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goldynchyld 12-22-2010 03:19 PM

Problem with switch
 
Hi, I am new to the site. I have a pretty simple understanding of electricity but felt comfortable preforming simple electrical jobs. I recently replaced an outlet that worked fine but was not holding plugs properly, the connection was easily lost with movement of cable. After replacing the outlet however I noticed that the switch controlling that outlet now controlled other outlets as well, even in other rooms and the garage. I am not sure but I assuming all outlets also influenced by the switch are all downstream electrically from the one I replaced. Half the original room's outlets are still not controlled by the switch. I made sure when I replaced the electrical outlet that I connected all the wires correctly, I even double checked. I am really lost at what the problem is, as I would really appreciate any advice or insight at what could be the problem or further test to locate the issue. Also just to reiterate all outlets perform fine but multiple outlets are controlled by a switch that previously only controlled one.

clashley 12-22-2010 03:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by goldynchyld (Post 555574)
Hi, I am new to the site. I have a pretty simple understanding of electricity but felt comfortable preforming simple electrical jobs. I recently replaced an outlet that worked fine but was not holding plugs properly, the connection was easily lost with movement of cable. After replacing the outlet however I noticed that the switch controlling that outlet now controlled other outlets as well, even in other rooms and the garage. I am not sure but I assuming all outlets also influenced by the switch are all downstream electrically from the one I replaced. Half the original room's outlets are still not controlled by the switch. I made sure when I replaced the electrical outlet that I connected all the wires correctly, I even double checked. I am really lost at what the problem is, as I would really appreciate any advice or insight at what could be the problem or further test to locate the issue. Also just to reiterate all outlets perform fine but multiple outlets are controlled by a switch that previously only controlled one.

How many hot wires were in that junction box when you removed the original receptacle? If this is a switched receptacle, you should have two hot wires coming into the box (one from the switch and one from the breaker panel). The hot wire from the switch should be connected to the brass terminal on the new receptacle, while hot wire coming from the breaker panel should be pigtailed to the hot wire going to the other receptacles.

brric 12-22-2010 04:17 PM

The tab between to two brass colored screws should be removed.

joed 12-22-2010 05:12 PM

This is not a tab issue. If the tab were a problem the receptacle would not turn off with the switch.
Obviously you didn't wire it exactly the same. Please tell us all the wires and cables in the receptacle box and how they are connected. Did you make any changes at the switch or anywhere else?

goldynchyld 12-22-2010 06:00 PM

I did not do anything to the switch, but I did also replace two other receptacles one to the right and one to the left of the switch controlled receptacle. The receptacle to the right is now also controlled by the switch while the one to the left works as intended. The receptacle had 2 pairs of black and white wires and a ground, 5 total. I double checked at the black wires are connected to the brass screws and the white are connected to silver. I thought I wired the new receptacle same as the old, I went though the trouble of marking the wires with tape, but I suppose I might have switched the upper and lower connects. Could this responsible for the the switch's control of other outlets downstream?

joed 12-22-2010 07:37 PM

What about the wires at the other now switched receptacle and the other one that works properly?

goldynchyld 12-23-2010 03:46 PM

Hey guys thanks for the prompt responses, sorry but I couldn't check the outlet until today. The adjacent receptacles, one controlled and one uncontrolled by the switch, both have 3 wires connected to them; 1 hot, 1 neutral, and 1 ground. I also took another look at the receptacle that is MEANT to be controlled by the switch and I saw 3 wires nuts tucked in back. Three hot wires were pigtailed and three neutral wires were pigtailed with a wire from each pigtail going to the receptacle. The third pigtail was difficult to see but I believe it was two grounds.

joed 12-23-2010 06:22 PM

Tell us about the wires in the switch box. The wiring in the receptacle seems to indicate that other devices should be controlled by the switch. That is why there are two wires on the receptacle. The second set of wires goes to the other devices that are controlled.
Also check the connection of those wires in the back of the box. One of them could be loose.

goldynchyld 12-23-2010 09:51 PM

I will have to wait until tomorrow to check the switch wiring and check the connections on the receptacle. But I am pretty sure it is a simple two way switch which is meant to only control the bottom half of the lone receptacle.

