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rabbit2115 03-14-2011 09:01 AM

Switch not operating outlet anymore! The brass tab IS broken. Help!?
I changed out an outlet because it was old and not holding plugs well anymore. One of the receptacles was on a switch but now both receptacles are always hot. I DID break the brass tab on the hot side but that didn't change anything. I've also changed the switch out but still both outlet receptacles are hot.

Within the outlet box is a black hot wire, an orange hot wire (goes back to the switch), & a white neutral.

The switch box has a black hot & orange hot wire

Please help! :wallbash:

rditz 03-14-2011 10:07 AM

OK, so, can you verify that with the black and orange wires disconnected from the receptacle, the orange wire is switched?? meaning that when you operate the switch you liven the orange wire.

and, you've cut the the connector between the terminals that the black and "orange" wires are connected to and that the white has the connector in place??


Saturday Cowboy 03-14-2011 10:27 AM

I bet u have the orange and black wires reversed

AllanJ 03-14-2011 10:52 AM

Double check to be sure that wire ends don't stick out from the screws far enough to touch other metal parts.

What other wires are in the boxes and how are they grouped in back (which cables are which wires coming from)?

rabbit2115 03-14-2011 11:43 AM

Hi all,

I removed the orange and black wires from the outlet to check if the switch activated either of them. They were both hot, regardless of the switch's position.

Therefore, I took off both the black and orange from the actual switch and tested. They too were both hot.

Now i'm more confused! Shouldn't the orange be dead if it's not connected to the switch?

This switch was fully functioning properly before I changed the outlet out, so I really dont know what could've caused this!??

AllanJ 03-14-2011 12:09 PM

Maybe the wires got crushed at the back of the box because the clamps were too tight and the wires got shorted together back there when you pulled on them.

Are both wires still live when you disconnected both ends, namely from both the switch and the receptacle?

rabbit2115 03-14-2011 05:14 PM

yes, I just checked the wires when both disconnected from the switch and the outlet. The orange and black are both always hot. I'm guessing that means the wires somehow fused themselves together in the conduit? Both boxes look ok, the wires aren't touching...

Wildie 03-14-2011 06:45 PM

If you rewired the receptacle incorrectly, perhaps you have damaged the switch, inadvertantly.

If the power from the panel goes to the switch box first, you would have the incoming neutral wired to the neutral going to the receptacle.
The power wire from the panel will be wired directly to a colored wire going to the recept. It will also have a jumper connected to the switch.
The switch will then be connected to the other colored wire going to the recept.
At the recept. the neutral wire connects to the silver recept. terminal.
The other, colored wires will connect to the two, split, bronzed terminals.
It doesn't matter which order is used! :thumbsup:

AllanJ 03-14-2011 07:10 PM

Did you do some electrical work elsewhere at the same time?

Maybe the wires from this switch do not go directly to this receptacle and there is a problem at an outlet box or junction box in between.

rabbit2115 03-14-2011 08:24 PM

Hm. I did change out all the outlets at the same time because they were all so old. Is there a chance the orange switch wire runs through another outlet box? I'll have to open them up and check but if it is also in another box should it be disconnected from the receptacle?

AllanJ 03-14-2011 11:26 PM

Maybe the orange wire is supposed to be live all the time and the black wire controlled by the switch. YOu;ll have to inspect all the outlet boxes that you worked on to see which is the case.

frenchelectrican 03-15-2011 05:01 AM

If you live in Chicago area then I should able recall the conductor colour code and with orange that is switched hot while black is unswitched hot conductor.

So take the NCV tester to verify it or use the test light one of the two should able tell you the indentfication of that conductor.


P.S. If you are in Chicago area then this link will give you the answer { Scroll down half way }
Colour codes link

oh'mike 03-15-2011 06:47 AM

French Electrician ---I'm flattered that you saved that chart!--Mike--

Kayak-Joe 04-23-2013 01:53 PM

Check your new switch. It sounds like you may have installed a three-way switch in-lieu of a one-way light switch.

daveb1 04-23-2013 03:16 PM

I would expect that at some time in the past two years, the OP solved his problem.

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