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Old 04-19-2012, 09:01 AM   #16
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How to rewire outlet controlled by light switch?


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Originally Posted by sublime2 View Post
In your OP you stated that 2 blacks and a red were connected to the switch. You now have a white connect to the switch.
Yes, because you told me to pigtail the red wire so that it makes a connection to both the switch and the black wire going to the electrical outlet. So the extra bit of wire I used happens to have a white colored insulation; but its an extension of the red and black. (The outlet's white neutral wires are twisted together, capped and tucked away in the back of the outlet). I posted a diagram above to make it clearer.

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Originally Posted by sublime2 View Post
The power(white wire) needs to be connected to the bottom of the switch. (switch the two wires)The white pigtail needs some black tape on it also.
Yes, the pigtail is temporary, so I didn't put black tape on it. But at least its clear to you that it's not one of the neutral white wires! But its not clear to me why you are calling the power wire the "white wire" (this should be the black, n'est ce pas?). I'm assuming you meant "black wire", because I read you're not supposed to connect a neutral (white) wire to a switch.

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Old 04-19-2012, 10:14 AM   #17
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How to rewire outlet controlled by light switch?


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Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Try moving one of the black wires to share* the screw with the red wire and the other black wire stays on the other screw.
That is the configuration that Sublime2 suggested. Which I had tried (I posted a photo of this, and later, a drawn diagram) and responded to say it made no change in the way the switch works. However, I never tried hooking up the second black wire, as you suggest. So I did try connecting the other black wire to the switch, and guess what? It made no change, the switch still controls the electrical outlet. Except now the switch will no longer turn off the ceiling light, nor the electrical outlet! Everything is on all the time in both switch positions.

So.... does this mean I'm screwed? Because if I have to string up new wiring to go from the light switch outlet to the ceiling fixture or electrical outlet, that's game over for me. This is not a new construction, so the walls are not open. And I wouldn't even know how to install all this extra wiring running between the connection points, without tearing up the walls and the ceiling.

UPDATE: I did further experiments.... If I connect one single black wire to the light switch (call it "wire #1"), with the other black not connected to anything, it powers both the light and the electrical outlet. It will switch both off when you shut the switch. If I connect the other single black wire to the light switch ("wire #2"), with the other black not connected to anything, that doesn't do anything. It does not provide power to either light or outlet, or do anything when the switch is turned on/off. No kidding, because the multimeter shows this wire measures .39 microvolts (one probe on the junction box, the other on the wire). Wire #1 measures a normal 120v. So I'm not sure why these two wires were twisted together originally, when it appears only one of them is needed.
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:40 AM   #18
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How to rewire outlet controlled by light switch?


The assumption was that the red was the power into the switch.that doesn't seem to be the case.
If you follow "hammerlane's" second drawing I think it will work for you.
Take the light fixture down to verify the wires appear as they do in the diagram before restoring power though.
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Old 04-19-2012, 11:37 AM   #19
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How to rewire outlet controlled by light switch?


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Originally Posted by sublime2 View Post
The assumption was that the red was the power into the switch.that doesn't seem to be the case.
Why? Isn't the black normally the power into the switch, and the red the power going out of the switch to the fixture?

Quote:
If you follow "hammerlane's" second drawing I think it will work for you. Take the light fixture down to verify the wires appear as they do in the diagram before restoring power though.
Alas, as I mentioned, Hammerlane's second drawing talks about going into the ceiling light fixture junction box and changing the wiring set-up there. If I've understood it correctly, those changes would require adding a lot of additional wire between the switch outlet & electric receptacle on opposite sides of the room, which goes well beyond what I can do here. I have neither the tools nor the skills (nor the licensing requirement) to even begin thinking of trying to route long lengths of wire inside of existing drywall and ceilings.

Is there not a way to have the electrical outlet wire bypass the light switch entirely (and still send power to the outlet), without going into the ceiling fixture and routing new wire? I'm going to try a continuity test to see if I can find out which of these light switch box wires is being routed to the electrical outlet.

UPDATE: My continuity test confirms that "black wire #2" (who's AC measures in millivolts, while black wire #1 measures 120v) does connect back to the electrical outlet. However, there is no connection with black wire #2 and either of the two neutral white wires in the light switch's junction box (that are normally just capped). There is a connection between black wire #1 and the two neutral white wires. I don't know if this is as it should be.

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Old 04-19-2012, 01:10 PM   #20
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How to rewire outlet controlled by light switch?


Quote:
Why? Isn't the black normally the power into the switch, and the red the power going out of the switch to the fixture?
No.
Not when a red is present.

