Introduction and a few Q's

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wanos
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Introduction and a few Q's

Post by wanos » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:58 am

Hi gents, new guy on the block, but been around it more than a few times ...

I've been reading too much of this site to not register. So nice to find a forum that is actually helpful, not condescending, and does not degrade into childish shenanigans. Kudos.

On to the Q's ...

1) I'm current living in a 50 yr oldish 6 story apmt building (I know this because I used to deliver The Leader-Post here when I was a kid) that uses 2 wire armour cable for ground, ie: no bare gnd wire. If I want to replace a outlet or switch with a newer one that required a gnd, would it be good practice to ground the box to the outlet or switch with a gnd wire? or would it be totally redundant?

2) The light switch circuit in my bathroom goes from the inside doorway single pole switch(east wall), up 4' and across 5' of ceiling, down 18" to a 3 bulb light fixture(to opposing west wall but not directly across, offset about 2'), then to an old transformer gfci (north wall) (currently putting out 135v, getting changed this week). So the gfci is switched with the light. Now, I want to plug in an electric toothbrush charger without requiring the bathroom light to be on while the toothbrush is charging. So I need a 14-3 from the switch to the light to bypass the light and get constant power to the gfci. I'll give you $20/ft if you can make this happen. I know some wiley electricians can seemingly do magic and pull wire with the best of em, but maybe I'm asking too much? Alternatives? btw, no access to walls, ceiling etc, other than receptacles. Oh, there is a powered outlet 2 stud bays away on the same wall as the gfci, but its facing into the pantry, not the bathroom. Supposedly for a small freezer. Supposedly a later addition as very few suites have one. Its 16" below the panel box in the pantry.
Image
Another thought I had was to drill from point A into the stud bays, beneath the panel box, to reach the gfci. I've got a 4' flex-bit that should reach. From there I could just tap off the pantry outlet, or even the panel box. Then I only have to patch a 3/8" hole. What say you?

3) I'm guessing cloth wrapped 14-2 with that ziggy gnd was around at the time this bldg was built. Why did they use more expensive amoured cable? Cheaper at the time? Code allowed it and cheaper labour to install?

4) How did they put a screw into a 2x3 box perfectly perpendicular to the box, into the stud, without access holes on the other side of the box? right-angle screwdriver and brute force? more wizardry? see the following pic ... all the boxes here are like this

Image

5) About that pic, it was an always off illuminated toggle switch (but very dim and a mushy feel like the bathroom switch) that switched the air-conditioner and the parking lot plugin. Guess I shouldn't be vacuuming the truck on a hot day. I wanted to change it to an always on and dreamed that by switching the contacts, I could accomplish that. I dreamed wrong. And in the process of re-installing it, I broke it. I blame 50yr old brittleness. So, because the CEC/NEC can be picky, am I within my rights, or could I pressure the maintenance guys using CEC as reference, as a renter to request an always on illuminated switch? Always off doesn't seem to make sense as their purpose is to be able to find the switch in a dark room or hallway.

Also in the pic, no marrets 50 yrs ago? There is one there now temporarily until I get a switch, so I have power to the parking lot, but there are no other marrets anywhere! All taped. When the electrician comes by later this week and replaces these items, it'll be interesting to see what kind of taped splice they used 50 yrs ago that still holds today.

Thank-you guys for your considerations.

Have a good day, eh!

Your lowercase 'w' typebar is wearing out. Or is it my eyes?


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Shannon
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Re: Introduction and a few Q's

Post by Shannon » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:15 am

AAHH a regina poster! Welcome "wanos". We try to run a pretty tight ship here :D but we like to have a little fun as well. Sometimes we get off topic from time to time :lol:

1) If the circuit you have is run with armoured cable they always relied on the devise getting its ground from being attached to the metal box ,the box was grounded because it was attached to the armoured sheathing.It would not hurt a thing to have a bare ground wire permanently attaching the device to the box.

2) Ok first question here is are you sure that the power supply for the bath light and fan is not originating in the octagon box at the light location? In those years from what I have seen it almost always did.How many wires are coming into that box?
I would not attempt drilling blindly 4-5' into the wall under or over that electrical panel as there will be god knows how many sets of wires coming through there and you would for certain hit at least one.
My plan of attack on this would be to cut a section of drywall off from the panel to the corner and run a whole new circuit right form the panel,patch the drywall up ,DONE!

3)Actually I see it in apartment buildings of that age all the time and I think it was code then? My thinking is apartment buildings ,people moving in and out ,different tenants hanging stuff on the walls in different places all the time so armoured cable had less chance of being punctured?

