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Old 06-02-2009, 02:09 PM   #1
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Wiring can't be this hard


I built a tool shed (ts) adjacent to my wife's greenhouse (gh). I'm trying to connect wiring to get power to a light switch in the ts. I connected to the light switch in the gh & ran it to the switch in the ts...when power was turned back on, no power in the ts (gh was fine). A neighbor said I need to splice into the main power supply wire coming into the gh BEFORE it gets to the gh switch. Makes sense. Pigtail is the term he used. I connected to the incoming line & ran it directly to the ts to make sure it would work & it did. Then when I connected wires from the main supply line to the "pigtail" (hot only) & the gh wire to the ts wire I get no power to the ts.
Does anyone know what I'm doing wrong? I know it can't be this hard!
Also, would it matter if the wiring was different # on existing wire (gh) & the new wire - 14/10 (ts)?
Thanks for any help.

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Old 06-02-2009, 02:23 PM   #2
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Wiring can't be this hard


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I connected to the incoming line & ran it directly to the ts to make sure it would work & it did. Then when I connected wires from the main supply line to the "pigtail" (hot only) & the gh wire to the ts wire I get no power to the ts.
Above, is the "incoming line" and "main supply" the same thing?

In theory you would have the supply coming from the house, the cable that goes to the gh lights, and the cable that goes to the ts. They should each have a black and a white conductor, plus a bare copper or green ground. Black to black, white to white, and ground to ground for all 3. If you connect the hot only, it will not work.

This is a DIY forum and I'm a proponent of doing your own electrical work, but you sound dangerously unsure of yourself here. Can you post some pics so everyone can get a better idea of what you're doing and your exact layout?

There is a lot more to consider than just connecting up wires, esp. when you're powering a detached structure.

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Also, would it matter if the wiring was different # on existing wire (gh) & the new wire - 14/10 (ts)?
Short answer: probably it would matter. However:

I assume you mean 14/2, and not 14/10 ? Are you using standard Romex with a bare ground, a white and a black conductor?

What is the rating of the circuit that supplies power to the greenhouse?

Are you running the cable between the gh and ts underground?

How far from the main panel is is greenhouse? What kind of wiring runs from the panel to the gh? Is there a subpanel in the gh?

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Old 06-02-2009, 03:38 PM   #3
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Wiring can't be this hard


Yes, incoming & main are the same. I understand...black, white & ground. I've done a lot of around the house wiring before & had no problems but I think the "pigtail" reference from my neighbor confused me. The problem comes in the "cutting in" to the main power line (from house) before getting to the gh switch & getting that power to the ts switch to keep the power separate to each switch. Before, when they were linked together from gh to ts if I turn on lights in gh they came on in ts also. If lights in gh were out no lights would come on in ts when i flipped switch. Rest easy. I'm extremely careful. Yes 14/2-this is thicker than the existing wire (12/2?) maybe. No subpanels, no underground.
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:55 PM   #4
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No 14/2 is not thicker than 12/2. And if you plan to "cut in" to the existing main, you need to do it using an approved box, in an accessible location. And unfortunately I agree with the previous poster, you seem to be very far behind the curve in terms of performing this project safely and correctly. You should consider getting a neighbor or friend WITH EXPERIENCE to help you, you can only get so far over the Internet with people who do not know you, have never seen your site, and have no idea what your general level of electrical competence is.
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Old 06-02-2009, 05:58 PM   #5
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You heard it here folks, wiring can't be that hard. That settles it for me. There's obviously no need for an electrical industry, because it is not that hard, so I'm changing careers to something that takes real intelligence: drunkard...
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Old 06-02-2009, 06:40 PM   #6
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Electricgoober- your name may say it all-

Not to be funny but there is nothing wrong with DIY wiring as long as you know what the hell you are doing. You needed some familiarity first with the circuit and how you were to gain power from the existing circuit before you changed anything. You claim it can't be that hard but you didn't get it! Power is coming into the gh- the power going to the ts lights is previously taken from a switch which turned on the ts lights along with the gh. You need to seperate the incoming power (line) and bring unswitched power to the ts first then it can be wired there with a switch to control lights in the ts. As I see it in your previous setup-- ts will only have power when the gh light is on.

Also, knowing the gauge and type of wire/cable is rather important when doing wiring as well as what a pigtail is and what it means. If in doubt STOP and get some help from an electrical knowledgeable person or a licensed electrician.
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Last edited by handyman78; 06-02-2009 at 06:42 PM.
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Old 06-02-2009, 06:46 PM   #7
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Wiring can't be this hard


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Electricgoober- your name may say it all-

Not to be funny but there is nothing wrong with DIY wiring as long as you know what the hell you are doing. You needed some familiarity first with the circuit and how you were to gain power from the existing circuit before you changed anything. You claim it can't be that hard but you didn't get it! Power is coming into the gh- the power going to the ts lights is previously taken from a switch which turned on the ts lights along with the gh. You need to seperate the incoming power (line) and bring unswitched power to the ts first then it can be wired there with a switch to control lights in the ts. As I see it in your previous setup-- ts will only have power when the gh light is on.

Also, knowing the gauge and type of wire/cable is rather important when doing wiring as well as what a pigtail is and what it means. If in doubt STOP and get some help from an electrical knowledgeable person or a licensed electrician.
Very Good Advice
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Old 06-02-2009, 07:10 PM   #8
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Wiring can't be this hard


but guys, the inspector will let him know of any possible errors he may have made during the inspection since, of course, he pulled a permit, so all's well and everyone's safe!

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