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Old 11-10-2019, 08:32 PM   #1
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Can someone help me understand this wiring?


I was replacing a light fixture in my garage today and found some wiring that didn't make sense in the box. Hopefully someone here can help me understand what is going on in there. There are 2 cables of aluminum 12/2 going into the box and 2 cables of copper 14/2 coming out. I've attached a diagram for clarification, but my two main questions are:
How can I be sure that the white wire is a neutral, and if it is should it be connected to the black 'hot' wires like it is?
Also wouldn't it make more sense for the cable feeding the outlet to simply pass through the box rather than be spliced into the lighting circuit?

Thanks for any help
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Old 11-10-2019, 09:16 PM   #2
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Re: Can someone help me understand this wiring?


The white wire connected to the black should be marked with black like a wrap of tape. it goes to the switch and the power comes back from the switch on the black wire to the light. The light neutral is wired directly to the other neutrals.

Aluminum and copper should have special connectors.
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Old 11-10-2019, 09:29 PM   #3
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Re: Can someone help me understand this wiring?


Neutral is always white but white is not always neutral.
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Old 11-10-2019, 09:35 PM   #4
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Re: Can someone help me understand this wiring?


With a mix of copper an aluminum wiring, you need to keep the two metals separate from each other. Never twist them together in a wire nut.



The proper connector to use is the Alumiconn connector. Since you have one place where there are 4 wires connected together, connect the 2 copper wires together with a third copper pigtail wire, using a conventional wire nut. Then connect the pigtail and the 2 aluminum wires using a 3-port Alumiconn connector.



Avoid using the Ideal purple wire nuts, as they are not recognized as being safe by the Consumer Products Safety Commission.
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