outlet with light switch control

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  #1  
Old 05-31-04, 11:08 AM
kyle422
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outlet with light switch control

I am trying to replace an outlet that has one plug that is always active and one that is controlled by a wall switch. The wall switch also turns on a fan that does not have a light. The previous outlet had some weird set up that I wasn't familar with and I can't remember how it was set up.
There are 2 white wires, 2 black, and 2 ground (bare) wires (these are connected to eachother, twisted). I know I am meant to connect some wires together with a pigtale but don't know which ones. PLEASE HELP. Thank you in advance.
Kyle
 

Last edited by kyle422; 05-31-04 at 11:33 AM.
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  #2  
Old 05-31-04, 04:25 PM
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There are many different ways that such a circuit could be wired. You now realize why it is important to write down exactly how something is wired before you take it apart, including labelling the wires.

Start by detailing a complete inventory of the wires at the this outlet and at the switch. The wires at the ceiling fan may also be necessary, but leave that alone for now.

Describe in detail ALL the wires at the outlet and at the switch. Describe which cable they come from, what color they are and how they are connected. Describe all wires, incusing any that are in the boxes but don;t connect to the receptacle or switch.

Also, descibe the old recetacle outlet. Are the tabs broken on both sides of the outlet, or only on the hot side of the outlet?
 
  #3  
Old 05-31-04, 04:27 PM
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There are 2 white wires, 2 black, and 2 ground (bare) wires (these are connected to eachother, twisted).
Are you describing the wires at the receptacle? If so, this doesn't seem to fit with the situation you describe. Also, please tell us why you are replacing this receptacle.

Did everything work perfectly before you decided to replace this receptacle?
 
  #4  
Old 05-31-04, 04:53 PM
kyle422
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Originally Posted by John Nelson
Are you describing the wires at the receptacle? If so, this doesn't seem to fit with the situation you describe. Also, please tell us why you are replacing this receptacle.

Did everything work perfectly before you decided to replace this receptacle?
sorry, this was my first post.
there are two cables coming into the receptacle (outlet box). 1 cable has a white wire, a black wire, and a bare wire. 2 cable has the same wires as well. the bare (ground) wires were wrapped around each other (that is how it was set up before).
i am replacing the receptacle (outlet) because the plug parts recently stopped working but the switch still operated the fan. never had any problems before.
 
  #5  
Old 05-31-04, 05:01 PM
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Your wiring is consistent with a receptacle with both halves continuously hot, or both halves switched. It is also consistent with a receptacle with one half switched, but not if that same switch also controls something else.

However, it is not consistent with a receptacle which is half hot, half switched, and controlled by a switch that also controls a fan. This just isn't (safely) possible with the number of wires you have.

To help resolve this conundrum, please describe all the wiring in the switch box.
 
  #6  
Old 05-31-04, 05:19 PM
kyle422
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Originally Posted by racraft
There are many different ways that such a circuit could be wired. You now realize why it is important to write down exactly how something is wired before you take it apart, including labelling the wires.

Start by detailing a complete inventory of the wires at the this outlet and at the switch. The wires at the ceiling fan may also be necessary, but leave that alone for now.

Describe in detail ALL the wires at the outlet and at the switch. Describe which cable they come from, what color they are and how they are connected. Describe all wires, incusing any that are in the boxes but don;t connect to the receptacle or switch.

Also, descibe the old recetacle outlet. Are the tabs broken on both sides of the outlet, or only on the hot side of the outlet?
there are two cables coming into the receptacle (outlet box). 1 cable has a white wire, a black wire, and a bare wire. 2 cable has the same wires as well. the bare (ground) wires were wrapped around each other (that is how it was set up before).

at the switch there is a blue coated cable coming from the top containing a black, a white, and a bare wire. there is a white coated cable (looks like it is going in the direction outlet) with a black, a white, and a bare wire. the blue coat cable's wires: the white wire is connected to it's ground/bare wire and the ground/bare wire from the white coated cable and it is capped. both the black wires are connected to the screw at the switch. the white wire from the white coated cable is connected to the other screw on the switch.

hopefully this will help. i am a noobie when it comes to electrical stuff, so sorry if my termology is inaccurate.
 
  #7  
Old 05-31-04, 05:20 PM
kyle422
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Originally Posted by John Nelson
Your wiring is consistent with a receptacle with both halves continuously hot, or both halves switched. It is also consistent with a receptacle with one half switched, but not if that same switch also controls something else.

However, it is not consistent with a receptacle which is half hot, half switched, and controlled by a switch that also controls a fan. This just isn't (safely) possible with the number of wires you have.

To help resolve this conundrum, please describe all the wiring in the switch box.
John, please read post number six. I hope that explains it better. Thank you for trying to help me out.
Kyle
 
  #8  
Old 05-31-04, 05:25 PM
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the white wire is connected to it's ground/bare wire and the ground/bare wire from the white coated cable
I thought you might find that. That's why I used the word "safely" in my prior post. This is not safe. The person who wired this was either ignorant of safe wiring, or disregarded it. He used a grounding wire as a neutral, a stupid but unfortunately not entirely rare thing to do.

What to do now? If you don't really need the receptacle to be switched, you can probably fix this. However, code requires a switched light or receptacle in each room. But I'd rather see you violate that code than keep an unsafe condition.
 
  #9  
Old 05-31-04, 06:22 PM
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I, too, thought that we might find this.

As John said, the situation is unsafe. My suggestion is to either run the appropriate type of wire to make this situation safe (replace the wire between the receptacle outlet and the switch), or to not have the outlet switched. Both of these options are safer than the unsafe situation you have.

Under no circumstances should you leave the fan wired in the manner that it is wired.
 
  #10  
Old 05-31-04, 06:34 PM
kyle422
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Thanks for your help guys. I have an electrician coming here next week to hook up my kitchen appliances (just got new cabinets installed). I'll have him do the wiring in the problem room/outlet. Again, you guys are very nice. Thank you.
Kyle
 
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