Switch trick

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Old 09-25-03, 05:05 AM
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Switch trick

Hello Folks, I'm removing old wire and I killed a needed outlet. I tried to wire the outlet to a light switch. I pigtailed the switch and ran a wire to the outlet. THe outlet only works when the light is off. What did I do wrong???? Thanks in advance for your Help. Eric
 
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Old 09-25-03, 06:31 AM
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We need more detail. There are lots of things you could have done wrong.

Is the switch at the "end of the line". I.e., do you have exactly one black wire and one white wire in the switch box, and no more? Have you ever seen a "switch loop" wired? Does the breaker trip when you turn on the switch?

Here's another thought entirely. Does the switch control something else too? Is there a white wire attached to the switch? I think maybe you wired the receptacle in series with the "something else". When the switch is off, the "something else" is in series with the receptacle. When the switch is on, you short across the receptacle and power only the "something else". If the something else is a light, is it on dimly when the switch is off and you plug something into the receptacle? And then does it go out completely when you unplug what you plugged in (with the switch off)?
 
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Old 09-25-03, 06:37 AM
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Hey John, It's at the end of the line. 14/2 wire. Controls overhead/ceiling fixture. Not sure about switch loop. Will look in my book. No breaker problem when switch is on or off. Or if recep is being used. Only problem is recep only works with light in off position. Thanks Eric
 
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Old 09-25-03, 06:44 AM
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So was there just one black/white pair there before, and you added a second black/white pair that goes to the receptacle?
 
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Old 09-25-03, 06:49 AM
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John, Yes, there was one pair/14/2 cable coming into the box. I added a 14/2 cable to the outlet and pigtailed the light switch. Sorry if I'm not explaining right. My book doesn't show a switch loop. Thanks Eric
 
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Old 09-25-03, 06:55 AM
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Can't be done. You have no neutral in the switch box, and you cannot power a receptacle without one. Here's an interesting experiment for you: Remove all the light bulbs from the light fixture. You'll notice that the receptacle doesn't work no matter what the position of the switch is.

Here are some options. Pick one and we can go from there:[list=1][*]Replace the cable between the light and the switch from a 14/2 to a 14/3.[*]Find another source of power (an unswitched receptacle is good) and run it to the switch box.[*]Find another source of power and run it to the receptacle box.[/list=1]In either of the last two options, you'll need to replace the simplex switch with a duplex switch if you want to be able to switch the receptacle.
 
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Old 09-25-03, 06:59 AM
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John, Thanks for the schooling and the quick replies. I just wire off another line I'm running. I was looking for a closer, easier solution when I wired the switch. Thanks for taking the time to help me. Eric
 
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