I'm trying to finish installing a receptacle in my ceiling started by an electrician. All the wiring is ready, but I just need to connect the outlet. The receptacle is between two can lights in the ceiling, the furthest from the switch doesn't currently work, but I think I know why. Here's what the setup is:

In the one box, there are two sets of cables coming in. From the switch (left) side, there's one white wire (LW), black wire (LB), ground wire (LG), and one red wire (LR). From the other side, there's a black wire (RB), white wire (RW), and ground wire(RG). The light to the switch side will switch on correctly, but the light on the side where the other wires are coming from will not. I also want the socket between the two to be on all the time (or at least one outlet to be working all the time). The wires are connected with pigtails as follows:





And from the ground wire there is another exposed ground wire coming from the pigtail, and there is another short white wire that I believe was connected to the white pigtails, but fell out when I grabbed the wires initially. The short white wire hasn't been stripped on the end, and neither has the black wire on the switch side.

I assume the correct configuration is to strip the left black and pigtailed white wire and plug those into the receptacle, along with the pigtailed ground wire, and then plug whatever I need to into the one active outlet. I assume the red wire is connected to the right black wire in order to pass it power when the switch is flipped, but not to control the receptacle, as it should be on all the time. From checking the wires, the left black wire (the one that hasn't been stripped) is hot all the time when the breaker is on, but the other black wire is not (I assume because it needs the red wire to give it power).

So I'm wondering if I'm allowed to pigtail those three white wires together, and then plug that into the receptacle, and if my other assumptions are correct before going forward. I don't have any experience with this, so I'd like to get a second opinion before I start plugging stuff in.

enter image description here

  • Can you post photos of the inside of this box? Sep 17, 2016 at 23:26
  • @ThreePhaseEel Sure, picture here
    – westbyb
    Sep 17, 2016 at 23:56
  • By "outlet" you mean receptacle, correct? Sep 18, 2016 at 0:16
  • @ThreePhaseEel Yes, my mistake. Corrected in post.
    – westbyb
    Sep 18, 2016 at 0:24
  • 1
    @ThreePhaseEel It's looking like it's a bad connection after it comes off the first light. Just have to figure out how to take the can light out of the ceiling now.
    – westbyb
    Sep 18, 2016 at 16:01

1 Answer 1


From your photo, it's clear the electrician left you a handy little gift -- those third white and bare wires are pre-installed pigtails. With the power to the circuit off of course, simply strip the white pigtail and the unstripped black wire and hook up your receptacle (free black wire to brass screw, white pigtail wire to silver screw, bare pigtail to green screw).

  • Thanks for confirming my suspicions! Works like a charm.
    – westbyb
    Sep 18, 2016 at 1:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.