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gso 05-07-2012 03:50 PM

Found Strange Wiring in Junction Box
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I'm hoping to wire my attic fan to a junction box in the attic. This is what I found in the junction box. I was hoping somebody could tell me what might be going on here, or how to proceed with wiring the attic fan directly to it.

I also don't know where these wires lead. I assume the big black wire is the load coming in. But I don't know why the white (neutral?) would be cut on the one cable.

I recently bought the house, so I'm finding all sorts of fun surprises. House is nearly 100 years old.

nealtw 05-07-2012 06:12 PM

This wire you listed as load, does it have a white that goes with it and does it have another wraping on it?

gso 05-07-2012 07:42 PM

nealtx...the load is a single wire with black cloth wrapping. There is no white (neutral) with it. The house is old with original wiring, so I've seen some funky things.

My thought is that the dark wire farthest to the left is somebody's laziness, just trying to carry the neutral back with whatever color wire.

nealtw 05-07-2012 07:57 PM

Sounds a little like knob and tube or left over parts, you should be able to get some idea where the wires are going to while you are in the attic.

kok328 05-07-2012 08:29 PM

Look like 1/2 of the workings of a "switch leg". The absence of a neutral wire and a fixture is puzzling.

gso 05-08-2012 06:12 AM

I'm just trying to run a hot and neutral from the attic fan to this. So, I guess I have two options. In both options, I run the hot to load and other hot. But in option one, I tie the neutral to that neutral and hot. Or option two, I tie the fan's neutral to the cut-off neutral.

I'm trying to avoid prying up the attic floor, peeling up the insulation, and disturbing other older-than-dirt wiring.

kok328 05-08-2012 06:59 AM

What I'm saying is that white wire in the middle is NOT a neutral.
Use a non-contact voltage detector to determine if power is running through all these wires.

nealtw 05-08-2012 07:13 AM

This box is either useless or dangerous.

gso 05-08-2012 07:21 AM

Just tested it. The white (and the gray connected to it) are hot. The "load" is really the only one that doesn't consistently light up the moment I touch the detector to it. It did once or twice but very inconsistent.

gso 05-08-2012 07:24 AM's probably both.

It's on a breaker with a three-way switch that might have something to do with it.

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