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Discussion Starter #1
I'm fairly knowledgable on electrical, but I'm stumped. Can I or is it possible to hook up a lamp post and an outdoor outlet with 12/3 wire with 2 different power sources? Can I use a common neutral? I have an outlet outside my home. It is an existing outlet that we use during the holiday seasons with an on/off switch in the garage. We want to Install a lamp post out there cause it's a very dark area. The lamp post has a dusk/dawn sensor on it. I don't want to dig up the landscaping nor the block walkway in order to dig a new trench. There will be times we want to lamp post to be on and others we want it off when holiday lighting is installed on out front lawn. We already had someone fall so we want to install some lighting to prevent this from happening again. Hope someone can shed some light on my dilemma.


Thanks...
 

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This is pretty simple and if you don't know how you should hire someone who does.
If you're determined to DIY it here are some tips. Find out what your codes are, here underground wire has to be buried a minimum of 18 ins. and I go 24. There is special wire for underground use. I always run conduit. It's not required here but I like the extra protection in case someone decides to plant a tree.
How were you planning to get to the post without digging anything up? You can jet under the walk with a garden hose or large air compressor.
All of the motion sensor lights that I have installed are controlled by the on/off switch. Toggle the switch quickly off/on and the light will stay on, do the same to revert it back to sensor.
 
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Rick Newell said:
It's odd that the outlet has X/3 wire if it's switched from only one location. If it's a terminal fixture, that is the wiring doesn't continue from that fixture to another downstream, then it would typically have X/2 wire. Do you know for sure that both outlets of the duplex outlet are controled by the switch?

If for some reason one of the three conductors (red or black) is either surplus or not controlled by the switch then it should be easy enough to do what you want to do by "sharing" the neutral wire, though I have no idea if this scenario will comply with the electrical code. You'd simply use the surplus conductor to convey unswitched power from the switch box out to the duplex fixture where you would tie in the feed for the lamp. This scenario might however adversely impact the proper functioning of any ground fault interuption device that is currently protecting the outlet (which, by the way, any outside fixture probably needs to have).





cute pun :rolleyes:




There is definitely 12/3 there. Only the black wire is being used though. The red wire is just capped and sitting in the box dead. I wasn't sure if I could use the red wire for the lamp post with the neutral used with another ground fault circuit. It would be too disruptive to dig up a new trench for the new wires. There's a lot of landscaping and block in the way. To go under the walkway would be pretty deep and then to move all that rock on the other side to get to the house Is too much work and even more work to put it back the way it was. I was trying to find an easier way to do this and a faster way at that. All of the 12/3 wire is run in electrical conduit(gray pvc) The G.F.C.I. outlet is in the garage next to the switch. I wanted to install another G.F.C.I. with a switch for the lamp post using the red wire with the neutral. I wasn't sure if it would work using the same nuetral with 2 different G.F.C.I. outlets. If not, I can use the Ground as a nuetral. I know it's not within a code to do this. Just trying to find the best and easiest way to do this. I could use trial and error. Just trying to save myself some time by asking.
 

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I'm outta here, I can smell the smoke already.
 
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Rick Newell said:
Teetorbilt is right. "If you don't know how, hire someone who does".
Also, please don't assume that the red wire is "dead" just because it's capped and sitting in the box. If you're going to try and do this by trial and error, which I highly discourage, you need to first SAFELY confirm that the red wire is de-energized. Also, if you must DIY, purchase the proper tools to do the job before you get started. Few things can get someone injured (or worse) faster than trying to make do with the wrong tool.

I traced the wire at both ends..it's confirmed not to be hooked up. I also double checked with a continuity test. It's all new wiring. It was installed a few years back. I know the wiring is fairly new also because the wire is color coded yellow. That is something new and has only been around for a few years now. Maybe I'm just coming across explaining it wrong. For that I appologize. I'm not new to wiring and electrical. I've wired up houses and basements I've finished and also new service. I wasn't sure in this case because of the G.F.C.I. outlets with a common neutral. I was only trying to get a second opinion before actually doing the work. I've just never tried it before. I figured where there is a will there is a way and someone here might have done or be knowledgable to answer.. I appreciate all and everyone's opinions and advice. Converting watts to amps and setting up a panel with the right size wiring is easier to me at this point because i've done it and know about it. This is something that I'm attempting to do and figured I would do a little research before actually attempting the hands on work. I'm thinking the only reason there is 12/3 there is because I would assume that whomever ran the wiring wanted to separate the outlet and have a life feed for the upper part of the outlet and a switched for the lower. Then I'm guessing they never went through with it.
So, again, is it possible to hook up two different G.F.C.I. outlets with different power sources using the same Neutral without tripping the other G.F.C.I. outlet when using the other?
 

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Unrgistered, You have already demonstrated your desire and intent to bypass codes in your installation and continue to return for information to allow you to do so. You are obviously unqualified for the job that you are attempting or you would know the answers. I do and I am not an electrician.
If you wish to persist in this pursuit I suggest that you do it elsewhere. I doubt that any contractor here will help you break the law and possibly put yourself or others in jeopardy.
 
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Teetorbilt said:
Unrgistered, You have already demonstrated your desire and intent to bypass codes in your installation and continue to return for information to allow you to do so. You are obviously unqualified for the job that you are attempting or you would know the answers. I do and I am not an electrician.
If you wish to persist in this pursuit I suggest that you do it elsewhere. I doubt that any contractor here will help you break the law and possibly put yourself or others in jeopardy.

I have read several of your posts. I do agree with you, you're not an electrician. I was only trying to find out if it was possible to hook up 1 neutral for 2 G.F.C.I. outlets without one tripping the other. I don't think it is, thus the reason I was asking. It wasn't about trying to break any laws. Again..thus the reason I was asking before I went out and actually did the work. So before you reply to someone make sure you have an answer for them not an assinine remark. If you don't have a quality answer then just go to another thread. I already wired everything up with one G.F.C.I. outlet. But, Hey...you never know what new things people find out each day. That's what you call technology advancement. Perhaps there was something new out that neither one of us new about. We would have both learned something. Instead all that was learned is that you just like to add to posts so you can get your post count to a higher lever for some selfsatisfying meaning. This is a discussion board and where people learn new and help others learn new things or just put people on the right road. If all you have to say is " higher someone with experience" then why even bother wasting time to post a reply. If you or anyone has nothing to answer or add to a discussion of meaning then why even post a reply. <shakes head>
 

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The short answer is NO. You can not share a netural on GFCI recepticales. Your GFCIs will trip al the time till they don't work any more.
 
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jbfan said:
The short answer is NO. You can not share a netural on GFCI recepticales. Your GFCIs will trip al the time till they don't work any more.
Thank you very much; that's what I figured. That's why I wired both the outlets and post together on one G.F.C.I. But I appreciate the answer.
 
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