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-   -   Puck Light Switch Question (http://www.diychatroom.com/f18/puck-light-switch-question-165639/)

dhartlein 12-05-2012 06:23 AM

Puck Light Switch Question
 
1 Attachment(s)
I have two under cabinet halogen puck lights in the basement that were installed when we bought the house, controlled by the switch/outlet combination type shown in the picture. Just looked at the switch/outlet, and it looks like the wiring is a little weird. Here is what I have:

The switch outlet is fed from a GFCI outlet, hot to hot, neutral to neutral, and is properly grounded - looks normal. The connection are on the lower, outlet portion of the thing.

The puck lights are wired only to the hot side of the switch/outlet combination via two wires - one doubling up with the hot feed on the outlet portion, and one just above it on the hot side of the switch, immediately above. So there is nothing connecting the puck lights to neutral.

Everything works regarding the outlet and the switch. Are the puck lights wired correctly? I have never seen anything like the way this is set up, and we have found many wiring irregularities in this house.

Thanks!

rjniles 12-05-2012 07:51 AM

The neutral (white wire) to the puck lights is likely connected with other white wire tucked in the back of the box.

If it is working, what is your concern?

gregzoll 12-05-2012 07:57 AM

Those switches can be setup to allow the switch to control the outlet, or leave the outlet as a hot always., with the switch controlling something else. So again, what is your concern?

dhartlein 12-05-2012 09:18 AM

Concerns?
 
Good question guys - I have had all sorts of weird things in this house.

Bare wires in the boxes where insulation was cut, nicked, or just gone, I guess due to poor installation. I have insulated all of them with shrink tubing. An outside light was intentionally wired hot to hot and neutral/common to ground as there was a problem with the neutral part of the circuit. This forum helped me fix that one, as well as a pantry door jamb switch that was miswired and not also installed to code - no box was used by the installer. These all worked too - but were not done correctly.

So when I saw these puck lights were wired just to the hot side, I was a little concerned as it looked strange - with both wires on the hot with nothing to common or neutral. Maybe it is as it should be.

The plug/outlet is always hot - doesn't matter what you do with the switch. Again, this part is wired hot to hot, neutral to neutral, and is properly grounded. It looks right to me.

The two wires for the puck lights go to the hot that is feeding the outlet, on the bottom next to the plug, and also the hot side of the switch, on the top - both on the left as you face the switch/outlet. There is nothing at all connected to the neutral side of the switch - or the right side. Is it the same as a good ol single pole switch?

Thanks for any and all help. This house was built 10 years ago in Atlanta when they were slapping them up - and I am probably a little paranoid. I am definitely not an electrician.

dhartlein 12-05-2012 09:27 AM

Response, and thanks
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rjniles (Post 1066726)
The neutral (white wire) to the puck lights is likely connected with other white wire tucked in the back of the box.

If it is working, what is your concern?

Meant to reply here - there is no neutral wire to the lights, and no pigtail at all. Both of the puck light wires are wired to hot as described above. The incoming neutral, from the other outlet, terminates at the lower right side of the switch/outlet screw.

rjniles 12-05-2012 01:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dhartlein (Post 1066788)
Meant to reply here - there is no neutral wire to the lights, and no pigtail at all. Both of the puck light wires are wired to hot as described above. The incoming neutral, from the other outlet, terminates at the lower right side of the switch/outlet screw.

There is no way the lights can have both sides wired to a hot lead, they would not work. You are misunderstanding what you have.

dhartlein 12-05-2012 03:30 PM

I admit I don't understand what I have, that's why I was asking for help. But what I described is what is there.....

Thanks for the response - still not sure what I am playing with.

gregzoll 12-05-2012 03:33 PM

Sounds like a lot of switch legs in that place. Which of these looks like your wiring setup for that combo (1) http://ts3.mm.bing.net/th?id=I.46787...10846&pid=15.1 or (2) http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.48491...46084&pid=15.1

dhartlein 12-05-2012 04:45 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Well, RJ was exactly right - I didn't know what I was looking at..... a fact I have demonstrated repeatedly throughout this thread. This house has been so screwy I guess I was looking for another issue.....

The pic below shows what I found using a pen voltage tester.

1) This is the incoming hot from the other receptacle.
2) Common from other receptacle
3) 1st line from puck lights.
4) 2nd line to puck lights - becomes hot when switched.
5) Connector between hot contacts on the right side, making the vacant screw on the top right constantly hot.

I knew 4) at the top left was hot when switched and assumed that 2) and 3) were hot on the same side, The switch design confused me.

Thanks for the patience. Does this look right now?

jbfan 12-05-2012 04:56 PM

Three is the neutral,
What part of Atlanta?

dhartlein 12-05-2012 05:10 PM

Thanks - appears all is well. Johns Creek/Suwanee - you?

gregzoll 12-05-2012 05:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jbfan (Post 1067116)
Three is the neutral,
What part of Atlanta?

Look at #1 link that I posted. It is wired properly, just the OP does not understand how combo switches work, when used as a split device.

jbfan 12-05-2012 05:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dhartlein (Post 1067127)
Thanks - appears all is well. Johns Creek/Suwanee - you?

Newnan.
Got you one of those rapid expansion house's when everything shot northward.

I remember taking my electrical test at the gwinnett arena when there was on sugarloaf parkway in 94.

dhartlein 12-05-2012 05:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gregzoll (Post 1067129)
Look at #1 link that I posted. It is wired properly, just the OP does not understand how combo switches work, when used as a split device.

Thanks Greg - appreciate the post and the help. You're right - the switch confused me completely. Only one in the house, only one I have ever seen.

Tough to describe the house - looks great, great neighborhood, great area..... but jbfan is dead on - they were going up really fast 10 years ago and quality control was terrible. All the other stuff I've corrected made me jump too soon in assuming this was weird too.

My bad - but at least I now know it is right. Someone did run the cord that came with the puck lights through the wall, I just replaced it with romex. so at least that is right now too.

Thanks to all! :thumbsup:

jeffnc 12-05-2012 06:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rjniles (Post 1066726)
If it is working, what is your concern?

Oh boy. :eek:


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