Want hot outlet off a 3way switch

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  #1  
Old 11-20-04, 07:59 AM
Coady
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Want hot outlet off a 3way switch

how would I change a hallway outlet to be hot all the time (want to put a CO detector in hallway outside of bedrooms) This outlet is only on when light is on.
I have three cables in the light switch, one I beleive is the power source, one to the outlet & one 3 wire to light.
What wiring changes can I make to make this outlet hot all the time.
At present the three nuetral wires are held together.
The red & black to the top of the switch.
Grounds are grounded to the box and then held together.
Then a black wires are held together then to top nut then another wire to the lower nut. Thanks for your response Coady
 
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  #2  
Old 11-20-04, 08:10 AM
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You may not be able to do this. If this is the second three way switch then you do not have constant power in the junction box.

However, if this is the first three way switch then you simply have the wrong black wires pigtailed. Try connecting your receptacle black wire to the other black wire in the box. It should be connected to the black wire that does not come from the same cable as the red wire.
 
  #3  
Old 11-20-04, 09:22 AM
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Unlike smoke detectors, the placement of CO detectors is not that critical because CO distributes itself fairly evenly. So I would suggest you consider simply putting the detector on a receptacle in your bedroom.
 
  #4  
Old 11-20-04, 11:50 AM
Coady
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How can I tell if it is the first or second 3 way?

How can I tell if this is the first or second 3 way, it is on an upper floor and there is a switch at the bottom of the stairs.

I would realy like to get this working in the hall, as I have boarders in these upstairs rooms and would like by my own assurance to know that they are all safe.
The only other place I could put an outlet would be off the bathroom outlets, but I believe that is not allowed... there is a light swith a fan switch and an outlet backing on to this hallway.
thanks again for your responses
 
  #5  
Old 11-20-04, 12:24 PM
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If you connect the black wire for the receptacle to the black wire from the cable that contains only a black and white wire, and it only works with the switch on then you are out of luck.

If you want a receptacle in the hall then you will have to find another source for the power.
 
  #6  
Old 11-20-04, 02:00 PM
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One normally easy way to put a new receptacle in a hallway is to find an unswitched receptacle on the other side of the wall in one of the bedrooms. Then you can just install a new receptacle in an old-work box within the same stud cavity on the other side of the wall.
 
  #7  
Old 11-20-04, 04:11 PM
Coady
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The only other outlet let not switched outlet is the bathroom outlets... would this work?
thanks again for your replies
 
  #8  
Old 11-20-04, 04:29 PM
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Coady,

The bathroom circuit can only be used for outlets in the bathroom; you are not permitted to extend this circuit out of the bathroom.

I am still not clear on what sort of setup you currently have.

With the power off, could you check and write out in detail how the wires are connected in each of the relevant junction boxes (the light, the receptacle, and both of the three way switches)?

Saying 'the black' or 'the red' is not enough, with 3 cables you have at least 6 wires, and possibly as many as 12 wires, entering the box. From your description I am guessing 10.

Give each box a name, eg S1 for the first switch.
In each box, give each cable a name, eg A, B, C.
Then in each cable, each wire has a color.
Then you just list out all of the pieces and then list out how they are connected.

For example:
S1 junction box with 3 way switch has 3 cables
A 14/2 with ground
B 14/2 with ground
C 14/3 with ground
All grounds are connected together and to the box
A-white, B-white, C-white connected
A-black, B-black, pigtail to switch common connected
C-black to switch traveller terminal connected
C-red to switch traveller terminal connected.

IMHO you first need a better 'map' of what you do have before you can change things.

-Jon
 
  #9  
Old 11-20-04, 04:56 PM
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Jon,

He already changed things. He added the receptacle. The only question is, did he add the receptacle to the three conductor cable, or to the two conductor cable. If his statement, that the receptacle only works with the light on, is accurate, then he does not have constant power in the box, and his desire to use the light circuit is fruitless (unless he runs a wire from the first switch).
 