4) Those metal boxes have screws on the corners that allowed them to be taken apart so they would attach the one side to the stud and then add enough sections for the gang size they needed and finally an end to finish it off.....Or maybe they were wizards? :o :o

5) All you can do is ask them to change it? There are lots of new switch types out there now with night lights ect.
Those taped splices from back in the day where actually pretty good, it was kind of a cloth type tape so pretty heavy stuff.The electrician will use wire nuts for sure this time though .

Good luck with the electrician hopefully he can get things fixed up for you.
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emtnut
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Re: Introduction and a few Q's

Post by emtnut » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:57 am

wanos wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:58 am
1) I want to replace a outlet or switch with a newer one that required a gnd, would it be good practice to ground the box to the outlet or switch with a gnd wire? or would it be totally redundant?

2) The light switch circuit in my bathroom goes from the inside doorway single pole switch(east wall), up 4' and across 5' of ceiling, down 18" to a 3 bulb light fixture(to opposing west wall but not directly across, offset about 2'), then to an old transformer gfci (north wall) (currently putting out 135v, getting changed this week). So the gfci is switched with the light. Now, I want to plug in an electric toothbrush charger without requiring the bathroom light to be on while the toothbrush is charging. So I need a 14-3 from the switch to the light to bypass the light and get constant power to the gfci. I'll give you $20/ft if you can make this happen. I know some wiley electricians can seemingly do magic and pull wire with the best of em, but maybe I'm asking too much? Alternatives? btw, no access to walls, ceiling etc, other than receptacles. Oh, there is a powered outlet 2 stud bays away on the same wall as the gfci, but its facing into the pantry, not the bathroom. Supposedly for a small freezer. Supposedly a later addition as very few suites have one. Its 16" below the panel box in the pantry.
1) CEC requires you to ground the yoke via the screw. You're right that it's somewhat redundant, but ya gotta do it ;)

2) I really like the $20/ft offer, but I think there is a very good chance you could rewire the receptacle in the light outlet, to permanently power your GFCI :mrgreen:
If you're there when the electrician comes, you could ask him... It's a 2 minute job, so he may do it for you. If not, if you can get us a picture of the inside of the light, we may be able to figure something out.
If that works, you could still send Shannon a couple of 'feet' :lol:

I think Shannon answered the other q's

** Just a side note. As a renter, I don't think you can do any electrical work there. Changing a recept is fine, but adding new stuff ?? I'd talk with your Landlord first !
~~ This space for rent ... apply within :mrgreen: ~~

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Aaron
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Re: Introduction and a few Q's

Post by Aaron » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:07 am

Everything Shannon said above is right on point.

If you have power coming into the light fixture box, and if your GFCI is also wired to that fixture box, it could be a very simple matter of swinging a conductor within that box so your GFCI is always on as it should be.

I like the idea of wiring a fresh circuit from the panel, but then that might mean abandoning an existing cable in the wall which is not really ideal.

As for discussions devolving into pettiness and shenanigans, we at least wait until after we've helped you get your problem fixed first. :D

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Shannon
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Re: Introduction and a few Q's

Post by Shannon » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:18 pm

Just to be clear ,in my original reply if there is no power supply in the light location ,then my plan of the separate circuit was not to be hooked to the original GFCI in the bath but to add a second one. You are correct Aaron I would not want to abandon a random wire in the wall either.
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wanos
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Re: Introduction and a few Q's

Post by wanos » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:16 pm

Shannon wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:15 am
1) .... It would not hurt a thing to have a bare ground wire permanently attaching the device to the box.
emtnut wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:57 am
1) CEC requires you to ground the yoke via the screw. You're right that it's somewhat redundant, but ya gotta do it ;)
Good to know. Glad you're mostly in agreement, "would not hurt" vs "requires". I choose emtnut's response here. Thanks to both though.
Shannon wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:15 am
2) Ok first question here is are you sure that the power supply for the bath light and fan is not originating in the octagon box at the light location? In those years from what I have seen it almost always did.How many wires are coming into that box?
Pretty darn sure. See below.
emtnut wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:57 am
can get us a picture of the inside of the light, we may be able to figure something out.
Your wish is my command.
Aaron wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:07 am
... If you have power coming into the light fixture box, and if your GFCI is also wired to that fixture box ...
I don't see it.

