Self Induced Electrical Problem :( - General DIY Discussions - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum


Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > DIY Repair > General DIY Discussions

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-01-2008, 07:12 PM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 3
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Self induced electrical problem :(


Hello all,

I've gotten myself into some trouble this weekend. I was cutting a new hole for a new jack in my kitchen a little too close to an existing electrical switch/receptacle apparently and ended up cutting the white wire in half and took some of the insulation of the red - sparks flew, pops popped and smoke followed. I can't believe I was so careless.

Anyway, after the initial shock (no pun intended - I didn't actually get shocked or anything thankfully), I checked everything in the kitchen to see what wasn't going to work and my dishwasher and garbage disposal don't work. So I was able to get the dishwasher to work by 'repairing' the white wire. However, my garbage disposal still does not work for some reason.

I checked the breaker (it's one of those breakers that are 2 but the switches are attached), and they seemed to be fine, but I flipped them off/on anyway. I've replaced the receptacle (it is a 'split' receptacle - the top was for the disposal, controlled by a switch, and the bottom is always hot - for the dishwasher) for the disposal/dishwasher, still nothing.

Then I thought maybe the switch for the disposal went bad, so I removed it temporarily and wire nutted them together. Which brings another question - will this work properly? ie should it give me the same result as having a working switch in the 'On' position?

Another thing is that I swear that when I was using my voltage detector to test for voltage, that my red wire was still getting voltage down at the receptacle even though I had the two red wires (that are normally connected to the switch) disconnected. Assuming this is true, what should I look for? And of course, even if it's not, what should I look for?

The only thing that I thought of that haven't done yet is replace the breaker in the main panel, but after thinking of that possibility further, I don't see how that's possible considering that it seems that power still seems to be going through that red wire (for the disposal part of the receptacle) and the black wire (for the dishwasher part of the receptacle).

I will be happy to supply more info if needed, or draw up a quick diagram of how I believe the wiring is configured.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

thanks.

Advertisement

domiflichi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2008, 08:14 PM   #2
Electrical Contractor
 
jbfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Newnan GA
Posts: 5,955
Rewards Points: 2,306
Default

Self induced electrical problem :(


You are lucky you did not get hurt. What were you cutting with?
The first thing you need to do is turn the breakers off.
You said you took insulation from the red wire, but you fixed the white wire to get your DW working. You are going to need to remove the wire below the cut place, install the ends into a box, and replace the wire from there to the switch.
We need to know what wires go into the switch box, and how they are connected.

Mods, can you move this to the electrical forum?

Advertisement

__________________
Yes I am a Pirate, 200 years too late. "Jimmy Buffett"
jbfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2008, 08:52 PM   #3
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 3
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Self induced electrical problem :(


Jbfan, thanks for your response.

Yeah, I know. I was cutting with an orbital jig saw...and I know that in itself sounds crazy, but it's in a weird location kind of where there is about 1 1/2" thick plywood behind the drywall, so I didn't see cutting it by hand as an option at that time.

I've got the breakers off ever since I was done troubleshooting my problem. I know at least that much.

Yeah, I'm not sure if I was clear on the insulation off the red wire or not, but just to be sure...that was part of the accident - my saw cut the white wire in half, and cut a little insulation off the red. So you're saying I need to get rid of the exposed/bare part of the wire, and reconnect everything in a new box basically?

Ok, for how the wires go:
As far as I can tell, this is how my wires go:

I have a black cable (yeah, not your standard beige-colored Romex cable - I guess because this is a 20-amp circuit?) that goes from my panel to the box that contains the switch, and then continues from there down to the receptacle below the kitchen sink. This black cable contains 4 wires - bare/ground, white, black and red, and this is how they go (again, as far as I can tell):

The ground wire is wire-nutted with the other ground wires in that box that contains the switch (this said box that I've mentioned a couple of times contains a GFCI recpetacle too), and then there is a little pigtail coming out of the big bunch of ground wires that are all wire-nutted together that is going to the switch.
The white wire coming into the box (from the panel) is wire-nutted with the white wire exiting the box (going to the receptacle below the kitchen sink)
The black wire is doing the same as the white wire.
The red wire coming into the box (from the panel) is attached to one terminal of the swtich, and the red wire exiting the box (going to the receptacle below the kitchen sink) is attached to the other terminal on the switch.
All the references to 'the switch' that I just mentioned are referring to the switch that turns on/off my garbage disposal.

