Home>Discussions>ELECTRICAL & LIGHTING>Disconnected old wires and circuit is now dead
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hutch66
Disconnected old wires and circuit is now dead

I have old armoured cable in my bathroom. I had a 3 wire - black, red, white and a 2 wire - black and white, somehow connected happily in an unused circuit box. They were hidden behind an old medicine chest and when I took the medicine chest out, I took out the box (and connections) and capped each wire individually. I lost all power in the bathroom. The 3 wire black is live, the others are not and I am pretty sure the red was not attached to anything, but I could be wrong. Which wires do I need to put back together to get the circuit working again? And yes I will note the connections before doing something this silly again.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Disconnected old wires and circuit is now dead

Most likely black to black and white to white unless you have a wall switch.
Jack

hutch66
Re: Disconnected old wires and circuit is now dead

This is an old light fixture box so there is a wall switch. I do have black (live) to black, white to white, and the red by itself but the rest of the circuit works upstairs, but not the bathroom light or switch which are the same box.

canuk
Re: Disconnected old wires and circuit is now dead

Perhaps it may be easier for you to determine what color wires are at each device ---- light ---- receptacle --- switch.

hutch66
Re: Disconnected old wires and circuit is now dead

The light switch is a new toggle one. The black wire is into the "common thermal" one the red is on top into an unmarked one and the white is on the bottom into an unmarked one. It is in box with a GFI outlet and they are wired together - all the whites and all the blacks but the red is all by itself. I have attic access and would be happy to close off the whole wiring to the box under the medicine cabinet as I won't need it if that is possible.

canuk
Re: Disconnected old wires and circuit is now dead
hutch66 wrote:

The light switch is a new toggle one. The black wire is into the "common thermal" one the red is on top into an unmarked one and the white is on the bottom into an unmarked one. It is in box with a GFI outlet and they are wired together - all the whites and all the blacks but the red is all by itself. I have attic access and would be happy to close off the whole wiring to the box under the medicine cabinet as I won't need it if that is possible.

Huh ?!?!?
This almost sounds like a 3 way switch instead of a single pole.
Is there another switch in the bathroom?

There should only be 2 screw terminals and 2 wires attached to single pole switch.
( though I believe you guys in the US also have ground screw connections on the switches --- but that would be green colored ).

I'm guessing the black and white from the 3 wire cable gets joined with the black and white of the 2 wire cable.
The 2 wire cable is for the receptacle ( attached to the " load " of the GFCI )

There might be a jumper from the black ( hot ) from the switch to the GFCI.

The red from the 3 wire cable is the switched line to the light.

NEC
Re: Disconnected old wires and circuit is now dead
hutch66 wrote:

The light switch is a new toggle one. The black wire is into the "common thermal" one the red is on top into an unmarked one and the white is on the bottom into an unmarked one. It is in box with a GFI outlet and they are wired together - all the whites and all the blacks but the red is all by itself. I have attic access and would be happy to close off the whole wiring to the box under the medicine cabinet as I won't need it if that is possible.

Sorry but that sounds really EF'ed up. Post a pic and maybe we can help.

Re: Disconnected old wires and circuit is now dead

Is there a combination of more then 1 type of wire? (such as mixed bx and romex (how many different types of romex)) I ask because sometimes understanding the order in which changes have been made can help paint a more detailed picture of what is existing.

Are you saying the box was burried?

Is there a bare ground in the bx?

Is there another fixture in the room?

Is there another switch that controls the same light?

Does the switch have a light on it?

Does the gfi have an equipment ground?

It seems as if there is some missing info OP perhaps you could take inventory of how many switches and outlets are in the room and tell us how many conductors per box, of what color, where they come from etc.

I am concerned with 2 things beyond the original question that should be investigated ..
1) A remodel at some point that may not have been done the best way. (A few too many jboxes)
2) The entire mess being fed with ungrounded bx.

Clearly your doing some work in your bathroom now how much of the wiring is exposed now? (if any)

Is there an open basement below or an open attic above?

hutch66
Re: Disconnected old wires and circuit is now dead

There were two boxes; one on each side of a medicine cabinet. The wires had been capped and taped in the boxes behind the medicine chest. I think they were lights, but that was before i moved into the house. The left box has armored cable with a black and white which were capped and taped. The box to the right has two steel enclosed cables coming into it. One has a black and white wire and the other had black (live), white and red. They were capped together someway, which I don't remember how now - hence the problem. I undid the capping in the box with two cables and capped each wire individually. Now the power doesn't work in that room, but the rest of the circuit works. Clearly when I undid the wires in the second box I cut the power on to the only other box which turns on the fan and light. I want to put the wires back the way they were since there wasn't a problem with it before I undid them.

I am trying to put things back to see if I can get power back to the switch. I have attached a slide with how it looks now.

Attachment: 
canuk
Re: Disconnected old wires and circuit is now dead

Is the GFCI receptacle also dead?

Quote:

the other had black (live), white and red

How did you determine this black is live ---- by measuring with a meter between the black and white in this 3 wire cable ?

hutch66
Re: Disconnected old wires and circuit is now dead

The GFCI is also dead.

I put a tester on the black and the steel cover and it showed up. All the others and ground showed nothing.

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