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Adding an outlet to an existing circuit

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by smoke show, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    I want to add an outlet to an existing circuit which I've done before, just not a circuit like this one.

    I'm no electrician so take it easy on me.

    I was hoping to get what I needed from this switch, but according to my harbor freight tester theres no voltage in this box.

    I could also take it from the light fixture if need be.

    I believe this is a four way circuit. 3 switches controlling 6 light fixtures.

    A link to a schematic describing this circuit would be great, so I can visualize whats happening.

    I know its probly not recommended tapping into circuits, but this outlet is just gonna be for a led night light. ;-)

    Attached Files:

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Take a meter and see if you have 120v between the two, yellow, wire-nutted connections. If so, that is the live feed into this box.

    That looks like a 4 way switch. If so, there are a couple others switching the same circuit from different locations. Is this the case? If so, you don't take the power off the switch.
  3. burnham

    burnham Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    central massachusetts
    There's probably a feed in that switch box, but there's no neutral. The constant feed comes down from the light box on the white wire, goes through the switches, and then returns to the light fixture on the black wire. Probably need to find another location.
  4. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    No 120v anywhere in that switch box.

    It is a 4 way switch.

    I'll be looking at tapping into the fixture in the third pic.
  5. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    I think its all nuetral and no feed.

    I will try another location.
  6. burnham

    burnham Member

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  7. Ncountry

    Ncountry Member

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    northern NY
    I am fairly certain the switch you have pictured is the middle switch between the other 2. One of the other switches will have the incoming power feed. The black wire from the 12-2 or 14-2 will test hot no matter what you do to the other 2 switches.This is true if the power comes to the switches 1st.
  8. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    Maybe I'll open it back up and try again today.

    It didn't matter what I touched with my meter I couldn't find voltage.

    but when I shove it into an outlet I get 123v.

    So are you telling me theres a feed and nuetral in there?
  9. burnham

    burnham Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    central massachusetts
    No neutral, just a feed. The feed comes from the lighting box down to the 4-way on the white wire of the 14-2 and goes to the point of one of the 3-way switches. The black of that same 14-2 is connected to the other 3-way switch.

    If they switched the neutral instead of the feed, there will be a constant live wire in that box, but no constant neutral.

    You should look in another box for a feed.
  10. Ncountry

    Ncountry Member

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    northern NY
    One of the switches ....or depending on how it is wired , one of the lights is going to have a feed wire with a neutral ground and hot wire. I will see if I can find a picture.

    Found one http://www.do-it-yourself-help.com/4_way_switch_diagram.html

    As you can see only one switch or one light normally has the wire you need.
  11. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    Thanks Ncountry

    So if I understand what your saying, I need to look at a diffferent option?

    I think I'll concede and run a new circuit.
  12. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    1 circuit breaker
    75 ft of 12/2
    couple boxes
    4 ft conduit
    bag of romex staples
    couple outlets
    2 covers
    and one sunday morning
    got the outlet I wanted plus another
    thanks to all who replied.

    Attached Files:

  13. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    2,056
    Loc:
    Northern CT
    Good for you! And you can sleep soundly knowing it's done right, too.
    (I like the metal box covers better than the plastic ones.)

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