Now, for the receptacle below the sink that controls my dishwasher and garbage disposal:
The red wire is connected to the top-right terminal on this receptacle.
The white and black wire are both attached to the bottom terminals, one on either side...I know it probably matters which one is which, but I can't remember right now.
And one of the little tabs is broken on this receptacle - the one on the right.
So when this thing works, the top receptacle is controlled by the switch - for the garbage disposal, and the bottom one is always hot - for the dishwasher.

And all the above wiring that I described is going off memory, so I should probably check tonight when I get home and report back to make sure that I've got it right.

P.S. Sorry if I posted in the wrong forum - I thought since this was a 'repair', it should go here - I saw the 'Electrical' forum, but since that was under the 'Home Improvement' heading, I thought this one fit more appropriately. My bad.
domiflichi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2008, 09:01 PM   #4
Electrical Contractor
 
jbfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Newnan GA
Posts: 5,955
Rewards Points: 2,306
Default

Self induced electrical problem :(


If the DW works after you repaired the white wire, then it makes sense that the red wire is cut also.
All splices have to remain accessible.
If you have a basement or crawl space, that is where I woould make the splice.
The way you decsribed the wireing is correct.
Look for the cut red wire!
__________________
Yes I am a Pirate, 200 years too late. "Jimmy Buffett"
jbfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2008, 09:27 PM   #5
Peeves
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Hallandale, Florida
Posts: 2
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Self induced electrical problem :(


Well I do hope everything works out. I had the same problem before actually. And jbfan is right, the splices need to be accessible. Wear proper electrical gears by the way..hate to know you get zapped from doing this repair
jump2top08 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2008, 11:15 AM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: 'burbs of Detroit, MI
Posts: 467
Rewards Points: 250
Default

Self induced electrical problem :(


Before you get crazier than you need to with breakers and wires, Badger brand disposals have a very small reset button on the bottom that occasionally trips. I thought my old unit was fried, bought a new one, and in uninstalling the old one I saw the button on the bottom. Pushed in and we're back in business. Just a thought before you go rewiring the kitchen....
moneymgmt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2008, 09:12 AM   #7
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 3
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Self induced electrical problem :(


I'm baaack!

And still alive! Well, I've got my outlet/receptacle working! I originally was going to pay an acquaintance (an electrician) to re-run the cable I needed to for me, but he just got a new job and works tons of OT and is always away on the weekends. So eventually, instead of forking out who knows how many hundreds of dollars to pay someone to do it, I bought 12/3 cable, a jbox and a few other things to do it myself.
So I cut a fat hole in a celing-type area, cut the existing cable, tore it out of the wall (the red wire was barely attached - I was wrong - I thought it was only 'scathed'), and ran the new one. Made all the connections, and turned back on my power, and the dishwasher worked as usual but the disposal did not still!!!
I couldn't believe it. So after I cleared my head, I started thinking of more troubleshooting techniques and started testing for voltage, and that's when I found out the next problem - no voltage to the switch! (Actually there was about 30volts...is that supposed to be right when there's 'no' voltage?) So I went all the way back to the breaker, and guess what - no voltage there either!
So I made yet another trip to Home Depot, bought a breaker (it was actually one of those double ones), replaced the bad one, and voila!!! I've got a disposal again! Yes! The only thing is that after that first successful test, my disposal seems to be going out because it wouldn't really turn on properly after that - it just made a 'hum' sound until I tested it a few hours later - it's like it only wants to run for a few seconds...but that's a whole nuther story I guess.

Thank you everyone for your help!

P.S. I thought I'd post my schematic for everyone to have a clearer picture of how my wiring was/is. The only difference between 'before' and 'after' is the new jbox that I installed (as shown in the picture)

domiflichi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2008, 09:33 AM   #8
Electrical Contractor
 
jbfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Newnan GA
Posts: 5,955
Rewards Points: 2,306
Default

Self induced electrical problem :(


I was wondering if you had gotten kilt or something. Glad you came back and told us your story.

Advertisement

__________________
Yes I am a Pirate, 200 years too late. "Jimmy Buffett"
jbfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Laundry Room Electrical problem, need help. Twinky Electrical 8 02-27-2008 06:29 AM
Major electrical problem!? Rexkwondo Electrical 7 02-06-2008 05:13 PM
Mystery Electrical Problem sippin Electrical 14 11-07-2007 11:42 AM
electrical outlet problem ? BEN17 Electrical 1 07-29-2007 07:23 PM
Perplexing electrical problem prglor Electrical 4 05-30-2007 03:20 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts