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Rick
Rick, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 467
Experience:  10 yrs as a electrician. Have my own company.
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OK, I have another question for you. More complicated. 1.

This answer was rated:

OK, I have another question for you. More complicated.

1. I have an outlet and a switch in one box, both on the same circuit.

2. For the outlet, it appears to be at the end of the line. One romex coming in, it works OK I think. The only issue is the 3-light tester showed I had hot/neutral reversed even though I had black to brass, white to silver. Since the tester said I had it backwards, I reversed it and now the tester says it wired OK.

3. The problem is with the light switch

Sparky :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm here to answer any of your electrical questions.

Sparky :

As far as the reversed wires somewhere before that point the wires got mixed up.

Sparky :

Do you have a voltage tester to verify what the plug in tester are correct?

Customer:

Yes, I just tested the outlet and it shows 120 volts.

Customer:

If I have the switch on, the outlet works but the light does not turn on.

Customer:

If I have the switch off, the outlet does not work.

Sparky :

Sounds like some wires are mixed up in there. Is this something that just started happening?

Customer:

I seem to have lost part of what I sent in as the question.

Customer:

Give me a minute and I will re-type it.

Sparky :

ok

Customer:

I just changed the outlet and switch (my wife wanted white rather than tan). The light switch does not work and is causing the circuit breaker to trip. I have from the second romex a white wire attached to the switch. I also have a black wire attached to the switch. The black wire is a piggy tail connected at a wire nut to black wire from the romex and another old wire (pre-romex) that I assume goes to the light, but I could be wrong.

Sparky :

Can you take a picture and post it?

Customer:

yes. I assume that I use the file attachment (paperclip) to do that? It will take me a couple of minutes.

Sparky :

No problem. Sounds great. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX the paperclip icon

Sparky :

I see you're trying to send the pictures through your iPhone unfortunately they are not coming through. sorry. Lets try this another way. How many cables(romex) are coming in?We'll call them cable #1 #2 and so on. Explain to me how they are connected. Thanks.

Customer:

Cable 1 is connected to the outlet. Cable 1 works.

Customer:

Cable 2 is connected to the switch. The switch does not work.

Customer:

The black wire on cable two is connected by a wire nut to the switch and to a third single line (not romex). The white wire on cable two is connected to the switch.

Sparky :

So there are only 2 cables and this mystery wire, correct?

Customer:

Yes. The mystery wire is on the top of the box, headed to the ceiling where the light is.

Sparky :

Cable 1 is only going to the receptacle, and goes no where else, and is fine, yes?

Customer:

Yes, until I turn the switch off and then the circuit breaker flips.

Sparky :

Very strange. Especially the single wire. This is against code. So someone had to mess with the wiring in there at some point. To find out what is going on you're going to have to take apart the light that it controls as well so we can find out where that wire is coming from. Did this problem just start, or was this an existing problem?

Customer:

Everything worked fine. I was just trying to change the switch and the outlet to a different color. Somehow, I must have gotten the re-wiring to the switch or maybe to the outlet and switch wrong.

Sparky :

What wires are hot?

Sparky :

When the breaker is on.

Customer:

I will try to figure out if the mystery wire is hot. Then I will try to figure out if the cable two is hot.

Customer:

It will probably take me 5 minutes

Sparky :

ok

Customer:

Cable two is hot. I tested its black to white (hot), its black to ground (hot) and its black to the outlet's ground (hot).

Customer:

The mystery wire is not hot.

Sparky :

What about at the light fixture? What wires do you have there? and what wires are connected to the light?

Customer:

I don't know. Unfortunately, is a very difficult box to access. In the ceiling, with a heavy complicated ceiling light. I put the ceiling light fixture in about 3 months ago. I don't recall the wiring in there being difficult. If I have to open the ceiling box, I think I would rather call a local electrician.

Sparky :

I think that is going to be your best option. This way you can have that single wire corrected anyway. The last thing I want to do is guide you into having a eventual fire.

Customer:

OK, thanks for the effort.

Rick and 2 other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Mark. I hope you got your situation taken care of. I wish I could've been more help with this situation than I was. Thank you for the rating and the bonus. Greatly appreciated.

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