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Old 09-07-2008, 08:35 PM   #1
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Wall switch inop

Help, first post here, and I need help. I have a wall switch connected to a wall outlet. Turn the switch on and the lamp comes on. Easy. Now, I just changed the outlet (it wouldn't hold a plug in) and I put the red wire on the same side as the white (it was painted white, and I didn't notice), well, I flipped the breaker on, and it went off straight away. I noticed my mistake, and changed it.
Now the switch wont work at all, the outlet is constantly on.

Any ideas what I need to do to fix this, Ta, Nigel...


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Old 09-07-2008, 09:44 PM   #2
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Was your original outlet a duplex, and was it set up so that one of the outlets (either the top or bottom) was hot all the time, and the other was controlled by the switch?

If YES, then you had a "split" receptacle. If you still have your old one, you will see that the little metal tabs that are between the two screws on each side are missing.

This tab is used to connect the two outlets together, so you only have to attach your power wires to one set of screws for the whole outlet to work.

To create a split receptacle, you break off the tabs on both sides to separate the top and bottom outlets from each other. In your case, one could be wired hot all the time like a normal outlet, and the other can be wired through a switch to control anything that is plugged into it, like a lamp. To recreate this, break off the two tabs.

If you did NOT have one hot all the time, you might have a burned up outlet or switch now.


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Old 09-07-2008, 10:35 PM   #3
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Hey Mate, Ta very much for the info. Works like a champ now. I cut the tabs between the hot wires...

Bloody good site this is...
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Old 09-08-2008, 05:44 AM   #4
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A little clarification on what williswires said. If you only have 3 wires in the box; red, black and white you only break off the tabs on the hot (usually brass coloured) side. If you break them off on both sides, one half of the outlet won't work (no neutral). If you have five wires, B/R/W coming from the switch and another pair B/W going to the next outlet, the same rule applies (twist the Bs together, pigtail to the half of the outlet you want constantly hot).... cheers, pete
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