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Hi, this is my first question.

I opened up an outlet in my garage, in order to tap into it for a new outside outlet. Should be easy.

When I pulled the existing GFCI out of the outlet box, I found this (photo):
  1. hot and neutral wires attached to load terminals
  2. Yellow sticker covering the line terminals
  3. BARE-ENDED hot and neutral wires not connected to anything

I turned the power back on and used my tester: yes, the bare-ended black wire is live. I turned the power back off.

I have no idea what these 'orphans' are attached to. I moved in last fall, the house & garage were built in 2000 so I would have expected it was to code. I haven't noticed any nonfunctional lights or outlets in the garage. Is it safe to cap these with wire nuts as long as they stay in the box?
 

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A "Handy Husband"
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Something amiss. If the only wires are connected to the load terminals the receptacle cannot work. Are sure those wires did not pull free from the line terminals when you pulled the receptacle out?

Sent from my RCT6A03W13E using Tapatalk
 

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The picture may be misleading my old lying eyes but it looks like the hot on one cable being used is returning to the neutral on the other cable. If that be true, correct it and then nut or tape off the unused wires.

Could be something else wrong but need to see more of the recept.
 

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What type of tester did you use, a non-contact type. You should use a multi-meter or volt meter. A cheap non-digital is best for DIY.
 

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My guess. The downstream connection, where ever it is, has a fault that was tripping the GFCI so it was left disconnected.
The tape covers the LOAD terminals not the LINE terminals, unless someone was able to peel it off and move it.
 

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Exactly. As brric says, normally the tape covers the LOAD terminals. So *are you sure*? If the wires are actually on LINE, then that's fine and normal; the last guy had the wisdom to not attempt to use LOAD perhaps because he had no use for it. Which is good. Everything should be on LINE, except for a downline which you fully understand and want to provide GFCI protection to.

However, if you actually do mean LOAD... Early-mid GFCI receps had a problem: the sockets had a hard-copper connection to the LOAD screws. If you hooked the GFCI backwards, the sockets would work. The GFCI protection would not, and anything connected to LINE would not work. That would not explain what the warning tape is doing on LINE, unless the installer did that.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
rjniles: I'm 100% sure the wires didn't pull out of the line terminals. On the left side of the outlet you can sort of see the yellow sticker covering the silver line terminal; sticker was also on the other line terminal. Therefore-

joed and seaharper: Yes, the yellow stickers were on LINE.

surferdude2: YES! I took a closer look because you pointed this out, and the hot wire from the right cable and the neutral from the left cable were attached to load. Therefore I think this outlet is one in a series of GFCIs.

All: For my new outdoor outlet I am going to try tapping into the hot wire from the right (hopefully upstream) cable. I've already separately capped the mystery wires. I'll let you know what happens.

daveb1: I used a Non-Contact Tester.

Note: I can't be positive the power on this end of the garage was working. Before I turned the power off to begin, I used the tester on the outlet and outlet #2. There was a beep on both. However, I did not plug anything into them, like a lamp, to verify they worked.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
surferdude2's observation opened the door to the solution! I reasoned that the mystery wires were the downstream cable, had been backstabbed into the load terminals, and pulled out when I started my project.

I did tap the upstream cable for the new outlet, and hooked everything up as shown in the attached sketch (ground wires not shown). it works! Got the power back on just as the sun went down.

Thanks everyone, for helping me think it through.
 

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I think you need to find out which cable is the source (Line) voltage.

With a voltmeter (NOT a non-contact tester), check for 120v between the Black and White wires of the SAME cable (there's only 2 cables coming in, right?).

Whichever cable is the source, connect them to the LINE side. Then connect the others to the LOAD side.

BTW: wait for confirmation from the pros, as I could be wrong here.
 

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I concur with @surferdude2, in that the two cables servicing this receptacle box are split. One hot from one cable and the neutral from another cable. Click on the picture and enlarge it twice. Something just ain't right. Both cables need tracing. If the bared black wire is hot, you need to know where it is coming from.s Use a multimeter to test it, as suggested.
 

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A "Handy Husband"
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surferdude2's observation opened the door to the solution! I reasoned that the mystery wires were the downstream cable, had been backstabbed into the load terminals, and pulled out when I started my project.

I did tap the upstream cable for the new outlet, and hooked everything up as shown in the attached sketch (ground wires not shown). it works! Got the power back on just as the sun went down.

Thanks everyone, for helping me think it through.
After your first post I asked if the wires had pulled out of the receptacle. You said no and now you say they did??

Sent from my RCT6A03W13E using Tapatalk
 
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