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Discussion Starter #1
Hi.

When we first bought the house, there was a receptacle in the living room that was controllable from a lightswitch. I replaced all the receptacles in the room with newer looking flush style ones and now if I plug in a lamp in that receptacle for example it wont turn on via the switch.

The receptacle works fine if I plug in the same lamp and just use the lamp's switch for example.

Is this because I did not break that little brass connector in the receptacle like this?

99% sure this is what it is... but rather get confirmation from someone who knows this stuff more than me.. :laughing:

 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Yes, AND the hot connection from the switch goes to the side (top/bottom) that you wish to control
Thanks guys :thumbsup:

Dave... I'll have to check but I'm pretty sure there was a red and black wire in that box... which are both hot connections right?

Does that mean that, say the red wire, which is hot, is being controlled by the switch, so if I wanted the top plug to be controlled by the switch, I'd wire the red to the top brass connector?


This just made me think of another question: does that mean that when you open a receptacle and see a black AND a red wire connected to brass... do you always have to have that tab broken off ???
 

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Red wire would normally be from the switch - if I did it
BUT, different people wire differently
Only way to tell for sure is either try it
--and just move the lamp plug to the outlet switched
--or look at the switch 1st
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Red wire would normally be from the switch - if I did it
BUT, different people wire differently
Only way to tell for sure is either try it
--and just move the lamp plug to the outlet switched
--or look at the switch 1st

Cool...thanks.

Yea, when I rewired that receptacle, I kept the wiring order exactly how it was before I touched anything. The only thing I did differently was I flipped the receptacle so that ground was on top (keeping the wiring order the same, just upside down I guess), and I did not remove that tab.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So I got home after work.

Turned off the power to the receptacles

Broke the tab on the brass side.

Flipped the power back on.

Receptacle is working, but still not being powered by switch.

Do I need to break both tabs?
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Only the tab on the hot side should be broken
And 2 hot feeds then connected

Are both outlets working?
Yup, both outlets are working (I'm using a clock radio as a tester)

So the wife tells me its the receptacle on the right side of the wall.

There are 2 receptacle on the back wall.

Receptacle #1 (The one I broke the tab on) has 4 white wires + GND coming out of it... I can trace 1 white wire back to a red with a merret and another to a black... leaving the other 2 as neutral.

Receptacle #2 has 2 red and 2 white + GND...

So I switched the receptacles, using the one with the broken tab in the receptacle with the red wires....

Same thing... power comes on all 4 plugs (both receptacles) but not being powered by the switch... :huh:

also, I have 2 sets of 3 light switches.

Switch by the door:
1rst Switch: Powers Outside Light
2nd Switch: Power ceiling Light
3rd Switch: Unknown

Switch by the kitchen entrance:

1rst Switch: Powers Hallway Light
2nd Switch: Power same ceiling Light as above
3rd Switch: Unknown

My guess is both third switches power these 2 back receptacles...

Could it be all I have to 2 is flip the hot connections? If so, do I also have to flip the neutral wires?

K, so I took a look at the receptacle on the right hand side.


There are 2 cables feeding into this box

both cables have a red, a black, a white and a brass wire.

Both white wires are connected to the 2 silver screws on the receptacle.

Both red wires are connected together by a merret (wire nut) then to a brass screw on the recepatcle.

Both Black wires are connected together by a merret (wire nut) then, a red wire comes out of that connection and over to the other brass screw on the recepatcle.
 

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There are 2 cables feeding into this box

both cables have a red, a black, a white and a brass wire.
Sounds like the 3 wire goes out to another switched recep. If you don't break the tab on that one as well (or disconnect it) , the constant hot will back feed on the red.


3rd Switch: Unknown
Mystery switches are usually 1/2 switched receps. In newer construction, they may be an additional switch/wire going to a ceiling box for a fan/light function.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sounds like the 3 wire goes out to another switched recep. If you don't break the tab on that one as well (or disconnect it) , the constant hot will back feed on the red.

Yea, I think both receptacles on that back wall were switched receps. So you're thinking I should snap the tab on the second one as well?


Mystery switches are usually 1/2 switched receps. In newer construction, they may be an additional switch/wire going to a ceiling box for a fan/light function.
Could it be the 2 mystery switches power each a receptacle on that back wall?

