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Thread: Receptacle Wiring, stumped

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member reds_21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Cincinnati, Ohio

    Unhappy Receptacle Wiring, stumped

    a while back i replaced my duplex receptacles in the kitchen and in doing so half of them work and half dont. its obvious they were wired in a daisy chain effect but here is my problem.

    the first outlet on the end of the run does not work. the next two in line do (one is a GFI), the next two after that do not work and then the last one is a GFI which does.

    I have two different wiring examples going on. in one junction box there is one cable and 6 wires (2 hot (black) and 2 neutral (white) with two ground). in the next box i have two cables each carrying 3 wires (2 hot (black) and 2 neutral (white) with one ground). i hooked the two hots on the brass terminals and then i hooked the two neutrals to the silver terminals.

    i turned the power back on and my receptacle tester still shows no power at all. the tester i have is a plug in that lights up when all is connected correctly. right now there is nothing.

    is there a specific way in which the hots/neutrals need to be wired? like one needs to be on the top terminal while the other is on the bottom or does it not matter?

    if anyone could help me figure this out i would greatly appreciate it!!!!:

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    Last edited by reds_21; 10-21-2007 at 08:27 AM. Reason: adding pictures

  2. #2


    It doesn't matter which terminal (top or bottom) you attach the wire to.

    My guess is you've got a loose connection somewhere in the circuit. But without being able to visualise the entire circuits, it's gonna be difficult to troubleshoot this way.
    Just my 2 worth.

  3. #3
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Central Florida


    Borrow or buy an inexpensive continuity checker (aka ohmeter). Turn off power at the panel, disconnect everything, and test all the wires to determine a) which pair comes directly from the panel, and b) where they go from there. Draw a picture of what you find. Then it should be easy to see what's going on -- it sounds like you've got the basics right. The 2 GFIs confuse things slightly, but that can be overcome. Normally a GFI would come first in the chain, then the rest would be daisy-chained from it.

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    Kitchen counters may be wired with two separate 20A circuits. You may have only one of them working, and may have inadvertently joined them together. I say this because you indicated one box had two hots coming in. That box may have been a pass-through for the other circuit, and shouldn't be attached to the outlet at all.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5


    Over here (QC, Canada), most kitchen outlets are wired with 2 circuits on the same outlet so you don't trip the breaker (when plugging the coffee machine and toaster for example). The outlet uses a common neutral and 2 hots. In order to do that, you have to break the tab between the 2 brass-colored terminals. it could be where your problem lies...
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  6. #6
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    New Hampshire


    You may have multiple GFCI protection in a circuit that has multiple neutral paths. There are a lot of ways to hook it up so that it will trip a GFCI when is shouldn't.

    First, find out if the two hot circuits are connnected to the same pole of the service panel. The most reliable way to do that is to use a voltmeter to measure the voltage between the two hots. If the difference is zero, they are on the same bus. If the difference is 240 Volts they are on different buses.

    If any of the cables are connected to the LOAD terminals of a GFCI, then all of the subsequent neutrals must be isolated from all other circuits. There must be no cross-connection of either the neutrals or the hots. Otherwise, the the GFCIs will trip when another load finds a return path that is not through the same GFCI as the hot wire.

    If any neutral is connected to ground at any point other than the service panel, that will also trip a GFCI on that circuit.


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