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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Edit: Solved below

Hi, I have an Eaton combo outlet switch receptacle as shown at https://www.lowes.com/pd/Eaton-Whit...-_-lia-_-205-_-wiringdevices-_-1001464110-_-0
(360 view is incorrect, photos are correct)

The switch works for the existing bathroom fan but the outlet only provides intermittent half second bursts of power every 5-10 seconds:

  • My phone charges for a second then stops for 10 seconds or so
  • A lamp connected to it flashes on and off for half a second every 10 seconds or so

Basically the live goes to the top right screw. That also patches down to the bottom left screw to supply live to the outlet. Then the return wire goes from the middle-upper black screw, to the ceiling fan. To me this means the live is powering the outlet constantly, and powering the fan when the switch is flicked. So why is the outlet intermittent?!

The wiring is 3 years young in a to-code garage conversion. Worked fine when it was just a switch without an outlet.

Could it be a wiring issue? Or a faulty unit. The light switch controls a bathroom dehumidifier fan. Could that be something to do with the issue?

Thanks!
 

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Remove the black jumper between the gold and silver screws and install a neutral on the silver screw. Install a bare ground wire on the green screw.
 

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There's no incorrect wiring configuration that would cause the symptom you describe. It's due to either a loose connection or a faulty device.

Sent from my BE2028 using Tapatalk
 

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The hot goes to one of the black screws. Switched hot to the the brass screw above the blacks. Neutral to the silver screw, green or bare to green.
 

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That's not how to wire those. Follow the instructions and labeling - it's mandatory, NEC 110.3(B).


Switches need always-hot and switched-hot.

The black screws are intended for always-hot (supply hot) and with the tab in place, will split it between the switch and the receptacle hot. Don't break off the tab (I don't think you have yet).

The gold screw (the other switch terminal) is for switched-hot to the lamp.



Receptacles need always-hot and Actual Neutral.

The silver screw on the neutral side of the recep is for Actual Neutral. You will need an additional neutral "pigtail" wire to the bundle of neutrals already together in the back of the box. The extra wire will be too much for the yellow wire nut; get a red or tan one. If this is too much for you, this is "electrically competent handyman-tier" work, an electrician is overkill. Most jurisdictions allow non-electricians to do "just receptacles".



You do not need to run a ground wire. There are 2 alternatives and you qualify for BOTH of them!

  • The METAL yoke will have hard, bottomed-out, clean metal flat contact with the METAL box. (NEC 250.146(A)).
  • A receptacle marked "Self-grounding", which yours is, will successfully ground via the mounting screws even if it was held proud of the metal box e.g. by drywall ears. (NEC 250.146(B)).

Your other switch also self-grounds 2 ways: #1 hard yoke contact as above. and #2 via the mounting screws, which is allowed for switches even without a "self-grounding" feature. NEC 404.9(B)(1).

Metal box grounding is particular (NEC 250.148), and it's better for a novice who doesn't understand about neutrals to leave the ground wires alone. Just stick to using the better $3 "spec-grade" receptacles, and they all will come with "Self-Grounding" done & dusted. Any switch also self-grounds.



Remember if this is in a bathroom, the receptacle needs GFCI protection. That can come from somewhere else. Once it is wired properly, stick a cheap 3-light tester and push the GFCI Test button. If it trips a GFCI somewhere, that's good enough. If not, they make GFCI versions of that switch/recep. Do not use the "Load" terminals if you want installation to be easy.



By the way, what happened is you wired the receptacle in series with the switch. So when the switch is off, 120V runs a) from hot, b) through the cell phone charger, c) through the lamp, and d) back to neutral. The lamp is supposed to get its own switched-hot and neutral. The receptacle is supposed to get its own always-hot and neutral. You don't do anything with neutral here, the lamp returns to neutral because it's already wired to neutral, as it should be.
 

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If you connect the circuit wires to the wrong terminals on an outlet, the outlet will still work but the polarity will be backward.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you everyone. To answer the question this is actually outside the bathroom. I followed the instructions above adding the pigtail neutral and everything is working perfectly now.
 

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I mean, did anyone pay a y attention to the OPs described symptoms? Intermittent on/off. I don't care which wired you put on which terminals. It wouldn't cause they symptom.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I mean, did anyone pay a y attention to the OPs described symptoms? Intermittent on/off. I don't care which wired you put on which terminals. It wouldn't cause they symptom.

Sent from my BE2028 using Tapatalk
It seems the lack of a dedicated pigtailed neutral wire to the outlet was causing it not to get the required power.
 

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You know, it took me a minute looking at the very good photos, but eventually I got it: the socket had been wired in parallel with the switch. The switch was correct-ish: in series with the load. When the switch was on, it shunted across the socket H-N, rendering the socket inoperative. When the switch was off. the socket was then in series with the light.

So I expected behaviors corresponding to "two 120V things wired in series and connected to 120V". If OP had plugged in a hair dryer, I would have expected the light to turn on and the hair dryer to be inop.
However, OP plugged in a switching power supply (the cell phone charger). The light surely also had a switching PS. Two of those in series, yeah, would do weird stuff like that. I'm satisfied that the symptoms correspond with the wiring.
 
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