joed 12-23-2010 09:55 PM

Now its only the bottom half that is supposed to be switched. If that is the case then the tab on the gold(hot) side needs to be removed but I don't see how that could cause your problem. The tab not being removed makes the receptacle be always on.

goldynchyld 12-23-2010 11:45 PM

Prior to replacing the receptacle only the bottom half was controlled by the switch. After replacing the receptacle not only is it controlled in entirety by the switch, but so are two other receptacles in the room, as well as the receptacles in the adjacent dining room and garage. I didn't even notice at first until I saw my lawn was dieing and noticed it wasn't being watered, because the sprinkler timer in the garage was turned off with this switch in the off position. I will take a look for this tab tomorrow, but the problem is certainly not that the receptacle will not switch off.

Edit: Also I probably should have mentioned this before but I did not know what to make of it or if it was relevant. But I remember when I first restored power after replacing the receptacle that the outlet did stay on at first and I remember hearing somewhat loud electric buzz noise. I then turned off the power to make sure wires were connected right and not loose. I saw nothing wrong and turned the power back on to see that the switch now controlled the outlet. It wasn't until later that realized that the switch controlled multiple outlets as the other outlets didn't get much use and when first checking them the light switch stayed on as I was in the room. I came here to see if anyone could help me identify the problem and correct it.

sirsparksalot 12-24-2010 12:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by goldynchyld (Post 556324)
Prior to replacing the receptacle only the bottom half was controlled by the switch. After replacing the receptacle not only is it controlled in entirety by the switch, but so are two other receptacles in the room, as well as the receptacles in the adjacent dining room and garage. I didn't even notice at first until I saw my lawn was dieing and noticed it wasn't being watered, because the sprinkler timer in the garage was turned off with this switch in the off position. I will take a look for this tab tomorrow, but the problem is certainly not that the receptacle will not switch off.

Edit: Also I probably should have mentioned this before but I did not know what to make of it or if it was relevant. But I remember when I first restored power after replacing the receptacle that the outlet did stay on at first and I remember hearing somewhat loud electric buzz noise. I then turned off the power to make sure wires were connected right and not loose. I saw nothing wrong and turned the power back on to see that the switch now controlled the outlet. It wasn't until later that realized that the switch controlled multiple outlets as the other outlets didn't get much use and when first checking them the light switch stayed on as I was in the room. I came here to see if anyone could help me identify the problem and correct it.

But after turning the power on and off again before i was able look back into it rectified itself after a unrelated power outage the next day.

So is it working as designed now? If you still have the old receptacle that you replaced, please check to see if there's a metal tab connecting the two brass screws together.

3 legged dog 12-24-2010 12:47 AM

As mentioned before, you need to clip the jumper at the receptical.
Then reset the breaker that tripped due to the jumper not being clipped.
Not sure why there would be another phase at the plug, but thats what it
sounds like.

AllanJ 12-24-2010 06:39 AM

You have raw (unswitched) power, switched power, and continuation hot wire coming into the outlet box via colored wires.

At any rate you would snap off (bend back and forth) the jumper tab on the gold side (slightly smaller prong holes) of your receptacle.

The raw power hot lead goes to the upper gold screw, the switched power goes to the bottom gold screw on the receptacle unit.

To avoid having the switch control all the other receptacles, you connect the continuation hot wire to the screw with the raw power.

(In actuality, one screw holds only one wire so you take the two wires that want to go to that screw and also a 6 inch length of wire of matching color and wire nut the three together. The other end of the short length (pigtail) goes to the screw.)

If the switch itself doesn't get any power except from this outlet box, connect the other switch wire (which may be white) to the incoming raw power lead. One wire nut should be enough to hold all the wires that need to be connected to the raw power wire.

If you break off the tab on the silver side by mistake all is not lost. Cut two white pigtails and wire nut them to the cluster of neutral wires. Connect the free ends to the two silver screws. Or strip two inches off the end of the neutral wire and snake it around both silver screws.

joed 12-24-2010 08:06 AM

Yes now it sounds like you have two separate circutis on that receptacle. You have tripped the breaker that controls the second circuit. The second circuit is now being fed by the switched power from circuit #1 throught the tab. Break the tab off and reset both breakers. It always helps when we get the whole story.

To be code compliant the two breakers that control that receptacle must be tied together so they both trip when either one of them trips.


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