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mjmcneese 05-28-2007 11:13 AM

Switch Used to Work...
I tried to do some searches on the forum that covered this topic, but didn't find anything specific...sorry if this has been covered before. Here's my situation...

We bought a 1976-built house. Three of the rooms in the house have switches that operate receptacles...but only the TOP outlet on those receptacles. We did some painting, so we wanted to install new outlets and switches. I did one of these circuits, changed all the outlets and switches, and now the switch doesn't work - there is power to the outlet all the time.

Then I went to another room to inspect the wiring of the switches and receptacles to see what I did wrong. Looks like I had everything right. So, in this other room I changed out JUST the switch, turned the breaker back on and switch operated the outlets perfectly. Changed one of the outlets (very carefully, changing one wire at a time), and now it doesn't work again...the outlets always have power.

I'm a noob, so I don't understand how I'd even begin to diagram this! Thanks for any help!

mikemy6 05-28-2007 11:19 AM

u have to break off the small metal clip that joins the top and bottom sockets. this will allow the switch to control the one and not just keep feeding power from other.

mikemy6 05-28-2007 11:20 AM

look between the screws on the side and torn off the power

mjmcneese 05-28-2007 11:46 AM

Ah...that's making a lot of sense...duh.

Well, makes sense for a few of the outlets. But one of them only has one black, one white, and one red wire. So, I'm guessing that THAT outlet I should leave the tab ON on the white side of the receptacle?

THANKS a ton.

mikemy6 05-28-2007 12:01 PM

Can u check the old one or is that gone? i cant be sure on that. U should get a plug in socket tester they're cheep and easy to use.

mjmcneese 05-28-2007 12:38 PM

I wish I could find the old outlet - it's in a pile of about 30 that I've changed so far. Here's what I've got...

Switch: one black, one white
Near Receptacle on switch: one black, one white, one red
Far Receptacle on switch: one black, one white, on red and the tab is broken between the two white terminals. This far receptacle has been changed and IS working on the switch circuit. The other receptacle now has power on the bottom outlet, the top has no power weather the switch is on or not. And so far, on this near receptacle, I've tried the outlet with NO tabs split, and I've tried it with the white tab split.

mjmcneese 05-28-2007 12:40 PM

Never mind :) I guess it helps if I actually turn the light ON. Holidays...

JohnJ0906 05-28-2007 12:49 PM

As you are looking at the front of the outlet :
Do not break the tab on the left (white) side.
Break the tab on the right (red and black) side.

mjmcneese 05-28-2007 02:30 PM

Wow, this little project is a MUCH bigger pain that I thought it'd be. In another room I have a switch that runs the TOP of ONE receptacle. The other five receptacles are always on. I swapped out the switch...just a black and red wire. Then I changed three of the easy-to-get-to non-switched receptacles...I did NOT change the receptacle that the switch operates where I have a light. Wifey needed the power back on in that room so I turned the break back on and now the switch doesn't work in that room either!

I made VERY sure to do one wire at a time, and made note of which tabs were broken on each receptacle. I still have the old receptacles to refer back to as well...everything checks out...NOW I'm really confused.

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