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Old 11-04-2010, 08:30 AM   #1
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Wiring an outlet to go with switch


I had to replace an outlet. The outlet goes with the light switch. The old wiring had 2 black 2 white and 1 red. When is replaced it i put back the 2 black and 2 white, but there was no place to put back the red. I left the red out. Now it will not work with the light switch and also the top recepacle will not work.
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Old 11-04-2010, 09:55 AM   #2
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How was the old outlet wired? What was the configuration of the old outlet. Did the switch control only one (top or bottom) outlet, or both? Do you have the ability to measure voltages? Do you know where the Black/White/Red cable goes (to the switch, maybe)?
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Old 11-04-2010, 10:14 PM   #3
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Here is some blunt truth. You are in over your head. Hire an electrician who will (should) have the experience and tools to correct whatever you did wrong. $75 for a house call is a lot cheaper than $7500 to repair damage from a house fire.
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Old 11-04-2010, 11:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tldoug View Post
Here is some blunt truth. You are in over your head. Hire an electrician who will (should) have the experience and tools to correct whatever you did wrong. $75 for a house call is a lot cheaper than $7500 to repair damage from a house fire.
This is the DIY forum, not Electriciantalk, so if you can't figure it out, don't post; "hire an electrician!" is something said at electriciantalk.com, a great forum for pros...

To the OP... well, you may be in over your head, actually.

Post back pictures of the outlet, and the switch box; you have a hot leg, switch leg, and the upper and lower outlets are separated; you probably did not know this; it is really simple, but you need to get us pictures and more info.

The culture in this forum is to help as best you can; there are no professionals here (except to help,) so go to http://electriciantalk.com , tldoug, if you want to hang with pros...
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Old 11-05-2010, 12:26 AM   #5
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Timster:

I knew exactly to whom I was writing and why. Frequently, the best advice that can be provided to a DIYer is STOP! before you do harm to yourself or others.

Maybe that doesn't fit with your idea of "help", but that's not my problem.

Perhaps you wouldn't have taken so much offense had I said "Go get a friend who knows what he's doing before you create a real problem." Gosh, guess I'll just have to pick my words more carefully if I think you're lurking in the area.

Naw! Where's the fun in that?
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Old 11-05-2010, 12:43 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by tldoug View Post
Timster:

I knew exactly to whom I was writing and why. Frequently, the best advice that can be provided to a DIYer is STOP! before you do harm to yourself or others.

Maybe that doesn't fit with your idea of "help", but that's not my problem.

Perhaps you wouldn't have taken so much offense had I said "Go get a friend who knows what he's doing before you create a real problem." Gosh, guess I'll just have to pick my words more carefully if I think you're lurking in the area.

Naw! Where's the fun in that?
Well, I appreciate the proper use of of 'whom' in your response. You are probably right... I have been shocked more times than I can count, during work, as I was learning the trade, and have escaped death a time or two, as many here have.

$75-100 for a service call and he gets it fixed right...

Doug, I am pretty sure you have forgotten more about electrical work than I will ever learn, so help the poor guy! If he turns off the breaker, he can work on it safe...

You may well be right; he might be in over his head. You get a lot of people here that will post once and disappear though...

I am just saying that the culture is different here than on the pro forums.

Last edited by Timster; 11-05-2010 at 12:46 AM.
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Old 11-05-2010, 02:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KATWALK View Post
I had to replace an outlet. The outlet goes with the light switch. The old wiring had 2 black 2 white and 1 red. When is replaced it i put back the 2 black and 2 white, but there was no place to put back the red. I left the red out. Now it will not work with the light switch and also the top recepacle will not work.
Ok before you go any further is this receptale is switched half or not ?? that will make the diffrence and I know you say two white conductors and two black conductors but single red so before you fix this up take a quick peek at the switch box to see how it conferaged and with switched recetpales you will definely need a pigtail for it anyway.

And if you want half of the receptale to be switched you have to break off the small tab between two brass screws and single red will be on that one while two black are pigtailed and go to other brass coloured screw.

If you still not understand or have more question just post it here before you do anything else.


tldoug.,

I can understand your feeling on that one but you have to understand few of us are Electrician in here so we will know what is the safe level for the OP to deal with it.

If it was over the head I will say something as well but not very often.

