I have a 40 year old house. There is a receptacle in the garage that has two sets of wires coming into the box. One set is black, white and neutral. The other set is black, white, red and neutral. If this receptacle is switched, I don’t know from where. I wanted to replace the receptacle but mixed up the wiring. I don’t need it to be switched. How do I rewire the receptacle with both sets of wires?

I also wanted to use this receptacle to add two additional receptacles outside the garage. When I rewired the receptacle, the circuit breaker trips right away. I found that another circuit breaker seems to be connected with it. I am now having to switch circuit breaker 1 off and circuit breaker 2 on. If I want to use the receptacle I’m working on, I have to reverse the on/off between circuit breakers 1 and 2.

Could you please tell me how I should wire the original outlet and add the two outside outlet wiring

  • 1
    Can you unwire the receptacle in question and measure the voltages black1-white1, black2-white2, red2-white2, black1-black2, black1-red2, and black2-red2 please? Jul 4, 2020 at 19:22
  • 1
    Can you look at the old receptacle and say if any tabs have been broken off? Jul 4, 2020 at 19:54
  • 3
    You say "black, white and neutral", do you mean black, white and (bare) ground? Jul 4, 2020 at 19:58

1 Answer 1


Normally when there is a switched receptacle only 1 of the 2 are switched. The cable that is black , white, red & ground. the white is neutral Silver screw . the red goes to the switched hot Brass in color. the tab between the top and bottom is broken on the hot side or the side that has the red and black wire. The black wire normally always hot Is on the other brass connector. The second cable is usually black to black , white to white and bare copper to bare copper. This is how it would be wired when the power is going to the switch from the panel then the extra cable black white feeds another receptacle, to add another non switched receptacle tie to the black white ground. If the room doesn’t have a light fixture controlled by a switch you need to keep the switched receptacle for code compliance.

  • Look at the old receptacle and tell us if the removable side tabs which connect the two receptacles of the duplex are broken off. Did you replace the original receptacle with a new one? Jul 5, 2020 at 0:27

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