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Old 07-27-2012, 09:30 AM   #1
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Troubleshooting 3 switches in one box for bathroom project


Hello, I was hoping to get some insight into what would be causing by breaker to trip on a wiring project I am undertaking in the bathroom.

I have a 20 amp circuit running 12/2 to one box in the bathroom where the hot feeds are pigtailed onto the switches.

I borrowed this killer diagram from Stubbie, who created it to assist with another questioner. Though there are a few differences in my project, this diagram is remarkably close to what I am trying to do.

Differences- I used two 12/2 cables from the box to the fan and light instead of a 12/3. In retrospect this was dumb, but live and learn.

Also, On my project the outlet will be extending from the vanity light.




Unfortunately, the fuse blows when I try to turn it on.

Also- is there a better way to deal with all the grounding wires? Becuase of the maximum capacity on my wire nuts I have three different arrays of grounding wires, which all to to one grounding screw in the box. I thought about using more grounding screws in the box, but it seemed like I was just replacing one wire nut arrangement for another.

I do wonder if the sheer quantity of copper wire in the box could have something to do with my issue.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

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Old 07-27-2012, 10:04 AM   #2
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Troubleshooting 3 switches in one box for bathroom project


The diagram is correct. Perhaps if you told the connections you made someone would see the wiring error.

How many cables are in the box? It sounds like 3 should be there, but you talked about all the copper and grounding connections. Did you lool for burn marks on the box to see where this was shorting out?

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Old 07-27-2012, 10:18 AM   #3
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Troubleshooting 3 switches in one box for bathroom project


Hello Jim, thank you for your response.

There are 4 cables going into the box. 1 feed, and three going out to the three appliances hooked on.

For the three appliance lines, I have the ground wires nutted together, with a pigtail to the ground wire on the feed line. This is nutted together with a pigtail that connects to the metal box.

The neutral wires are all nutted together.

the hot wire is connected to three pigtails, which go to the switches. The switches are then connected to the black wires on the three cables going to the three separate appliances.

The fan/light is in the same unit, but I wanted the light and the fan functioning on different switches. One of the switches is a timer switch (fan). Right now the vanity is not wired in, and is just a wire in a box.
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:26 AM   #4
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Troubleshooting 3 switches in one box for bathroom project


Hello Jim, I found a scorch mark where the feed meets the switch for the light.
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Old 07-27-2012, 12:15 PM   #5
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Troubleshooting 3 switches in one box for bathroom project


If this gives you a headache to look at, imagine how it felt to wire...

so. I have one nut with 4 wires,

1- from feed
1- wire to light
1- attached to the grounding screw in the metal box
1- pigtailed to another connect with....

4 wires.
1- pigtail from previous nut
2- ground from the other two appliances on the circuit (fan and vanity)
1- pigtailed to another connector with...

1 pigtail from the previous nut
3 pigtails to connect to the switches themselves.

Went made trying to get it together only for the thing to short out when it was done. My research suggests all the grounding wires need to be connected, but there has got to be a better way!
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Old 07-27-2012, 09:32 PM   #6
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Troubleshooting 3 switches in one box for bathroom project


How tight did you make the box clamps? If too tight they could be cutting into the cable and making a short.
Are the switches all off when it trips?
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Old 07-27-2012, 09:57 PM   #7
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Troubleshooting 3 switches in one box for bathroom project


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerrys84 View Post
Hello Jim, I found a scorch mark where the feed meets the switch for the light.
most likely this was touching one of the bare grounds
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Old 07-28-2012, 10:22 AM   #8
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Troubleshooting 3 switches in one box for bathroom project


Hey thanks for your responses.

I redid everything, and realized that i had wired the feed to the wrong side of the switch, which is where the scorch mark was. This time around I was much more thoughtful about getting everything to fit in the box.

I realized laying in bed this morning that I will have to redo it again, with 12/3 wire, as currently my outlet wont work unless the switch is on....

That said, I can currently turn the circuit on at the box without a problem. The fan doesnt work, but I need to return it anyway as its missing part of the fixture.
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Old 07-28-2012, 11:29 AM   #9
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Troubleshooting 3 switches in one box for bathroom project


also limit the hot RED wire nut total by bringing the single hot into the switch box and jump it over to the others
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:29 PM   #10
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Troubleshooting 3 switches in one box for bathroom project


Hello Biggles,

Can you be more specific about how to bring in the hot feed lines? Currently I have a 12/2 feeding into the box which is connected through pigtails to the switches. What do you mean by "jump it over to the others". Thanks for your assistance, this forum has been a great resource so far.
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:47 PM   #11
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Troubleshooting 3 switches in one box for bathroom project


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerrys84
Hello Biggles,

Can you be more specific about how to bring in the hot feed lines? Currently I have a 12/2 feeding into the box which is connected through pigtails to the switches. What do you mean by "jump it over to the others". Thanks for your assistance, this forum has been a great resource so far.
He read your diagram as if the feed was in the light box I think. You can't remove the red it controls the fan independantly
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:48 PM   #12
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Troubleshooting 3 switches in one box for bathroom project


Success everything works. Thanks everyone for your input. Now, on to demoing a cement floor...

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