Can anyone make sense of this?


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Old 10-19-19, 11:20 PM
A
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Can anyone make sense of this?

I want to start out by saying I know the basics of wiring but this double switch and outlet combo are confusing me. This outlet has never been able to take a load without tripping the gfci breaker.

The pictures are from a small bathroom. There is 1 light, 1 fan and 1 outlet in the bathroom. The pictures are of the two switches and the outlet. There is only 1 12/3 Romex coming into the double gang box. If I use a receptacle tester, the outlets read as being wired correctly. Both switches correctly control the fan and light.

Does anyone have any idea how this bathroom outlet and switch could be wired? How is this single Romex cable is able to allow the switches to control the light and fan independently? I can not draw this out to make it work.

Why would the bare copper be attached to both the ground screw and the neutral terminal on the outlets? I have not ever seen this before.
 
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10-20-19, 05:57 AM
Furd
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Yeah, I see what is going on. First, the 3-conductor cable is being used as a "switch loop" for the fan and light; that is okay BUT using the bare copper safety (equipment) grounding conductor for the receptacle's neutral is NOT acceptable. You need to immediately remove the receptacle and at a future date run a four-wire cable from the fan to the switch box and connect the white wire in the new cable as a proper neutral. The fourth conductor, whatever its color (other than white, grey or green) would be used instead of the current white conductor.

Having the bare copper used as a neutral is dangerous.
 
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Old 10-20-19, 05:57 AM
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Yeah, I see what is going on. First, the 3-conductor cable is being used as a "switch loop" for the fan and light; that is okay BUT using the bare copper safety (equipment) grounding conductor for the receptacle's neutral is NOT acceptable. You need to immediately remove the receptacle and at a future date run a four-wire cable from the fan to the switch box and connect the white wire in the new cable as a proper neutral. The fourth conductor, whatever its color (other than white, grey or green) would be used instead of the current white conductor.

Having the bare copper used as a neutral is dangerous.
 
CasualJoe, joed voted this post useful.
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Old 10-20-19, 06:25 AM
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Very dangerous setup. There is no neutral in that switch box and someone used the ground to as a neutral for the receptacle.

The switch loop isn't even wired correctly. The white should have been the hot wire.
 
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Old 10-20-19, 07:59 AM
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Furd and Joed,

Thanks for the help.

So If I was thinking of how to draw the current setup in my head. Power in starts at the fan junction box. Power black is connected to black 12/3 wire (to outlet) and bare copper is connected to neutral bundle. Power is then led to the switches with a single black wire. The Fan is connected to neutral bundle and red 12/3 wire (from switch). Light is connected to the white 12/3 wire from outlet and neutral bundle. Does this sound correct?

To correct the issue could I would run a 2nd 12/2 from power to the outlet box. Would I just wire the switch and the outlet separately, so the outlet would both be in a separate loop. Is there a better way to do this?
 
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Old 10-20-19, 09:27 AM
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Everything you stated above is correct, except the bare copper connected to the neutral. The bare copper ground is most likely still connected to the proper ground in the fan box.
People often wrongly assume that since the ground and neutral are connected in the panel they can use the ground for a neutral.
 
 

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