Electrical Wiring in the Home/wiring light

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Question
QUESTION: Hi,
I have an outside light on my detached garage that use to work from a switch inside the house and i was trying to add a plug and somehow I have now messed it up. The house was built in 1947 and has three wires going to garage. I have power on in the garage, but I cannot figure out how to get the outside light to work from the switch. I appreciate your help.

Thanks,
Bill

ANSWER: Ditch the receptacle and put it back how it was.
Then draw out wiring and ask for direction

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

QUESTION: Yes, that is my plan but I don't know how it was wired and I need your help with getting things back to where they were.

Thanks,
Bill

ANSWER: well, you are mostly screwed.
There are a handful of ways to have done it right in the first place, and loads of ways to have done it wrong, even with just three wires.
Did it turn on or off from either end?
Was it operational from either end no matter what was done at the other end?
Was there originally any outlet at the garage except for the controlled light?
Have you interfered with the switch at the house end at all?
Overhead or underground to garage from house?
How many wires are in the box at the garage? [excluding the wires for the receptacle you tried to add]
If it is overhead, are there other lights hanging from the wires that feed the garage which are controlled by the same switches?

https://archive.org/details/HouseWiringMadeEasyAPracticalGuideForTheElectricianAndHomeOwner

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

QUESTION: Did it turn on or off from either end?
Yes, there is a switch in the house.
Was it operational from either end no matter what was done at the other end?
If i take the wires that come inside the garage from the house I can make it an always on condition.
Was there originally any outlet at the garage except for the controlled light?
No. The only switch exists in the house.
Have you interfered with the switch at the house end at all?
I have not touched the switch in the house, just the wires in the garage.
Overhead or underground to garage from house?
Underground.
How many wires are in the box at the garage? [excluding the wires for the receptacle you tried to add]
Three wires come in. Hot, common and switch. Two wires continue in the garage to give everything power, that still works fine.
If it is overhead, are there other lights hanging from the wires that feed the garage which are controlled by the same switches?
N/A, since they are underground.

Thanks,
Bill

Answer
Still unclear

There is a switch in the house and there is a switch in the garage.
They both controlled the outside light?
Was there an inside garage light which worked separately?
...or one that worked with the outside light?


When you took the switch in the garage apart, how many wires from the house attached to the switch directly? 2?
and one wire from the outside light attached to the switch as well?

Also, one wire from the house passed through the box at the switch and was attached to one wire that goes to the light outside?

Were there three wires attached to the garage switch? at three distinct terminals? or two?
Was there any writing on the switch, and is there any on the switch at the house?  or did both switches have no label at all on the toggle. Single pole switches have on/off stamped or formed in the handle.

If you open the switch box at the house end, how many wires are on the switch? How many terminals? Colors?

Colors at garage?

Is there a junction box where the wire goes underground at the house? Any wires added to the ones from the house switch?

I have been doing this for forty years and still draw circuits and boxes out when I remove devices. The problem you have created is the reason why I do that. You always need to be able to return a circuit to the state in which you first found it. You can't do that unless you know how it was.

Draw the wiring out and send me a drawing of the wiring, showing all outlets and devices connected.

Then call me at 610-299-0452. We need to talk. It sounds like you may have an installation which is not kosher, but was used for a while by some installers. I have made these work again in the past. regards
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This site answers questions related to home electrical wiring, home wiring, general electrical help,and other electrical questions related to aleternating current (AC). You can find help on the National Electical Code, home electrical issues, wiring electrical outlets, installing lighting, electrical grounding, and general electrical help for do-it-yourself projects not require an electrician. If you do not see your home electrical wiring question answered in this area then please ask your electrical wiring question here

Electrical Wiring in the Home

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Robert Wilber

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Licensed Philadelphia electrician serving Delaware, Chester, Montgomery and Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania. I install and repair residential, commercial and industrial wiring and lighting. Troubleshooting and repair of problems that stump other people is my favorite. I am willing to help people figure out why things don`t work. I understand motor controls, transformers and machine wiring. I do not teach basics to novices or do free design work.

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Experience in the area I have 44 years experience in residential, commercial and industrial electrical construction and repair, 480 volts and below. This is not to be confused with one week repeated two thousand times.

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44 years experience in residential, commercial and industrial electrical construction and repair

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