Merci.
Marc
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Old 11-05-2010, 03:25 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by alyna View Post
how come there's only one red?? Really wierd
Not really I have see that all the time it is used on switch loop or switched receptale and that is common for me to find it espcally if the room do not have ceiling luminaire and per NEC code if you do not have ceiling luminiare you must have a switched receptale.

So that is the explantion why on this part.

Merci.
Marc
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Old 11-05-2010, 08:42 AM   #9
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You will want to find out which wire is the (hot) power feed. Use a voltmeter for this. Unfortunately to convey enough information to someone else over the internet to figure this out foolproof, you have to report back the voltage between every combination of two wires and between each wire and ground. An experienced electrician can make a few measurements and jump to conclusions as to which wire is the hot feed.

Most likely the two white wires are both neutral and should be connected together. But not if there are two hot wires regardless of switch position. The preferable method, space permitting, is to connect the two white wires and a short length (pigtail) of white wire together and connect the other end of the short piece to the side of the receptacle unit with silver screws and.or slightly larger prong holes. If the tab is broken off between the two silver screws, you must use two white pigtails, one for each screw, and connect these to the other white wires.

Also you want to find out which wires go to the switch. Turn the power off, unplug everything and unscrew all light bulbs from that circuit, and use an ohmmeter (or ohms function of a multimeter) or a continuity meter. Find out which two wires have or don't have continuity between them depending on the switch position.

Still more useful information is finding out where wires come from and where wires go. (With the power off) find out which pair of colored wire and white wire gives continuity when you plug an incandescent lamp fixture into a (now dead) receptacle and switch it on, and continuity is lost when you unplug the fixture.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 11-05-2010 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:24 AM   #10
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Ok do me a favor first and this will tell us if the whole receptacle or just half of it was switched. Depending on the age of the recep there should be tabs connecting the 2 screws oin either side. I only want you to look at the brass side. is there a tiny copper bar connecting the two screwes? if you dont understand check out this site.http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...26tbs%3Disch:1


If the tab is still intact than yuou do not have a split tecep. So wirenut the two blacks together which will pass the power on to other devices. Wirenut the two whites together adding in a white pigtail to put on the recep. When doing a switched recep it is code to pigtail the neutral. Than put the red wire on on of the brass screws and the neutral on one of the silver screws.

If the tab is broken and it is half switched still pigtail the neutral and put the red wire on the bottom brass screw. Now you are going to have to pigtail the blacks just as you did with the whites. So now when you are done you have an always hot top recep and the bottom will be a switched recep. Hope this helps. Let me know how you made out.

It is somewhat tricky to understand and if you dont understand call an electrician. I have been doing electrical for 5 years so i tried to make it as clear as i could. Also make sure the power is off before you work on any circuit.

Last edited by Chevyman30571; 11-05-2010 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
You will want to find out which wire is the (hot) power feed. Use a voltmeter for this. Unfortunately to convey enough information to someone else over the internet to figure this out foolproof, you have to report back the voltage between every combination of two wires and between each wire and ground. An experienced electrician can make a few measurements and jump to conclusions as to which wire is the hot feed.

Most likely the two white wires are both neutral and should be connected together. But not if there are two hot wires regardless of switch position. The preferable method, space permitting, is to connect the two white wires and a short length (pigtail) of white wire together and connect the other end of the short piece to the side of the receptacle unit with silver screws and.or slightly larger prong holes. If the tab is broken off between the two silver screws, you must use two white pigtails, one for each screw, and connect these to the other white wires.

Also you want to find out which wires go to the switch. Turn the power off, unplug everything and unscrew all light bulbs from that circuit, and use an ohmmeter (or ohms function of a multimeter) or a continuity meter. Find out which two wires have or don't have continuity between them depending on the switch position.

Still more useful information is finding out where wires come from and where wires go. (With the power off) find out which pair of colored wire and white wire gives continuity when you plug an incandescent lamp fixture into a (now dead) receptacle and switch it on, and continuity is lost when you unplug the fixture.

Allan first off When you do a switched recp you never break off the tab for the neutral only for the hots. Just a heads up.
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Old 11-05-2010, 03:52 PM   #12
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Do you think this is what KATWALK was describing?
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Last edited by Lurlene; 11-05-2010 at 04:01 PM. Reason: corrected op's name
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