middle of the run switched outlet

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  #1  
Old 12-14-04, 06:36 PM
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middle of the run switched outlet

I have a circuit which is all outlets. I want to have one of those outlets (in the middle of the circuit) controlled by a switch while leaving all the other outlets hot. Can that be done?
 
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  #2  
Old 12-14-04, 06:41 PM
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Yes, it can be done. You need to add a cable from the receptacle you want switched to the location you want the switch.
 
  #3  
Old 12-15-04, 09:04 AM
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Great! So power is coming from an unswitched outlet to the outlet I want switched, then to the switch, then back to the switched outlet, and then on to the next unswitched outlet, right? Would it be too much to ask for a description of the wiring? Or could you refer me to a diagram? Thanks.
 
  #4  
Old 12-15-04, 09:10 AM
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I'm confused. Do you want one of the existing receptacles to be switched, or do you want a new receptacle to be switched? In your original post, it seemed to be the former, but in your second post, you mentioned two different receptacles (one switched and one unswitched), so that left me wondering.

Clear this up and I can give you the very simple wiring instructions. Also tell me whether you want both halves of the duplex receptacle to be switched or only one half. You can have it either way.
 
  #5  
Old 12-15-04, 10:46 AM
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middle of the run switched outlet

You're right, I wasn't very clear. I want an existing outlet in the middle of a line of outlets to be switched, while leaving all of the other outlets (before and after) in the line hot.

It would be an added bonus if only one of the receptacles in the duplicate outlet were switched. Thanks for whatever assistance you can give me.
 
  #6  
Old 12-15-04, 11:06 AM
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Okay, here goes:
  1. Shut off the breaker. Make note of whether it is a 15-amp breaker or a 20-amp breaker that you shut off to kill this receptacle.
  2. As Bob said, run a new cable from where you want the switch to the receptacle you want switched. If the breaker was 15-amp, this should be a 14/2 NM-B cable. If the breaker was 20-amp, this should be a 12/2 NM-B cable.
  3. At the switch location, cut a box-size hole in the wallboard and install an "old-work" box.
  4. Put a regular single-pole switch in the switch box. Connect the bare wire to the green screw, and the black and white wires to the other two screws. Take a black magic marker and color the end of the white insulation black to indicate that it is a hot wire. This is called a "switch loop". The white wire here is not a neutral.
  5. Feed the new cable into the receptacle box through one of the unused knockouts. There are lots of tricks you can use to do this involving chains and coathangers, or whatever else your imagination can come up with.
  6. You will probably see old preexisting two black wires and two white wires connected to the receptacle (plus the grounding wires). If you see anything different, stop here and post back with what you do see.
  7. The wires are probably stuck into little holes in the back of the receptacle (bad way to do it). If so, use a very small screwdriver to release the wires. Otherwise, take the wires off the screws.
  8. Use a wire nut to connect the two old preexisting black wires to the white wire of your new cable (marked with that same black magic marker). Also in this wire nut, connect a 3" piece of extra black wire that you stole from a leftover piece of the cable you bought (a "pigtail").
  9. Now look closely at the receptacle you removed. On the brass screw side, you will see a small brass tab between the two brass screws. Use a pair of pliers to bend that tab back and forth a few times until it breaks off. This is how we are going to make only half of the receptacle switched. Do this only on the brass screw side, not on the silver screw side.
  10. Connect the other end of the black pigtail wire to the bottom brass screw. This will make the bottom half unswitched.
  11. Connect the black wire from your new cable to the top brass screw. This makes the top half switched.
  12. Connect the remaining two white wires (the old ones) to the two silver screws. (Well, if they were already connected to the screws rather than the backstabs, you could have just left the wires on in the first place.)
  13. Connect all three bare wires to each other with a wire nut, and run a bare pigtail to the green screw. You could also use one of those cool green wire nuts with the hole in the end. If the preexisting bare wires were crimped (unlikely), you will need to cut off the crimp and use a wire nut instead. Otherwise, if they already had a wire nut, you can probably just use it to add in your third bare wire.
  14. Turn the power back on and test.
  15. Shut off the breaker again and carefully repack both boxes.
 
  #7  
Old 12-30-04, 12:28 PM
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John,

Well the holidays interrupted my circuit project. I got back to it today, following all of your guidelines. Everything works great now. Your instructions were so clear even am amateur like myslef can avoid electrocution or house fire. Thanks for everything, and I hope you have a Happy New Year.

Joe (pastmaster)
 
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