Electrical Troubleshooting Question:
My question is, how do you know when to use 12-2 cable versus 12-3 cable, 14-3 cable versus 14-2 cable.
I keep on getting confused on when to use 2 wire versus 3 wire.
Thank You,Matt W.
Hi Matt - Great Electrical Repair Question!
2 and 3 wire cables can have several uses such as home run power feeds going back to the panel, branch feeds, single switching, 3-way switching, 4-way switching etc. It all depends on what you are wiring and what the electrical application will be.
Circuits Installed from the Electrical Panel
A 2-wire (black and white with the ground) cable will be used for one hot and one neutral or one circuit.
A 3-wire circuit (black, red, white and the ground) cable can be used for feeding two circuits that will share the neutral and ground wire.
The 2 circuit multi-wire configuration requires that the black and red hots be attached to a two-pole circuit breaker that has a tie-bar so that these two circuits are not fed from the same buss in the panel.
This will ensure that the neutral wire load will be balanced and not become overloaded under normal circumstances.
The voltage reading from black to red will be 240 volts because they are attached one to the two separate busses or phases, but the voltage reading from black to white/neutral or ground will be 120 volts and the same for the reading for the red wire to white/neutral or ground.
Be Careful and Be Safe, never work on energized circuits!
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Basic Electricians Pouch of Hand Tools, a Voltage Tester and a Multi Meter.
Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools, work with electrical wiring, and the available access to the project area. Precaution:
Identify the project circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Modifying existing electrical circuits or installing additional electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
This is a testing tool that is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
This is great to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring, is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets
Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency
Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included
Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect, Very handy and easy to use.
A wire stripping tool used to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets.
» How To Wire It RIGHT!« Wire it with Confidence! Fully Illustrated Instant Download Now You Can Wire it like a Pro!
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