If pics will help I could post some.

Thanks for the help.
 

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Yea, I think both receptacles on that back wall were switched receps. So you're thinking I should snap the tab on the second one as well?
Absolutely.......or disconnect the red.

Think about it. You break the tab to isolate the switched red wire from the hot black. At recep #2, if the red is not separated from the hot black, it becomes hot sending the power back to recep #1
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Absolutely.......or disconnect the red.

Think about it. You break the tab to isolate the switched red wire from the hot black. At recep #2, if the red is not separated from the hot black, it becomes hot sending the power back to recep #1
Snapped second tab...same problem... both plugs now have their tabs snapped and both receptacle work but are not powered by either switch...:mad:

What if I switched the hot wires from the bottom brass to the top? one receptacle first. then if that does not work, I'll switch the wiring on the second one also.
 

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Check all your outlets. IF you had more than two switched outlets, then the remaining one will be your culprit. Any outlet that has both black and red lines on it should have the tab broken to ensure wall switch control. I've seen instances where all the outlets were ½ switched.

LOOK at your pile of old devices: How many have the tabs broken off?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Check all your outlets. IF you had more than two switched outlets, then the remaining one will be your culprit. Any outlet that has both black and red lines on it should have the tab broken to ensure wall switch control. I've seen instances where all the outlets were ½ switched.

LOOK at your pile of old devices: How many have the tabs broken off?
Yea, that was pretty much my next step... there are 2 more outlets in that room + 1 in a closet (not sure if its on the same circuit, I'll have to check)

I rewired every outlet in the house in 2006...:laughing: so who knows. I'll try to find them. I know I did not throw them out...was just not aware of these damn tabs when I did it....but I do know this is the only room with switched receptacles (other than my 4th bedroom which is the only room I have not rewired and this one has a plug directly under the switch that is controlled by said switch. This switch also controls the light.) but as far as I know that's it....

Thanks everyone... I'll try again tommorow and let you know how I make out...

Is it ok to have the power going in this room with these tabs removed but the issue not resolved? or should I leave it off... nothing is plugged into these receptacles at the moment.


You guys rock... :thumbup:
 

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When we first bought the house, there was a receptacle in the living room that was controllable from a lightswitch. I replaced all the receptacles in the room with newer looking flush style ones and now if I plug in a lamp in that receptacle for example it wont turn on via the switch.
Receptacle #1 (The one I broke the tab on) has 4 white wires + GND coming out of it... I can trace 1 white wire back to a red with a merret and another to a black... leaving the other 2 as neutral.
I've tried to follow this but not to much success. You need to start over and get a few things resolved as we go.


First the receptacle in box #1 cannot be a 1/2 switched receptacle as it appears to be power in on a black and power onward on the red. Why they used white pigtails I have no idea. But the big clue here is there are two more white wires connected to the receptacles silver screws. The choice for that receptacle is the entire receptacle is switched and any connected to its load side are also switched. Or it is just unswitched and power onward. Also the description of the wiring suggests conduit not cable.

Pictures please!!... of all switch boxes and receptacle boxes you messed with and make them clear enough to see the wiring so we are able to see the connections of wirenuts and receptacles.
 

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What if I switched the hot wires from the bottom brass to the top?
What if you stopped guessing and gave us the whole story up front :laughing:

When you describe the wiring in the boxes, tell us how many cables and how many wires (2 or 3) in each cable (forget the bare grounds). Forget about any other pigtails etc. Just explain the stock wiring.

I shouldn't have to ask twenty questions but....does the 3 wire contine past the second recep?

All we can do is guess when we have limited info. I am still guessing that the 3 wire is getting backfed from another recep.

Think about the circuit as a path from point A to B to C........
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Fixed it... I decided **** it, I'll remove all the tabs on the brass side of all 4 receptacles... now both "Mystery Switches" control the bottom plugs of all 4 receptacles. Everything has power...

reason why I didn't bother to do this in the first place was

1- Only noticed 1 switched receptacle before changing them
2- thought that its kinda weird to have all 4 receptacles in a room setup as switched.

but anyways, all looks good. Thanks for the help... Between here and Google, I've learned alot. :thumbsup:
 

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Ahhhh so this was a three way switch set up.....:)
 
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