Quote:
Alas, as I mentioned, Hammerlane's second drawing talks about going into the ceiling light fixture junction box and changing the wiring set-up there. If I've understood it correctly, those changes would require adding a lot of additional wire between the switch outlet & electric receptacle on opposite sides of the room,
Also no,
The diagram that hammerlane provided would not require any additional wiring.
As I said previously,if you remove the light fixture to see what wires are located in that box you will probably find a black,white and red.
Hammerlane's diagram shows you how to wire it with the existing wires there.
Only real difference is that power originates at the light and not the light switch.
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Old 04-19-2012, 04:57 PM   #21
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How to rewire outlet controlled by light switch?


Thanks. I've analyzed Hammerlane's diagram and concluded that his configuration is exactly how the original wiring was configured before I changed anything. There are some minor differences between how my wiring is configured and Hammerlane's diagram, but they do not alter the basic wiring principle he is outlining. I describe below how they are connected, and how the ceiling junction box is wired, in the hope that someone can figure out why this isn't working like it should in theory?!:

BLACK WIRES

I have two BLACK wires in my switch outlet. The one going to the electrical outlet appears to be a dummy wire, as it only registers millivolts. But it carries current to the outlet (and light fixture), because it is normally connected in pair to the switch with the other BLACK wire, that is hot (120v). I have confirmed via continuity that the BLACK wire in the electrical outlet carries a connection to the BLACK/RED pair in the ceiling fixture. There is a bundle of 3 BLACK wires in the ceiling fixture (not 2), but my meter shows no continuity between these and the BLACK wires in the switch outlet or electrical outlet.

SWITCHBOX CONTINUITY TEST: Connecting a probe from the BLACK wire on the electrical outlet, to the wires on the switch outlet shows:

When the switch is flipped in position with the RED wire (SILVER screw), there is connectivity with the RED wire in the switch outlet, but not the WHITE or BLACK. When the switch is flipped in position with the BLACK wire (BRASS screw), there is connectivity with RED, WHITE and BLACK wires in the switch outlet box.


WHITE WIRES


Also, my ceiling fixture box has 4 WHITE wires, not 2. I can confirm (via continuity test) that they connect with the WHITE wires in the switch outlet box and the ones in the electrical outlet box. n.b. They also make a connection with both BLACK & RED wires in the switch outlet box when the switch is on. They do not make a connection to the switch screw with the red wire, when the switch is off.

SWITCHBOX CONTINUITY TEST
: Connecting a probe from the WHITE wire on the electrical outlet, to the wires on the switch outlet shows:

When the switch is flipped in position with the RED wire (SILVER screw), there is no connectivity with the RED wire in the switch outlet, but there is a connection with the WHITE and BLACK wires. When the switch is flipped in position with the BLACK wire (BRASS screw), there is connectivity with RED, WHITE and BLACK wires in the switch outlet box.


RED WIRE

There is a confirmed connection between the RED/BLACK pair in the ceiling fixture, and the RED wire located in the switch box.

SWITCHBOX CONTINUITY TEST
: When the light switch is flipped in position with the RED wire (SILVER screw), there is no connectivity with the BLACK and WHITE wires in the switch outlet. When the switch is flipped in position with the BLACK wire (BRASS screw), there is connectivity with RED, WHITE and BLACK wires in the switch outlet box. The RED wire always registers a continuity connection, whether the switch is on or off.


Last edited by BuckyGunts; 04-19-2012 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:04 PM   #22
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How to rewire outlet controlled by light switch?


Quote:
Originally Posted by BuckyGunts View Post
Thanks. I've analyzed Hammerlane's diagram and concluded that his configuration is exactly how the original wiring was configured before I changed anything. There are some minor differences between how my wiring is configured and Hammerlane's diagram, but they do not alter the basic wiring principle he is outlining. I describe below how they are connected, and how the ceiling junction box is wired, in the hope that someone can figure out why this isn't working like it should in theory?!:

BLACK WIRES

I have two BLACK wires in my switch outlet. The one going to the electrical outlet appears to be a dummy wire, as it only registers millivolts. But it carries current to the outlet (and light fixture), because it is normally connected in pair to the switch with the other BLACK wire, that is hot (120v). I have confirmed via continuity that the BLACK wire in the electrical outlet carries a connection to the BLACK/RED pair in the ceiling fixture. There is a bundle of 3 BLACK wires in the ceiling fixture (not 2), but my meter shows no continuity between these and the BLACK wires in the switch outlet or electrical outlet.

SWITCHBOX CONTINUITY TEST: Connecting a probe from the BLACK wire on the electrical outlet, to the wires on the switch outlet shows:

When the switch is flipped in position with the RED wire (SILVER screw), there is connectivity with the RED wire in the switch outlet, but not the WHITE or BLACK. When the switch is flipped in position with the BLACK wire (BRASS screw), there is connectivity with RED, WHITE and BLACK wires in the switch outlet box.