Two wires coming into octagon light box. Top wires meters continuity to the switch. Bottom set show continuity to the gfci. Neither hot when switch is off. Top hot when switch is on. see following pics ...

light box ...
Image

Image

Image

switch box ... left switch goes to light, right switch goes to ceiling fan
Sparkys ain't got no time for cleanup obviously
Image

but I do, just so he won't knock that sh*#%^ all over my floor
Image

Image

What do you figure? I'm hooped I think.
Shannon wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:15 am
... I would not attempt drilling blindly 4-5' into the wall under or over that electrical panel as there will be god knows how many sets of wires coming through ...
My actual plan was to stand back, 911 on speeddial, and watch the brave young sparky go at it. Not me.
emtnut wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:57 am
you could still send Shannon a couple of 'feet' :lol:
If Shannon could use a hand, he can take it out of my hide. Got ton o' tools, will travel.
wanos wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:58 am
Your lowercase 'w' typebar is wearing out. Or is it my eyes?
Waht? You guys don't see it? The middle part of this -> 'w', the inverted 'v' part, is many shades lighter than the wings of the 'w'. Its grey. Not on any other site, just here.

Keep your stick on the ice!

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Aaron
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Re: Introduction and a few Q's

Post by Aaron » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:36 pm

wanos wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:16 pm
Shannon wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:15 am
1) .... It would not hurt a thing to have a bare ground wire permanently attaching the device to the box.
emtnut wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:57 am
1) CEC requires you to ground the yoke via the screw. You're right that it's somewhat redundant, but ya gotta do it ;)
Good to know. Glad you're mostly in agreement, "would not hurt" vs "requires". I choose emtnut's response here. Thanks to both though.
You have what is called Type AC armoured cable entering all those boxes. This armoured cable only has current-carrying conductors with no ground, unlike modern Type MC, or "metal clad" cable. With Type AC, the armour on the cable is relied upon as the ground conductor. With Type MC, the armour supplements the internal green-insulated ground conductor that is part of the cable makeup.

Canadian code (CEC) currently requires all devices (except switches, I think) to have a ground lead connected between a device's ground screw and the box. It's possible this was not a requirement in the past; in fact here in the US it's actually not a requirement if the box is steel and there is a solid metal-to-metal contact mounting of the device yoke with the box's mounting ears.

But then, in Canada I don't think it's necessary to ground switches even if the switch has a grounding screw to do so. So go figure, because here in the US that is absolutely necessary. That's where "it doesn't hurt" comes from. :)

If you do install new devices, you should also connect a bare copper or green ground jumper from the device's ground screw to the ground screws in the back of the box.
wanos wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:16 pm
What do you figure? I'm hooped I think.
Yeah after looking at your pics, unfortunately I think you might be. :cry:

Unless you wanted to do some work tearing into drywall; it's relatively easy to patch. At least it's drywall. My place has plaster and lath.

It really looks like those incoming wires are coming out of EMT or FMC (also known as BX, or Greenfield) conduits. That would really save you if they were, because then you could simply fish through another conductor from the switch to the light fixture. BX matches the vintage of your building, too. But I don't mean to give you false hope.

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Shannon
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Re: Introduction and a few Q's

Post by Shannon » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:47 am

Ya we do not ground switches up here,many times the switches we purchase have a ground screw but it is not used but receptacles are always grounded to the circuit and box.
Those may be conduit hard to tell by the picture, the only thing I see that makes me question that is I can see one red "anti short" in the switch box. I can only see one but it would be strange that only one line is armoured cable unless it was done during a reno? BTW up here I have only heard of Armoured cable being called BX never conduit? Maybe it is a Canada/US thing?

As far as the "w" thing ..I think you eyes are going wanos cause it looks fine to me.
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Aaron
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Re: Introduction and a few Q's

Post by Aaron » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:26 am

Shannon wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:47 am
Ya we do not ground switches up here,many times the switches we purchase have a ground screw but it is not used but receptacles are always grounded to the circuit and box.
Yeah interestingly switches USED to not be grounded here as well. The requirement started in the early 90s or something. Switches never used to even have a ground screw.
Shannon wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:47 am
Those may be conduit hard to tell by the picture, the only thing I see that makes me question that is I can see one red "anti short" in the switch box. I can only see one but it would be strange that only one line is armoured cable unless it was done during a reno? BTW up here I have only heard of Armoured cable being called BX never conduit? Maybe it is a Canada/US thing?
No, you're right. BX and Type AC armoured cable are the same thing. It's a bundle of wires that is manufactured with the coiled steel around it. Sorry, I get confused with AC/BX and FMC, which stands for flexible metallic conduit. That stuff is called Greenfield by some electricians--it was probably a brand name at one time or something. That stuff looks like really fat armoured cable because it's coiled steel making a bendable conduit where you can easily fish your own conductors through it.

Even more confusing is that I'm pretty sure some electricians will call Type MC "BX" as well, but I know the BX term predates Type MC.

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