a neutral. You will have voltage on all ground points.


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Old 10-31-2010, 06:44 PM   #3
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first dangerous and illegal.they are useing a ground for better get an electrician there before you get hurt.the sw on right looks like it set up for a half hot to a plug.get it fixed soon...
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Old 10-31-2010, 06:46 PM   #4
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It appears someone tapped a switch loop for power. You need to disconnect that white and ground wire and run a new cable with the proper amount of wires.

Hot ground reversed is the indication you get on those testers for an open neutral.
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Old 10-31-2010, 06:47 PM   #5
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Yikes .,,

That is not a good set up.

First thing is go to the nearest receptale and find out how it hook up to the switch { the one that is either switched or alive } and make a note how it hook up with all the colours.

And post it back here we will go from there and do the same thing with the porch luminaire how that hook up as well.

this is more than just a basic set up.

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Old 10-31-2010, 10:09 PM   #6
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now you know why the 2011 code will require a switch loop to be 12 or 14-3.a 12 or 14-3 ,so there would be a neutral in the box.


Last edited by oleguy74; 10-31-2010 at 10:12 PM.
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