Electrical Wiring in the Home/Switch-outlet wiring

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Question
QUESTION: I have installed a switch outlet combo device in the garage. The switch is to control two ceiling lamps I installed. I removed the brass tab connecting the two black terminals on the device. I connected two pigtails to the hot lead; one went to the brass screw on the switch, the other on the black screw on the outlet. The black wire to the ceiling fixtures went on the black screw on the switch. The neutrals from the power and the load are connected through a pigtail to the white screw. The grounds are pigtailed to the device as well. My outlet analyzer shows the outlet to be wired properly, but when I throw the switch, the lights don't go on and the analyzer registers hot-ground reversed. With the switch on, power flows through it when I connect a voltage tester to ground, but not to neutral.

ANSWER: David,

The way you say you have it connected in theory should work however your analyzer is telling you something different which suggests the wiring you have there may not be what you think it is.

On a side note it was not necessary to break the tab between the two dark screws. You only needed one "hot" to either of those terminals, the lights would be connected to the brass screw on the switch, the neutral (white) to the silver screw and it all would work fine in theory at least. But it should still work the way you did it so something isn't what it seems to be.

Bob

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Bob,

Thanks for the reply. I wonder if the problem could be a loose neutral somewhere in the circuit causing this? It's been too cold to work in the garage lately, so I haven't re-checked the connections.

Thanks,

David

Answer
Yes recheck everything and see what you come up with.

Try this, if you take your "hot" and connect it directly to the wire for the lights, it should work, if it doesn't then somethings up. Like wise connect the hot to the dark screw for the recept and the white to the silver, plug something into it and see if it works. You could have a bad switch, those combination switch's are notorious for going south quickly, I don;t know if your working with something used or new but either way you could have a bad one. Doing these tests will help determine that.

Bob
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Electrical Wiring in the Home

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PASCACK VALLEY ELECTRIC Bob Mossman

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Licensed Master Electrician (32 years) 6165B Contractor in Closter New Jersey with 40 years total experience in Residential - Commercial - Industrial work. Emergency Service - General trouble shooting and repair work - ONAN & GENERAC generator installation - Paddle fans - Kitchen & Bath exhaust fans - AC lines - Smoke detectors - Telephone lines - Cable TV lines - Computer network cabling - Exterior lighting - Recessed lighting - Security lighting - (200 - 150 - 100 amp service up grades) - Electric Heat - New circuits - New appliance hook ups - and more ! FREE ESTIMATES 201-358-1552 Fully Insured

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Licensed contractor in Closter New Jersey.

Education/Credentials
"The Frank Williams School of Electrical Construction". My dear old boss is 100 ! and still going God Bless him. I started working for "Tenafly Electric" right out of high school at 19. He was tough but I learned more working for him in 8 and half years than most guys. We did mostly industrial work while doing some commercial and residential so I was fortunate to be exposed to all 3 areas of electrical construction. The guys I worked with were all good guys and I stay in touch with some of them still. Most of us went into our own buisness's which says something about the caliber of the guys I worked with. We had some interesting clients : Wella Corp. of shampoo fame, Farah Fawcett etc, I didn't buy shampoo for 10 years. It was a great place to work. Pan Am the former airline just before they went under, another great place to work, nice clean environment. C&C Metals, the largest button manufacturer in the US at that time, a not so clean environment but a very interesting place to work, lots of machine's cranking out buttons of all kinds but you had to be on your toes, it was a potentially dangerous place to be . All kinds of action going on around you.

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