All 120v outlets and lights are not working in a detatched garage


I have a separate garage that was built in 2001. It has a 100 amp sub panel that is fed from the main panel in the garage of my house. The panels are about 50' apart and the wire is in conduit. The sub was bonded between the ground and neutral bars but I have separated them and there is also a separate ground rod for it. There are only 3 wires between the two panels and not a 4th grounding wire.

I have a low voltage PLT license that I use for the trade I am in and have done quite a bit of high voltage wiring in houses that I have lived in.

A couple of weeks ago I was going to use a craftsman skill saw to cut a board and when I tried to start it, the saw didn't start just hummed like the brushes were bad. The strangest part is that the light on the garage door opener flashed on and off when I attempted to start the saw. Now all 7 120v circuits in my garage don't work. I have a 220v compressor that does work but none of the 120v circuits do including ceiling...

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Have one room 2nd floor. 4 wall outlets and a light switch in closet. Quit working. Utilizing a shop vac, drywall sander in 2 different outlets. Just quit. Breakers not blown. … read more


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I am trying to add a power outlet to wall. The light switch above it has 2 wires(black and white) and ground. I was told to run black wire from outlet to switch and leave black wire attached the switc… read more


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I havea line into junction box and 14-3goingout to switch and also wire goingout to light . all grounds are connected. when I connect hot wire to black in the 14-3 ,tester shows about 5 volts in both … read more


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I am looking for installation instructions for junction box #...

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Can't create energy unfortunately...

The voltage drops because of Ohm's Law. In your case:

Voltage droop in power line = square-root of power used times the resistance in the power line

If you see the lights dim occasionally, at those moments, there is too much load on the line.

Your only solution, conceptually, is to add more energy to the system.

Adding energy...


A UPS stands for "Uninterruptible Power Supply". There are two basic types:

A true UPS in which power from the wall is converted and applied to a storage device, like a battery, and then the storage device is used to power anything connected to it's outlets.

An SPS ("Standby Power Supply") connects it's outlets to the power line directly and simply switches to a battery after it detects the power line is no longer providing sufficient power.

True UPS's work because the power always comes from their internal reserve with or without external...

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Running Electric to a detatched garage

I have a detached garage approximately 50 feet from my house. I want to run electric to it so that I can have an interior light, 2 exterior flood lights as well as an outdoor electrical outlet to plug my travel trailer (camper) into. The camper, when plugged in, will charge the batteries on the camper as well as run the lights, refrigerator/freezer and sometimes the air conditioner A(in the camper). My breaker box in the house is approximately another 50 from where the line will come into the house (total of approximately 100 feet from breaker box to garage).
Any suggestions on what gauge wire I need to run and how I should set this up in order to have the right set up to handle the possible load? I plan on burying the line and then punching through the foundation and running it straight to the breaker box.

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Unfortunately you're stuck with an electrician. If all the 120V outlets are wired to the same breaker, there's no way you can make a 240V outlet from that. Further, a kiln requires THICK wire, to carry the increased current (measured in amperes) that a kiln draws. If that thick wire doesn't enter your garage, your electrician must bring new wire to the garage.

But as to voltage issues alone ...

A simple check can be made if you can find where the wires enter the garage. There should be one white wire, and there may be a green or a bare wire or there may be metal conduit enclosing the wiring. If there's one black wire, that's it: you can't make a 240V outlet in the way you've asked. If there's more than one black wire, or a black and a blue or red wire, you probably can.

The voltage between a "hot" and a "neutral" is 120V. Between a "hot" and a different "hot," it's either 240V or 208V, depending on certain electrical choices your utility has made. Of course, if both...

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6 wrote:

Yes, there's a reliable way of controlling three external lights on the garage from three switches in the house and three switches in the garage, assuming the lights are reasonably sized, like not over 500 watts each.

But, the amount of work and materials needed may be more trouble than your just pulling the needed extra wires.



Here goes:

Buy three single pole 10A contact 120 vac coil "impulse stepping relays" like the ones shown here:

mount them in an enclosure in the garage.

use two of the six 14 gage wires to bring a 120 volt hot, neutral and ground to the garage. (One side of the 240 in the garage is probably going to be at the same potential as a separate 120 volt hot, but I'd be more comfortable using a separate wire.)

Power the three lights from that circuit, through the contacts of each...

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Straightforward advice for common household electric dilemmas

In this episode: Have the receptacles in your garage or on the outside walls of your home stopped working? Before calling an electrician you may want to try a few things first.

Sometimes you need an electrician, sometimes you don’t. Harte Electric will help you save money and know when to call in a licensed electrician. If you are ever unsure, or if you see sparks or smell smoke, contact a licensed electrician right away.


Locate the circuit breaker for these receptacles. It should be labeled.

Reset the breaker by moving the breaker handle to the off position and then back to the on position.

If this does not restore power to the receptacles, the problem may be a GFCI type receptacle has tripped and needs to be reset. It can be identified by test and reset buttons on it’s face. It can usually be found in the garage, basement, outside wall of the house and in older homes...

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We have always known that we wanted to have an attached garage — ideally, a basement garage — in our new log home.

This wasn’t going to be a problem when we were planning to build on a nicely sloped lot on Dale Hollow Lake. However, when we changed our mind and decided to build in Williamson County instead, the land wasn’t nearly as curvacious.

For awhile, it wasn’t clear as to whether we were going to be able to have a basement garage or not. But as it turns out, we can. In fact, we just received the final set of blueprints showing the detail for our attached garage in the basement.