WHITE WIRES


Also, my ceiling fixture box has 4 WHITE wires, not 2. I can confirm (via continuity test) that they connect with the WHITE wires in the switch outlet box and the ones in the electrical outlet box. n.b. They also make a connection with both BLACK & RED wires in the switch outlet box when the switch is on. They do not make a connection to the switch screw with the red wire, when the switch is off.

SWITCHBOX CONTINUITY TEST
: Connecting a probe from the WHITE wire on the electrical outlet, to the wires on the switch outlet shows:

When the switch is flipped in position with the RED wire (SILVER screw), there is no connectivity with the RED wire in the switch outlet, but there is a connection with the WHITE and BLACK wires. When the switch is flipped in position with the BLACK wire (BRASS screw), there is connectivity with RED, WHITE and BLACK wires in the switch outlet box.


RED WIRE

There is a confirmed connection between the RED/BLACK pair in the ceiling fixture, and the RED wire located in the switch box.

SWITCHBOX CONTINUITY TEST
: When the light switch is flipped in position with the RED wire (SILVER screw), there is no connectivity with the BLACK and WHITE wires in the switch outlet. When the switch is flipped in position with the BLACK wire (BRASS screw), there is connectivity with RED, WHITE and BLACK wires in the switch outlet box. The RED wire always registers a continuity connection, whether the switch is on or off.

Cable three goes to the switched receptacles. Cable 2 and 4 and the 14/2 at the switch are live cables with one being the feed.
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:32 AM   #23
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How to rewire outlet controlled by light switch?


Bucky have you remedied your issue?
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:54 AM   #24
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How to rewire outlet controlled by light switch?


Try this.

Scratch my previous reply.

Up in the ceiling light box move the cable 3 black to the cluster of black wires (constant hot).

Leave the red wire attached to the light fixture only.

Put the switch wires back the way they were (two blacks pigtailed to same screw on switch).
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Last edited by AllanJ; 04-20-2012 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:47 AM   #25
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How to rewire outlet controlled by light switch?


Woah! That did it! You mean that's all I had to do?? Move one wire over in the ceiling box?! I've been taxing what little brains I have for the last two days straight, posting the query on five different forums, spending hours drawing and analyzing diagrams and taking snapshots and all I had to do was move one lousy wire?! Beaut!

BIG thanks to you, sublime2, Hammerlane and all the rest of the good folk here at DYIChatRoom that took the time to help me out on this! Now I will finally be able to keep my remote control charged while the ceiling light is off! Now I'm the only member of my housing coop to have a properly wired living room outlet, because all the other apt.'s have things wired the same way, and I don't think anyone else likes it to have a switched electrical outlet either!

It took a long time to resolve, but I learned a lot more about the way electrical house wiring circuits work, so that was a fun, educational experience. Next beer's on me, guys!



Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Try this.

Scratch my previous reply.

Up in the ceiling light box move the cable 3 black to the cluster of black wires (constant hot).

Leave the red wire attached to the light fixture only.

Put the switch wires back the way they were (two blacks pigtailed to same screw on switch).
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:24 AM   #26
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How to rewire outlet controlled by light switch?


Just a quick question: does the switch control both receptacle plugs or only one? If only one then I have an idea...
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:33 AM   #27
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How to rewire outlet controlled by light switch?


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Just a quick question: does the switch control both receptacle plugs or only one? If only one then I have an idea...
The light switch only controls (controlled) one receptacle plug.
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:43 AM   #28
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How to rewire outlet controlled by light switch?


I think he was asking if if only one of the two plugs in the duplex receptacle. I think the answer was it controlled both plugs of the duplex.

It's fixed now it I guess it doesn't matter.
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Old 04-20-2012, 12:18 PM   #29
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How to rewire outlet controlled by light switch?


There was only one cable with black and white entering the box with the receptacle. With this, both halves of the receptacle have to work the same way.
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Old 04-20-2012, 12:23 PM   #30
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How to rewire outlet controlled by light switch?


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I think he was asking if if only one of the two plugs in the duplex receptacle. I think the answer was it controlled both plugs of the duplex.

It's fixed now it I guess it doesn't matter.
I don't suppose it does, as I'm starting to reassemble things and close everything up. The only thing I wasn't sure about, is whether its correct that the WHITE and RED in the ceiling fixture junction box (that attach to the light) measure 44v when the light switch is off. I was expecting them to not put out anything, or in the mV range. The light does switch off (and not just dim), so I'm happy about that.

But just to answer Kwilcox q., the duplex receptacle is a standard receptacle, and indeed, the light switch was controlling both plugs in this receptacle. I know you can modify a receptacle to make it half switched by breaking a tab etc., but I need both plugs to be unswitched. (I didn't actually check both, but I assume that they are both unswitched now).

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