I had to remove an outlet in a room and I traced the wire back to this junction box that houses a light switch. I disconnected all splices (solder + tape) in the box (foolishly without marking the wires) and cut the metal cable leading to the outlet I needed to remove with a high leverage cutter.

Now, I'm trying to figure out what's going on in this box. I've identified the hot and temporarily put a connector on it to extend it. I've identified the hot that goes to the light. I figured that of the remaining 3 wires I would have 1 hot that used to go outlet and 2 neutrals. However, here's what I'm finding out that I'm yet to figure out:

  1. The light turns out when I touch the light wire to the hot (even though all other wires are disconnected). The only way I have of explaining this is that the home run goes to the light first and from there two conductors to the box.

  2. All three other wires short circuit when I touch hot to them. The only way I have of explaining this is when I cut the wire with the high leverage cutter, I short circuited it and it's still sitting there in the wall with the hot touching the neutral.

Am I right in my assessments or is there a better explanation?


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  • Can we get a better photo of the inside of the box? The existing one is terribly shadowed, sadly :/ – ThreePhaseEel Sep 19 '16 at 0:22
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    Which nation are you in? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Sep 19 '16 at 2:20
  • With the terminal blocks not wire nuts I would guess UK. What voltage may be a better question. – Ed Beal Sep 19 '16 at 8:09
  • Added new picture with a flash. Country: US Voltage: 120V House built: 1940 – Wynne Sep 19 '16 at 12:28
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    I can't answer your question but I will say: 1) don't deliberately short circuit the wiring. You can damage the wire, and it is tempting fate with the fire gods. Use a multimeter. 2) the color of the wire is an indication of it's purpose but doesn't guarantee it. If you think something is weird you should not assume anything. – Hank Sep 19 '16 at 12:57

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