  #10  
Old 11-20-04, 06:39 PM
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racraft,

Gotit. I don't see anything in _this_ thread that says that Coady added a receptacle; I simply assumed that this was already installed and that he wanted to fix it; perhaps this bit of information was in another thread.

But thinking about it I am pretty certain that the _downstairs_ three way switch is probably fed from the the supply. In the _upstairs_ three way we have a X/2 to the receptacle, an X/3 between the switches, and another X/2 which is either a feed or the light. Since the upstairs three way is nearer to the driven light, my guess is that the third X/2 goes to the light.

Given this, then there is no legal way to make this work correctly using ordinary switches.

If the goal is to make this circuit work using the wires currently in place, then one choice is to make the black traveller an unswitched hot, and use single pole switches to connect to the red traveller. Then either switch could turn the light on, but both switches would need to be off for the light to be off.

IMHO the easy way out at this point is to convert one of the traveller wires into an _unswitched_ hot, and to replace the switches with X-10 devices. This would provide unswitched power to the second floor junction box, but leave the functionality of switches in both locations.

-Jon
 
  #11  
Old 11-20-04, 07:21 PM
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Jon,

Perhaps he didn't add the receptacle, but rather the receptacle was installed by a previous owner. It's possible that someone added a receptacle for say a vacuum cleaner, and wasn't bothered by the light needing to be turned on to use it (it's easier to vacuum in the light).

Or maybe I'm off the mark, but I gather that the receptacle is now wired and that Coady wants to make it always on, if at all possible.

Either way, I agree with your assessment, for the same reasons. I'm just trying to verify that in fact there is no unswitched hot before suggesting that he find some other alternative. Perhaps I'm an optimist.
 
  #12  
Old 11-24-04, 07:12 PM
Coady
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not hot at this 3way

Well I have tried all the sugestions and the out come is; it is an outlet at the non hot side of the 3 way switch.
So I have ruled out taking off a lead from the bathroom outlets.
Now I have found a wire, inside the wall between two doorways, a fairly good location for a CO detector.
At this point I have not opened the wall cavity, but thought I would get your feed back first. I have no idea what this line is feeding. It is on the top floor between the Master bedroom and the smallest bedroom.
What do you think?
thanks in advance for your input .. coady
 
  #13  
Old 11-24-04, 07:35 PM
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First off you need at least 12 inches of slack or you can't use the wire. The reason for the slack is you must have 6 inches of wire in side the box. So you need 6 inches to come in and 6 inches to go out.
 
  #14  
Old 11-24-04, 07:52 PM
Coady
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New line from basement to landing area?

Okay I will have to send a new cable in the ductwork area, (not in the ductwork) just in the cavity that holds the duct.
Now this outlet will be at the mid way landing area, will this satisfy CO detector regulations? I am more interested in effectiveness. I just want a safe enviroment.
Thanks in advance one more time for your input.
coady
 
  #15  
Old 11-25-04, 05:46 AM
Coady
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X-10 Device

WHat is a x 10 device, I would prefer to use the outlet already there.
Thanks again
Coady
 
  #16  
Old 11-25-04, 06:49 AM
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X-10 is a remote control system for electrical stuff. Rather than using different arrangements of wires to get '3-way' switching, you would use remote control signals

For example you could install an X-10 switch on your second floor in the switch box, and a remote control X-10 transmitter in place of the switch on the first floor. This would give you the utility of having switches for the hall light on the top and bottom of the staircase.

But now the 'traveller' wires from the first floor to the second floor would not be needed for the switching circuit. So you could use one of them as an ordinary unswitched hot, providing unswitched power to both the second floor X-10 switch and to the receptacle.

I'm pretty certain that doityourself.com sells X-10 stuff, so you are already looking in the right place.

http://doityourself.com/wired/x10.htm


-Jon
 
  #17  
Old 11-25-04, 06:04 PM
Coady
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X10 Device

Tomorrow I will look into the cost of doing it this way, thanks,,, I may need some support wiring these things..
Thanks again for being so helpful
Coady
 
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