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  • Code violations or Inproper wiring...

    I want to see what kind of trouble people have run into when doing remodel work. And nicely discuss the solutions.

    At my in laws home someone had connected the neutrals wrong on a gfci. I went testing their small appliance circuits and found the gfci didn't trip. After finding the hot wire coming in from the panel It was a quick fix. I haven't seen any other problems since but I'm still having fun relabeling their panel. The people that redid the wiring didn't take the time to label anything.
    "Diplomacy is saying nice dodging until you can find a rock." Will Rogers
    "If a Monkey can do your job, are you in the right profession?

  • #2
    I don't know if this is a code violation or not. I did a remodel in my kitchen and found this. The light that was mounted over the kitchen sink was done like this. The romex just came out of the wall inside the cabinet and a hole was drilled in the bottom of the cabinet for the romex to pass through. The light fixture was a round incandescent ceiling type. It was just wire nutted to the romex and secured to the cabinet with wood screws, no box at all.
    SSG, U.S. Army
    Retired
    K.I.S.S., R.T.F.M.

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    • #3
      My neighbour called me over one night because he could not figure out why his washer would not work. Since he is not usually stupid I figured a breaker went bad so I brought a spare with me. After finding that all the breakers were hot I noticed a marret inside the panel - strange, panel was full so the guy tied two feeds to one breaker. A couple of marrets tucked up in the ceiling caught my eye, tugged on the wire and the basement lights went off . Went back home and got a junction box and my electrical kit. I fixed the rats nest above the panel and dropped in a duplex breaker to fix the marret inside the panel problem. Now that we have light again the fun began ,went to the washer plug and worked my way back. They fed the washer by cutting it into one of the lines that just happened to be running through the furnace room and did the same marretts in mid air trick like above the panel, this time the marrett only caught 2 of the 3 hot wires, the third (washer feed) was only making contact because the grounds were twisted tight keeping the wires close.
      Now this is a partially finished basement likely done by the same donkey that did this wiring so we started poking around and to keep this short found .... 3 more marretts only junctions, decided to pull it all down and found 6 more buried (guy used all short scraps for a basement plug run), wire run thru metal studs with no grommets. I pulled it all out and redid the entire basement including a home run for the washer.

      Got time for another story???

      I rented a basement apartment just after I got married. After living there for a week the landlord (lived upstairs) had asked me to reset the same breaker 3 times, I asked him what he was doing and he said that sometimes when he is using his treadmill his wife turns on the iron in another room and the breaker pops. Seems reasonable, left the breaker off went upstairs and found a live plug in the ironing room so she just switched plugs, I figured problem solved. About a week later he comes down and says that when he is using the treadmill the lights in his daughters room are flickering . Went upstairs and asked him to get on the treadmill, I was in the daughters room and sure enough the lights start to flicker and dim almost to the beat of his steps and now the breaker pops and I can smell arcing but only in the daughters room. I pulled the plug and it was badly charred. Long story short, the house was all aluminum wiring and none of the plugs or switches were aluminum grade. I replaced every plug, switch and marrett in the house. It was electric heat as well and there was no corrosion inhibitor used on ANY joints. I would say that about 50% of the plugs showed signs of arcing and some of the heaters were so bad that the insulation had charred almost 2" back from the Marietta. This house was a fire waiting to happen.

      Comment


      • #4
        Here's one I found when I moved into an existing home some years ago.

        We kept having trouble with the dedicated outlet for the washing machine in the laundry room. The breaker would trip or the washing machine would show a fault code on the display.

        Checked the wiring at the outlet and it was wired correctly. I thought maybe the outlet itself might be at fault and replaced it. At the time the breaker (and house for that matter) was 8 years old, so I didn't suspect that it might be the culprit. The washer and dryer were new and under warranty so we called CS and they sent someone out. I explained the breaker tripping occasionally and the error codes, and that is I unplugged the machine from the outlet and plugged it in later it would work with no error code or breaker trip. After a few loads of laundry it would trip or the machine would quit and show the error code for an electrical fault.

        The appliance tech replaced the control boards in the machine, that was his answer to the problem because after the machine being unplugged for a couple hours while he worked and then plugged it in the machine worked OK (or at least long enough for him to get out the door).

        At the same time all this was happening, remember this is our first week in this house, I was experiencing a buzzing noise on my scanner in the VHF band. It was a pulsed buzz but not at regular intervals.

        So now it is two weeks into the move to the new place and we want to hook up a chest freezer in the basement so I decide to add a dedicated circuit for the freezer. I don't want something else on the circuit to trip the breaker and my freezer food go bad.

