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AssuredElectrical, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4241
Experience:  Contractor-42+ Years in the ElectricalTrade
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I have weird setup in my garage outlets. There is a box with

Customer Question

I have weird setup in my garage outlets. There is a box with 3 set of wires coming out. One set goes out to outside light post, second set comes from inside light switch and is connected to an outlet, the third set is connected to the switch that controls
all of the garage outlets but is caped. All of the other garage outlets work fine. There are two problems: 1. the black and white wire on the set that is connected to garage outlet switch are hot. When I connect the meter to black and ground I get 120, I connect
white to ground I get 120. I connect to white and black doesn't read (I was hoping I was lucky and had a 240 outlet). 2. The outlet from inside switch to outside light post works when the wire to outside light is not connected. But when I connect the outside
light to the outlet, it makes the outside gfic outlet that comes before the garage outlet trip and won't reset. I tested the outside light using and outlet and it worked. I tested the line going to that light using an outlet and it worked. Somehow when I hook
them both through the outlet it make the previous gfic trip. I'm connecting it with all of the grounds pigtailed and connected to box and outlet, and white and black on each side of the outlet.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 1 year ago.

Welcome. My name is ***** ***** would be glad to assist.

Lets first clear up the details of the situation.

1. What happened and why is there work being performed now on the switches/receptacles?

2.Please clarify what you have:

You have a switch box with 2 switches? Is that correct?

It has 3 cables, each having black,white and ground? Is this correct?

You want to do what with these switches?

Let me know and we can continue,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi,1. The wiring was like that when I bought the house.
2. The box is an outlet box with 3 set of wires. There are 2 switches inside the house. See picture attached.
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 1 year ago.

Looking at your diagram:

You have cable #1 connected to a switch
Cable #2 connected to a switch
Cable #3 connected to a switch
So, that means all 3 are connected as black and white on the switch

Is that correct?

WHAT are you trying to accomplish here?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Wire 2 is hooked to an outlet in the garage.
Wire 3 isn't hooked to anything.
Problem is:
1. When wire 3 is connected to the outlet of wire 2, the gfic on wire 2 trips.
2. Black AND white wire on wire 1 are hot. It's connected to switch for garage outlets and the other outlets work.
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 1 year ago.


You specified they were for switches, there is a huge difference in what the cables are used for and how they are connected.

If those cables are not for switches, then we need to know their use.

It will require to go to the other end and see how they are connected to any wires in the light junction boxes.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They are connected at the light like they should be, white to white, black to black, ground to ground.I have no idea why line 1 is hot on both. When I put a meter to black and ground it shows 120, the same thing when white and ground. I thought maybe a nail had gone through and black and white are touching somewhere.
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 1 year ago.

Ok, let me try to explain:

If a 2 wire cable is used to operate a light from a switch, the power is in the light. (when the switch uses the black and white)

You send down power on the white and return to the light on the black.

So, if it is connected in the light box with white to white and black to black , it is wrong

It should be connected white to the black hots in the light box and the black directly to the fixture black wires.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ahhh, that could be it. I've seen them done like that but aren't the white usually marked with black when they do that? Is there a way I can test if that's the case before trying it on the light fixture? Or the fact that they each show 120 when I test with ground confirmation enough.
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 1 year ago.

I do not know what has been done to this point?

If you only have the 3 cables in the box and they originally had switches on each on, it is the only explanation, as there is no other way they could have operated the lights.

You would only have power on ONE wire with the switch off. If you have power on both wires with the switch off or diconnected, someone has really messed up the wiring, as that is NEVER the case

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
When the switch is off, there is no power to line 1. When garage switch is on, Line 1 is hot on white AND black. When I connect Line 1 to an outlet and turn garage switch on, it just doesn't work (but the other outlets in the garage work.Line 2 is connected to switch for outside light and black wire is hot when switch is on, nothing when off. Line 2 is connected to an outlet and outlet works when switch is on. When I connect Line 3 that goes to the light to the outlet of Line 2, it makes the GFIC on line 2 trip.
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 1 year ago.


Will try to explain once more.

If the switches have a white and black, this is only power down and power up to the light.

There is NO NEUTRAL wire in the box, therefore it is impossible to power a receptacle.

It takes a hot wire and a neutral wire for anything to operate.

The reason the lights work, is because they have a neutral in the light boxes because that is where the power originates.

The receptacles out of the switch box, since there is no neutral in the switch box, there can be nothing else powered form that box, except to turn on the lights.

In order to get any receptacles operating from the switch box, you would have to pull another 2 wire cable from the garage light box and connect it to the power source and that would feed power down to the switch box and can be used for anything else like receptacles..


Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 1 year ago.

see below documents

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your patience in this riddle outlet in my garage. I did some more tests and here is what's happening. What does this situation tell you?With GARAGE switch ON, Line 1 tests 120 with black to ground, nothing with white to ground, and nothing with white to black. Nothing with switch off.With OUTSIDE LIGHT switch ON, Line 2 is connected to outlet and everything works.Line 3 is the line in the box is the line that goes out to light. I hooked up an 3 prong outlet to it and test it with another outlet and the line works fine. When I connect it to the outlet of Line 2, it makes a GFI outside trip.
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 1 year ago.


First, you are going to have to provide the exact wiring details with your comment:

" I hooked up an 3 prong outlet to it and test it with another outlet and the line works fine. When I connect it to the outlet of Line 2, it makes a GFI outside trip."

I just do not understand what you are trying to say here and why this is being done in the first place if the light works, why are you trying to combine 2 switch operations?

You cannot do that.

Or else your explanations confusing.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have drawn it out for you. Basically what I'm trying to figure out
1. what L1 is supposed to be and how it should be connected
2. figure out how to wire pole light to either switch (doesn't matter as long as it works)
3. Figure out what the configuration of the 3 wires supposed to be.
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 1 year ago.

Ok, thanks.

I have tried to explain the issue and what you can and canot do, so let me Opt out and put your question back to the open board for other experts here.

Maybe they can provide the needed information.

No need to respond, and no ratings need to be done until you get the info needed. it will actually delay the transfer, the site will contact you when the next expert posts information and any questions they may have.


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