While exploring our basement options, I learned a few things about the differences between attached garages vs detached garages vs basement garages. Here’s what I found…

Pro’s & Con’s Of Each Garage

First, to be clear:

An attached garage is simply an extension of the home, usually sharing 1, 2, or even 3 walls with the house itself. A detached garage is a...
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Learning how to wire a garage is an important step if a person wants to complete the job on their own. The overall design of the garage will determine the wiring layout that is used. The number of outlets, the type of lighting and various other elements, such as items that will require 220 amp service will all need to be considered. You will also need to think about what kinds of activities will be performed in the garage and how much space will be used for each one. This will be important when considering the placement of the lights and outlets.

Approved Wiring Diagram

Even individuals who have experience wiring small appliances or circuits, may need to learn how to wire a garage correctly. If you plan on wiring the garage yourself, you will need to find an approved wiring diagram that meets your overall needs. Home improvement stores often have books that include several different wiring layouts that will accommodate a wide variety of activities. Make sure the...

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No clue. I think there's a right way and a wrong way. Your current way sounds like the wrong way (and is the same way my barn is currently wired.) A guy from an electrical supply store had a complete list for me of everything I'd need to bring it to code. It included an underground feed, a "sub panel" in there, and a separate grounding rod for the barn. Nearest I could find for you is that something changed in the NEC in 2008 concerning separate grounding; at least I saw it mentioned on two different sites. And, the two different discussions seemed to come to opposite conclusions, so I don't know which is correct & which is wrong.

A separate grounding rod would be "safe" for the garage - but I really don't think it would bring your garage up to code.

Click to...

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I have a light switch installed in my garage and cannot get it to work from Smartthings. Here is what I have done:

Installed switch in the garage, no love - too far away from the hub, I assumed.

Put one of these in the garage: - it was already registered with my ST hub and it works all day long - I can turn it on and off from my app. Is this a repeater like the Iris one? I can’t find confirmation. If so, how do you turn it on? It’s literally 2 feet from the light switch and the switch still won’t add to ST.

(Multiple Z Wave network repairs…)

Brought switch into the house, wired it in to where a light switch was, added it to ST without issues, named it “garage”, then took it back to the garage and installed it. Now it is in the app, but won’t turn on / off the light. The SmartThings Power Outlet still works all day long.

Multiple more Z Wave network...

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what type of wire does PG&E require to be buried in conduit? The Distance would be close to 400' Will a single wire be able to go that distance or will I need a secondary? How many wires will be in th… read more

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hello, need to wire my food truck outlet on the outside of the truck. I have a 30 amp breaker box... The outlet on the outside of the truck caught on fire because of the way he wired it lol - needless… read more

Mike G.

Master Electrician

Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho

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Is it permissible to run romex wire through conduit indoors and in a dry location? … read more

Mike G.

Master Electrician

Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho

7,826 satisfied customers

I have Lightolier 120v track with R702WH low-voltage heads with MR16 halogens. I want to change the...

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Hello icanfixit. Welcome back!

There are lots of garages out there fed by a single 20 amp circuit. It is the wiring that limits you to 20 amps, not the circuit breaker.

I will assume for now that what you currently have meets code and is safely installed. You can add on additional outlet boxes. Having 3 or 4 outlets on one circuit is not unusual. You can tap off of your ceiling box using 12 gauge wire to accomplish this. Just keep in mind that you are limited in how many items you can feed with power at any one time.

I would like you to think in terms of how you want to use your garage. This also needs to include your requirements for lighting. Planning to install an air compressor? How about banks of strip lights or outdoor flood lights? Running a table saw, power tools, a welder? Setting up power feeds based on your future intended use will save you lots of headaches.

If you have an attached garage, running extra circuits for lighting and outlets off...

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Electric Outlets Don't Work

I have two outlets on one wall that don't work. I have replaced both outlets so have concluded that isn't the problem. There is power in the black wire so I assume the problem is continuity in the white wire. Other Outlets and lights on the circuit work. Any suggestions on the cause and solution would be greatly appreciated.

You checked the black wire and it was energized. Since the white seems to be the problem, then I assume you tested black to ground to determine there was juice there. But when you test black to white, you get nothing.

Thus, the white has an open some where. Do you know where the feed to the outlets comes from? Is there an outlet that feeds them, or perhaps fed from a light fixture in the floor below?

Not knowing what floor these are on, and if you have access to the ceiling below, I am not sure where to tell you to look. But you need to find where they are being fed from. Then you check to see if the...

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Wiring a garage is really not all that complicated if you have a basic understanding of electricity and follow widely published guidelines. There is a ton of information on basic wiring principles on the web, as well as a number of great books on the subject, too.

You have to be careful with what you find though, especially online, because there is a lot of outdated or just plain bad information out there, too. The National Electric Code (NEC) gets updated every three years. Although there usually aren't many major changes, it only takes one outdated piece of information to cause you to make a costly mistake and put your garage wiring out of compliance!

Even with all the information out there, most of it is not specifically focused on a garage. When wiring a garage, especially if it is to be used as a workshop, you have different needs than someone who is wiring up a new bedroom addition. You will likely need more outlets, spaced closer together, and may need higher...

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The National Electrical Code (


) technical committees acted on 3,745 code change proposals and 1,625 public comments in addition to adding new articles during the 2014 NEC development process. As the 2014 NEC updates are adopted in each state across the United States, it is critical for electrical contractors to have a grasp on this evolving set of rules and understand how they affect their operations.

Following are several key additions and changes to the 2014 NEC that focus on safety enhancements to electrical infrastructure and for electrical workers through the expansion of protective devices and new technology.

210.8(A) GFCI – Dwelling Units
This section requires that all 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20- ampere receptacles installed in the locations specified in 201.8(A)(1) through (10) shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel. Two new locations have been added:

bathtubs or shower stalls,...
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