Help with Outside Garage Lighting

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by Afrowookie, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. Feb 15, 2017 #181

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    I was thinking of maybe a low voltage switch like a thermostat wire, running back to the house in the unexplained conduit.:confused:
     
  2. Feb 27, 2017 #182

    Afrowookie

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    Hi again,

    Sorry it took so long for me to get back with my findings. I have been busier than I thought. Any who, I did a little more investigating and this is what I found yesterday.

    So before I said I thought the wire with the red from the suspect switch at the house was going to the non working receptacle in the garage. After reinspecting the wires at both the switch and the receptacle I noticed that the copper wires at both ends were of different gauges. The switch side with the red had bigger copper wire and insulation and the part was off-white or older looking than the garage receptacle side. That side the wires were the same size as the majority of the wiring throughout the house switches and receptacles and the color was much whiter and cleaner looking than the switch side. Which to me indicates newer wiring.

    So now I am lost as to what goes to the garage. Looks like I have to open everything up in the house to first find this red wire part to eliminate it and to at least see where it goes and then try to look for the receptacle wires.
     
  3. Feb 27, 2017 #183

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    I think you will find the rid wire goes to an outlet in the living room. The garage is a different problem but best we find that red wire first.
     
  4. Feb 28, 2017 #184

    Afrowookie

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    Ok, probably tomorrow I will start opening up switches around the house.
     
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  5. Mar 8, 2017 #185

    Afrowookie

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    Back again, sorry again for taking so long with results, just very busy.

    So after the suggestion about trying to find the other end of the red wire to that switch and to first look on the same circuit for that red wire. Here is the what I found. I did find 3 red wires on two separate switch boxes. Upon further investigation on the red wire hooked up to the no-working suspect garage light switch, I noticed that wire has the green fabric looking sheathing on the outside(older wiring). Also the white, black, and red wires that come from it are all bigger gauge than the rest of the wiring in that switch box or for any other switch box from what I can see.

    So far all wiring I have seen so far have all the same size/gauge of wiring except for that wiring going to suspect switch, which leads me to think that wiring is not on the same circuit but may go somewhere else in the house. I see a lot of green fabric type wires going into the breaker panel.

    Anywho attached are the pics of the red wiring on the two other switch boxes that I found. What do you think? And where should I go from here?

    [​IMG]


    Forgot to mention that red wire found going to the flood light switch to the rear of house also have the green fabric sheathing but the wire gauge is like all the rest = smaller.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
  6. Mar 8, 2017 #186

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    So you never found the green cable with the red wire anywhere?
    There are a few reasons for using a three wire including a red. But you are correct in looking for the one with green fabric.

    If you have any breakers that are 20 amp, they would require and bigger wire.
    15 amp breakers feed 14 gauge wire and 20 amp feed 12 gauge.
    12 is bigger than 14.

    It may not mean anything as there would be no rule on over sized wire.

    The green wrap on your cable indicates that it would have been original to the house and all the cable that has vinyl wrap is newer.

    We have not seen the older wire in the garage.

    Where is the breaker box?
     
  7. Mar 8, 2017 #187

    Snoonyb

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    The 14/3 in your photos may be a 3 way switch arrangement mentioned in post #18.
     
  8. Mar 9, 2017 #188

    nealtw

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    Picture didn't show up earlier.

    Everything in all three boxes go off with one 15 amp breaker?
     
  9. Mar 9, 2017 #189

    Afrowookie

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    Breaker box is in the basement. Is it safe to open the box up and just take a look to see if I can see this 12 gauge wire? I am sure if that's the next step then I should turn off main breaker first before doing anything near the breaker panel.
     
  10. Mar 9, 2017 #190

    nealtw

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    Take a few pictures while you have it open.
     
  11. Mar 9, 2017 #191

    slownsteady

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    It is generally safe to take off the cover and look inside your service panel. There are a few things to remember though:
    Even if you shut off the main breaker, the large wires leading to it are still HOT!
    Do not reach in unless you are confident in what you are trying to do.
    General advice has always been to empty your pockets of anything conductive....just in case.
    And I have been told that it is good practice to place a board on the floor in front of the box and stand on that......again, just in case.

    All that being said, you can usually see where the wires lead - to which breakers - without having to fish around in there. You will probably want to check the 20 amp breakers first, because they should have the thicker 12 gauge wire.
    The red wire may not show up in the service panel. It may have been a runner between a light and a switch.
    I think I remember you saying that the original red wire was cut short and not connected to anything; did you you ever test it for current? Because the ones in your pix today are connected....
     
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  12. Mar 9, 2017 #192

    nealtw

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    Do you have access to this stuff in the basement so you can see where it all goes, junction boxes anything?

    thumb2_garage-conduits-1587.jpg
     
  13. Mar 11, 2017 #193

    Afrowookie

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    Here is the pic of what my breaker panel in the basement looks like. As you can see, the big gray wire to the 60 amp breaker appears to be going to the garage. My pic of the big conduit going into garage when panel on the box was removed I see a big gray wire. Also the panel in the garage had gray wire going to it and connected to 4 X 15 amp breakers.

    Now for the bigger gauge wire that was connected to the non-working switch. I only see one set of wires that resemble the wires connected to that switch and it's they are the ones connected to the 30 amp breaker in the pic.

    Doesn't make sense to me that only one light switch would be connected to a 30 amp breaker. What's my next step now?


    [​IMG]
     
  14. Mar 12, 2017 #194

    afjes_2016

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    Only from what I can see from the picture this appears to be a sub-panel as it looks as though the ground bars are separated from the neutral bars. I can't see if there i a bond between the two anywhere from this picture. If this is a sub-panel you may have another one somewhere else in the house.

    If you think this panel feeds the garage then shut off the breaker you believe goes to the garage (I would think the 60amp) and see if you lose power in the garage then.

    Also, a light switch should not be running off of a 30amp breaker; well technically anyway. Why do you believe a light switch if running off a 30amp breaker?
     
  15. Mar 12, 2017 #195

    Afrowookie

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    That is the only panel in the house. I think that the wires coming from 30amp breaker might be the wires going to a switch that doesn't work in my house. This switch I think controls the exterior garage lights. It had a timer switch before but I swapped it out with a normal switch. There is power going to it but still the switch seems to do nothing and the garage lights never come on.

    I was asked to open the panel to try and look for this wire. The wires I am looking for are a little bigger gauge than all the rest of the wires in that circuit, like the ones on the 30amp breaker. But after inspection it appears that the wires from the switch might be going somewhere else, maybe a junction box instead of straight to the panel.

    Now where do I go from here? I am beginning to think I need some sort of wire tracer, the one that can detect through walls for my problem.
     
  16. Mar 13, 2017 #196

    afjes_2016

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    Sorry, conductors going to a switch for exterior garage lights would not be coming from a 30amp breaker. Something does not make sense.
     
  17. Mar 13, 2017 #197

    nealtw

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    When you were checking the power at the front switch you also turned off the breaker, which breaker turned off the power to that switch.

    the 30 amp pair will be the dryer.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
  18. Mar 13, 2017 #198

    slownsteady

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    AW: Have you made a map of all your circuits? If we can't trace this wire, then we may find it through the process of elimination. Turn off one breaker at a time and see what stops working in your whole house. Make a chart of what each breaker controls.
     
  19. Mar 13, 2017 #199

    Afrowookie

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    The breaker for that switch was a 15 amp breaker. All of the breakers are labelled on the panel.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Mar 13, 2017 #200

    nealtw

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    Did you see my post 192?
     

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