Switched half-outlet to 3-way?


Old 05-09-05, 04:20 PM
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Question Switched half-outlet to 3-way?

First off, let me say that these forums and the moderators and top notch and greatly appreciated. I've learned so much in the past few day browsing, it's great!

OK, so here's my dilemma. We had an outlet in the living room of which the top receptacle was being controlled by a switch in the hallway. We just installed recessed lighting in the living room and wanted to control them via two 3-way dimmers in the hallway and living room. Is there any way to keep the outlet? The power comes from the switch in the hallway, through the new outlet (wanted it to be unswitched), into the new switch housing, and on to the lights. I get power to the new outlet, but for the life of me, I can't seem to get the lighting circut completed! Is this even possible? The only thing I can think of would be to run an additional line of romex from the lights back down to the outlet, which would be a monumental pain in the butt since the holes I've already drilled in the studs are barely large enough to run the 1st wiring. Another potential solution I've found was a combo receptical/switch, but that wouldn't be very practial.

Anyhow, thanks in advace to anyone who can offer any insight .... it is much appreciated!

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Old 05-09-05, 05:16 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 5,677
You need to describe the wiring in the receptacle and the switch. This will determine where the new cable for the lights needs to be run.
Please clarify if you mean by keeping the receptacle, you mean keeping it switched or just making it completly unswitched.
Part of your problem might be that you are trying to use the old receptacle which will have the tab between the gold screws broken off.
Old 05-09-05, 05:47 PM
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Thanks for the reply, joed.

I put a completely new outlet because the tab was broken off and I wanted to have it completely unswitched. There's a 14-3 (Black, White, Red, Green) going from the original switch (now a 3-way dimmer) to the receptacle/outlet, which I just extended to the new 3-way dimmer in the living room and up to the lights, minus the red wire which is connected to the new dimmer and does not come into contact with the outlet. The dimmer and wiring diagram that I was using can be found here ( http://lutron.com/instructions/030531.pdf ) .... the only difference being the positions of the dimmer and smart remote are switched, and the placement of the outlet between them.

oops .... forgot to add that since the diagram for the two-location control is kinda reversed with regards to my configuration, the wires are switched as well .... from the 120V Hot to the Red Smart remote and then from the black smart remote to the Red Dimmer wire (via the Black wire on the original 14-3 which also connects to the outlet) and finally from the black dimmer wire to the Black wire connected to the lights. Hope this makes sense!

Last edited by DIYBigEd; 05-09-05 at 06:16 PM.
Old 05-09-05, 07:33 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 5,677
I'm still confused.
Where does the power wire come in? receptacle or switch?
You extended the 14/3 wire from the switch or the receptacle? to another switch? and then to the light with a 14/2?
Old 05-09-05, 08:00 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
If I read your post correctly, I think you are trying to say that you 14-3 from the switch to the receptacle, and then on to the second switch and then something to the light.

If this is correct, then you no longer have unswitched power for the receptacle. You can't have a receptacle in the middle of a three way switch run without more wires and expect it to work.

Worse yet, you have a three way dimmer as the first switch. This means that when the receptacle gets power (when the three way dimmer is in one position only), it will get variable voltage. This is a big no-no. You should not dim receptacles.

You either need to eliminate the three way setup and use a single switch for the lights, or install and use wireless three way switches, or run another wire from the first switch to the receptacle.

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