Wiring unswitched outlet from light

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  #1  
Old 03-10-04, 03:40 PM
chjohnson
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Wiring unswitched outlet from light

I am trying to add a new outlet from wiring that is currently going from a light to a switch. I have tried a number of configurations, but to no use. Here is what I have: Red (hot), black (neutral) and white (unknown) going to switch box from light. The light, however, only has a black and a white with the white being hot and the black being neutral at the light. I have my outlet in place, but I can't wire it without making the outlet be controlled by the switch. Can this be done without running new wires? Do I need to hire an electrician? I also have another switch there that controls an outdoor light and has separate wiring, but they are all on the same circuit breaker. Thanks for your help.
 
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  #2  
Old 03-10-04, 04:10 PM
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If you are in North America, black is never neutral (you work on cars?). If the black and white are connected to the light at the light box, then it sounds like the black is probably the switched hot, the red is the unswitched hot, and the white neutral. Connect the red to the brass screws on the receptacle, and white to the silver screws on the receptacle. Make sure you don't disrupt the current through the receptacle box in the process (i.e., make sure black in is still connected to black out and red in is still connected to red out and white in is still connected to white out).

To be sure, tell us all the wires and connections in the switch box.

Please don't guess. It's dangerous.
 
  #3  
Old 03-16-04, 03:27 PM
chjohnson
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I am not sure how that is possible. I currently have the red and black wires connected to the switch - they are the only combination that appear to complete the circuit when I use a voltage tester. If I connect the red and black to the electrical outlet, it works (with red to the silver screws and black to the brass screws), but as soon as I try to wire back to the switch, the electrical outlet becomes switched. If I check the voltage using the red and white or black and white, nothing happens. Could the wires have gotten crossed somewhere in the walls or ceiling during previous electrical projects by previous owners?
 
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Old 03-16-04, 03:44 PM
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neutral wire is always white. The red and black are hot wire and the switched hot wire. Tell us all the wires in the new recptacle, the light and the switch and what they are connected to.
 

Last edited by joed; 03-17-04 at 03:15 PM.
  #5  
Old 03-16-04, 04:06 PM
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It is possible that the white wire is not hooked up at the other end.

Since you have a red wire at the switch (along with black and white, which means 14-3 or 12-3), you must find the iother end of this circuit.

Tell us exactly how all the wires are connected in the box, including the oines that go elsewhere or are on the other switch.
 
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Old 03-18-04, 08:14 AM
chjohnson
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OK. Here is the wiring in the box. I have two sets of wires, each comprised of a red, white and black. Each set is wired to a separate switch and control separate lights. One switch goes to an outdoor light and the other to an overhead kitchen light. Each switch has the same setup - the red and black wire from one set is connected to the switch to complete the circuit. The white wires from each set are capped.

At the kitchen light fixture, there is a white and black wire that are connected to the fixture. There is also a red and blue wire pair that do not appear to be connected to anything. I did connect the red and blue into the white and black wires at the fixture to see if any combination might activate the white wire, but nothing happened.

The only pair that appear to work are the red and black pair. I have been using a voltage meter and when I connect the red from the voltage meter to the red wire and the black from the voltage meter to the black wire, I get a completed ciruit. All other combinations do not complete a circuit.
 
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Old 03-18-04, 09:32 AM
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You still are not giving us the entire picture. If the switch has a red and black wire connected to it, and the white wire from the same cable is not connected, then you need to find where this wire goes to/comes from. it does not come from the light directly.

Tell us all the cables and individual wires in thoise cables at the switch, at each light and at other nearby outlets (receptacles, lights or switches) that are on the same circuit.

Be specific. We need to know exactly which wires com from each cable and how they are connected to anything (another wire, a switch, whatever).

Also tell us where you want to put this outlet.
 
  #8  
Old 03-18-04, 12:31 PM
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YES We need more info. Tell us the wiring at the light fixtures. Also when you say the white wires are capped off, do you mean they are tied together or they are each just capped as single wires? Also are these 2 switches in the same box?
 
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Old 03-18-04, 12:40 PM
chjohnson
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Okay. The white wires are capped separately. Both switches are in the same box, but the two wire sets come into the box through separate holes in the box. Both sets of wires are connected to the same fuse at the fuxe box because I can turn off the fuse at the fuse box and it turns off both lights.

I checked the kitchen lighting fixture and there are two pairs of wires - a white/black pair and a red/blue pair. The white/black pair are connected to the fixture - white to white and black to black, and the red/blue pair are both capped separately. There are no other wires in the fixture that I can see.

I have not checked the outdoor fixture because it is securely attached with a silicone seal to the house.

I cut a hole next to the box with the switches and placed a new single recepticle box in the hole. I can run wires between the box for the switches and the box for the recepticle.

I hope this clarifies everything.
 
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Old 03-18-04, 01:05 PM
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You still are not telling us EVERYTHING. We need to know where the red/black/white cables in the switch box go to or come from. You must open every junction box, switch, light fixture, etc. on this same circuit until you locate where these wires come from. Somewhere you will find the other end of the red/black/white cables.
 
  #11  
Old 04-29-04, 03:01 PM
chjohnson
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Hired an Electrician

Thank you for everyone's help. After hearing that I was not providing enough detail, I decided to hire an electrician to look at it as it was getting beyond my ability level. Having examined the wiring, the electrician concluded that it could not be done with the current wiring. At some point, somone who lived in our house did some unique wiring, apparently, and disconnected some wires to make other things work. Very frustrating from a homeowner's perspective, as I have either hired electricians to do the heavy work like rewiring our circuit box, or wired things myself using recognized standards of wiring. Anyway, thanks for your assistance, even though I was unable to solve the problem.
 
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