        When I open the panel to drop another breaker in I look over the ground and neutral bars for a spot to land my wires and I found the problem with the washing machine circuit. The #12 neutral for the washing machine outlet and a #14 neutral were clamped under the same screw on the neutral bar. The screw was only in contact with the larger diameter wire, the #14 wire was only held in place by pressure that was applied by the adjacent #12 wire. I suspect that this was the cause of the problem because when I moved the #14 wire to its own spot on the bar the buzzing stopped and the fault errors and breaker tripping for the washing machine also ended.


        New question:

        Why are there 2 wire and 3 wire 230V submersible well pumps, and what happens in the control box that the 3 wire pumps use? Also, what is the proper way to wire a 2 wire pump? Given the mess that I found above, I am curious if there are other problems with the wiring here.

        I have a 2-wire 230V pump in my house. There is a service disconnect switch mounted in the basement at the point the water line enters the house and the power goes out to the pump. In that disconnect both hot leads and the neutral are switched. Coming out of the 3 pole disconnect switch the neutral is tied to the bare ground and both are bonded to the metal switch case, the ground wire continues out unbroken to the pump.

        My question is, is this the correct way to wire this type of pump? It has worked OK for all the years we have been here, but that doesn't mean its wired correctly.
        "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006

        https://www.youtube.com/user/PowerToolInstitute

        Comment


        • #5
          years back i was remodeling my house. when i went to shut off the microwave breaker, it was still live. i suspected that the idiot who did the original installation tied 2 breaker together. i was right. to top that he ran romex inside of flex. that was a good thing. this allowed me to pull out the junk and rewire it correctly. in the process i added 7 more circuts to the kitchen.

          rick.
          phoebe it is

          Comment


          • #6
            WBrooks-WTH is a MARRET??

            I aint no 'lectrician so I don't mind askin a stoopit question. WTH is a MARRET??
            Lorax
            "Did you put the yellow key in the switch?" TOD 01/09/06

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by wbrooks
              ...couple of marrets
              Hey Wayne,

              Merriam-Webster and I have never heard of a marret. What is it?


              Jerry

              (Well, as hard as it is to believe, I didnt see Lorax's question. Had this page left over from yesterday.)
              Last edited by steelewoodworker; 03-03-2006, 02:04 PM.
              It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

              Comment


              • #8
                this makes 3 of us.

                maybe it's the same as a widgit

                rick
                phoebe it is

                Comment


                • #9
                  now I'm the 4 th

                  or maybe it's a whatchamacallit ?
                  Charlie

                  My seek the peek fundraiser page
                  http://observatory.mountwashington.o...nal&fr_id=1040


                  http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/conditions.php

                  new work pictures 12/09
                  http://public.fotki.com/hvachawk/

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK
                    this makes 3 of us.

                    maybe it's the same as a widgit

                    rick
                    Found it! It's a henway!
                    Lorax
                    "Did you put the yellow key in the switch?" TOD 01/09/06

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      A wire nut is sometimes called a marret. I believe it's a Canadian thing
                      Last edited by ToUtahNow; 03-03-2006, 09:57 PM.
                      "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                      I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Marret

                        Hey there Lorax,
                        It's How Much Does A Henway? OK? Get it right or MD Master Sparky will report you for farming without a license or certification! LOL.
                        And just for your information, a henways usually less than about five pounds cause they're kind of little.
                        Jim D.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JimDon
                          Hey there Lorax,
                          It's How Much Does A Henway? OK? Get it right or MD Master Sparky will report you for farming without a license or certification! LOL.
                          And just for your information, a henways usually less than about five pounds cause they're kind of little.
                          Jim D.
                          Hey there BillyBob! You were supposed to ask:"What's a henway"? To which I would answer "Oh about 5 lbs." Try to keep your lines straight next time, OK? Or I'll have to find a new straight man.
                          Lorax
                          "Did you put the yellow key in the switch?" TOD 01/09/06

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bob D.
                            The #12 neutral for the washing machine outlet and a #14 neutral were clamped under the same screw on the neutral bar. The screw was only in contact with the larger diameter wire, the #14 wire was only held in place by pressure that was applied by the adjacent #12 wire.
                            Good job on the keen eye! You just taught me another good reason that neutrals are required to have their own screw for each conductor. Thanks for passing that story along!

                            If you want to hear other reasons (aside from "code requires it"), ask.

