pigtailed neutral & hot inside switched outlet box

opsxJuly 29, 2013

im trying to figure out a way to split up my switched outlet. i opened it up and i have 4 wires in the box:
2 hot wires (seemingly coming from the same place) where one goes into the outlet and the other gets pigtailed with a neutral wire that is also coming into the box from a double set where one goes into the outlet and the other goes to this pigtail.

i have to say it is possible that the 2 neutrals that are coming in arent actually both neutrals because one looks different (visually) but they are coming from the same sleeve.

any tests i can do with a multimeter to figure out what is going on? and what would i do after breaking the bar on the outlet to create a split outlet? thanks!

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bus_driver

Let's identify the conductors by color. Neutral specifies a function. Not every white will be a neutral, especially in wiring that was done some years ago.
I suspect that power comes into the receptacle box, if fed to the switch and then comes back to the receptacle from the switch. One white wire on the receptacle, right? The black from that same cable is spliced to a white from another/different cable, right? Answer these and perhaps I will take the subject a bit further.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 12:38PM
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klem1

Test to find pair of B&W with 120v,connect W to silver and B to brass on lower outlet of polarized(wide white blade)receptical.
Break off brass bar.
On secound pair,paint W red and connect to lower outlet brass.
Connect B to upper outlet brass.
Lower outlet is always hot and upper outlet is controled by switch.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 2:04PM
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opsx

hey guys, thanks for your responses. before i go further perhaps this picture of my receptacle will help explain a bit?

(see link for image)

basically i have 2 sets coming in where 1 wire of each set goes to the outlet and the other gets pigtailed.

Klem1: are you saying that if the pigtailed pair has 120V i should seperate it and connect it to the lower connectors of my outlet?

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 4:54PM
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bus_driver

That wiring probably predates WWII. No ground on the receptacle. I'm bowing out on this one. Professional electrician needed in person at the premises.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 5:41PM
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opsx

i believe the receptacle box itself is grounded? i know some of the others that i have opened have had ground wires in them - im kind of surprised that this one doesn't. cant i test for ground with a multimeter?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 9:34PM
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klem1

bus_driver wrote on
Mon, Jul 29, 13 at 17:41

That wiring probably predates WWII. No ground on the receptacle. I'm bowing out on this one. Professional electrician needed in person at the premises.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
What he said ^^^^^^^^^^^^ is approprate for your situation.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 10:03PM
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btharmy

The cable entering on the right looks to be the feed with the neutral directly to the neurtal side of the receptacle. The hot is connected to the white wire of the cable to the switch and the black return from the switch is landed on the hot side of the receptacle. This is only based on what I can see from the pic. By the way, if there is no bare ground conductor then your receptacles are not grounded unless it is ran in conduit. Otherwise you may be reading some kind of ground through the jacket of the BX cable it is wired with. The jacked of BX is steel and can show a ground but it is NOT a grounding means. Don't be fooled.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 9:52PM
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