Switch & Receptacle Question

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  #1  
Old 10-10-04, 07:33 AM
northrop3
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Switch & Receptacle Question

I have a room with 3 wall switches that apparently do nothing. I have tested all of the receptacles, and they are all "always on", regardless of the switch positions. There is no overhead, so they have to be meant to control at least one of the outlets.

Can this be caused by a faulty switch? Could someone have bypassed the switches? In either case, how would I recognize it? What diagnostic steps can I take?

Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 10-10-04, 07:39 AM
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Most likely someone replaced the receptacles at some time and did not remove the tab on the hot side.
Remove the switch and look at the wire coolrs attached. If there is a red then go back to the receptacles and look for red and black on the gold screws..
 
  #3  
Old 10-10-04, 10:41 AM
northrop3
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Wink research..

Ok, I found one of the outlets that matches the description. Here are the connections:

TOP: Two wires in.

Top Left: Two white wires
Top right: One Red wire

Bottom Left: one white wire
Bottom right: One black wire.


Bottom, One wire in.

The tab hasn't been removed. Question though - it would appear that somebody has extended the circuit from this box. If I remove the tab with the outlet wired as such, will I lose that extension? Should any of the wires be adjusted?

Thanks!
 
  #4  
Old 10-10-04, 12:11 PM
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This does in fact sound like someone replaced the receptacle and did not break off the tab.

You can verify this by removing the wires and checking for power on the red and black wires when the switch is open and when the switch is closed.

Something sounds fushy. You have described three white wires along with a black and a red wire. Are there other wires, and if so how are they connected.
 
  #5  
Old 10-10-04, 12:21 PM
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You need to provide us with details of the "extension". There should be a right and wrong way to do this. I'm betting that their is at least one wire nut in the box other than the one for grounding. Tell us about it.
 
  #6  
Old 10-10-04, 08:08 PM
northrop3
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I hope this works; below is a diagram of the wires in the box along with their connections. As suspected, there is a nut other than the one for the ground wires.

           W1       W2
        -------------
       |                 |
       |                 |
       |                 |
       |                 |
   A|-|                 |-|C
       |                 |
       |                 |
       |                 |
       |                 |
       |                 |
       |                 |
       |                 |
       |                 |
   B|-|                 |-|D
       |                 |
       |                 |
       |                 |
        -------------
                   W3


W1, W2, and W3 are the incoming Wires.
Terminal A - white wires from W1 and W2
Terminal B - white wire from W3
Terminal C - Red wire from W1
Terminal D - Black wires from W1, W2, and W3, via nut & pigtail.
W1, W2, and W3 are all grounded via nut & pigtail.
 
  #7  
Old 10-11-04, 04:46 AM
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Where the wires are connected sounds correct, assuming that the white wires go to the silver screws and the black and red wires go to the brass screws.

However, for this receptacle to be switched the small tab between the screw where the red wire connects and where the black wire connects needs to be broken off. With the power off, use a pair of pliers and bend the tab repeatedly until it breaks off.

One other comment. You mention that the two white wires from W1 and W2 go to the same screw terminal. It violates code to have two wires under one screw. This should be corrected with a pigtail, similar to how the black wires are connected. If you don't have the two white wires under one screw, but instead one goes to a back stab connection, this also should be corrected. Backstabs have a tendency to fail.
 
  #8  
Old 10-11-04, 06:36 AM
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If I remove the tab with the outlet wired as such, will I lose that extension? Should any of the wires be adjusted?
Removing the tab on the brass-screw side of the receptacle will not affect the extension.
 
  #9  
Old 10-11-04, 08:15 AM
northrop3
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Ok, I went back in to remove the tab from the side where the red and black wires are located, and found that the tab is not there - it must have been properly removed.

The other side, where the white wires are connected, has silver screws and it's tab is still in place.

Any suggestions?

In reference to the multiple white wire connections to the same connector, one is connected to the screw and another bayonetted from the back. The red and black wires are also bayonet-connected.

Thanks.
 
  #10  
Old 10-11-04, 08:25 AM
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There could be another receptacle on the circuit that has has the same wiring but the tab is not removed.
Check the switch and see if the there is more than one cable. There should be a black and red connected to the switch.

Check other recptacles. This may not be the first one the switch controls and if ANY of them have the tab ALL of them become unswitched.
 

Last edited by joed; 10-11-04 at 01:36 PM.
  #11  
Old 10-11-04, 09:47 AM
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Somewhere in the circuit the red and black are both getting energized.

Let's go back to your original post. You talk about three switches. Are these switches all in differnet places in the room? have yopu looked at the switches to see how they are wired? Is it possible that the switches are for something else?

What type of room is this, and where are the switches located?

As for the backstabbed connections, I would rewire these, since you have the receptacle exposed. Backstabs have a tendency to fail over time...
 
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