                            Why are there 2 wire and 3 wire 230V submersible well pumps, and what happens in the control box that the 3 wire pumps use?
                            Motors are hard to start. To make it easier on the motor, some motors have a start winding that gets things moving, and then let the main portion of the motor take over. So the third wire is the start winding.

                            In that disconnect both hot leads and the neutral are switched.
                            This is legal, if the neutrals and the hots are disconnected simultaneously.

                            But I am confused why there is a neutral pulled to the well pump at all. If it's 230V (as they normally are) a neutral would be unused.

                            Coming out of the 3 pole disconnect switch the neutral is tied to the bare ground and both are bonded to the metal switch case, the ground wire continues out unbroken to the pump.
                            • Does the circuit feeding this disconnect have a grounding conductor?
                            • What do you mean by unbroken? Where does it come from, where does it go?

                            It is illegal to use the neutral for "bonding" equipment after the service (as in, from the power company (POCO)) disconnect. If a grounding conductor was pulled with the circuit conductors (as it sounds from your description), then it should be connected to the housing of the pump-disconnect, and to the grounding conductor running out to the well pump.

                            There should be no connection between the neutral and grounding conductors after the POCO disconnect.

                            Before you correct this:
                            • Shut off the circuit.
                            • Verify it is off with a non-contact voltage tester, and/or a meter. Test between all conductors. Assume everything is still hot until you test everything. This installation has been hacked together, so anything is possible. Be careful!
                            • Seperate the grounds and the neutrals in the pump disconnect. Take note of how everything was connected when you started.
                            • Set your meter to test for continuity. Touch the test leads together to be sure it's set right. (When you touch them together, an audible tester will 'ring'.)
                            • Test for continuity between the neutral the the ground coming from the panel. It should ring, telling you that the neutrals and grounds are tied together at the POCO disconnect, as they should be.
                            • If there is no continuity between the neutral and ground coming from the panel, there is a problem. That would explain why this came about in the first place. I'd recommend making observations, putting it back exactly as it was, and get more advice.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              RMSparky, thanks for the reply and explanation.

                              " This is legal, if the neutrals and the hots are disconnected simultaneously. "

                              It's a 3 pole service disconnect switch; so yes, they are switched simultaneously. My understanding was that service disconnects opened ALL conductors (except ground) to a piece of equipment, is that not correct?

                              you also asked:

                              Does the circuit feeding this disconnect have a grounding conductor?
                              What do you mean by unbroken? Where does it come from, where does it go?

                              1. Yes, this service disconnect is fed from a 10-3 cable w/ground, so all conductors (2 hot leads and a neutral plus a ground wire) are carried out from the main panel to the disconnect.

                              2. By unbroken I mean not switched, with no possibility of interruption or disrupting the ground's continuity.

                              " Shut off the circuit. Verify it is off with a non-contact voltage tester, and/or a meter. Test between all conductors. "

                              I do a Live-Dead-Live check of my Fluke right before I use it to check for the presence of voltage on a circuit, then again afterwords to verify it is still working correctly. If I am taking two, three, or more measurements, then I would check the meter on a known live circuit before and after, not before/after each check. Takes a couple more seconds but I am still alive to tell about it. This is what electricians (which I am not) at work are required to do, and I see no reason to not protect myself as well as they do.

                              " If a grounding conductor was pulled with the circuit conductors (as it sounds from your description), then it should be connected to the housing of the pump-disconnect, and to the grounding conductor running out to the well pump. "

                              Yes, there is a grounding conductor from the main panel.
                              Yes, it is tied to the disconnect box and then runs out to the pump. The bare ground wire is landed under a grounding screw in the disconnect box then continues on to tie to the neutral (coming off the load side of the switch) and the ground wire running out to the pump.

                              So this would seem to effectively tie the ground and the neutral together at a point other than the main, which is not the way it should be. Am I understanding this correctly or am I confused?

                              Since the neutral is not needed for this application, what should be done with it? Lift the neutral at the line side of the disconnect and also in the main panel, and abandon that individual wire in the cable? By abandon I mean to clip that wire short (back to the cable jacket maybe) and tape it off so it can not contact anything in the panel. Then it would not be possible for someone to use this wire in the future, which for this circuit would be good; yes/no?

                              I certainly don't want to have a new cable pulled between the panel and the pump location, as they are at opposite ends of the house(about a 110 foot run as the wire goes), and some areas of the basement have finished ceilings which would make it more difficult to do.
                              "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006

                              https://www.youtube.com/user/PowerToolInstitute

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