Outlet controlled by 3 way switches


Old 07-28-05, 02:41 PM
Curtis Philip
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Outlet controlled by 3 way switches

I'm troubleshooting a circuit that has 3 way switches. I removed the outlet to see what was in there. I have on one side a black and red wire connected. On the other side I have two white wires. I disconnected the wires from the oulet and tested for voltage. Both white wires are dead, that's good. But on the hot side both the red and black wires have 120 volts. So I then removed both 3 way switches from the box and disconnected the wires to see if that would change anything. It didn't do anything, I still have two hot wires coming to an outlet. This doesn't make any sense to me, does anyone else have any ideas?
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Old 07-28-05, 03:09 PM
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What you likely have is one half (top or bottom) of the receptacle always-on and the other half controlled by the switch. If you closely examine the sides of the receptacle you'll notice that the small metal tab between the screws on the hot side is broken off. This effectively produces two seperate receptacles from one duplex receptacle. Perhaps the problem is that you or a previous homeowner replaced that receptacle without breaking off the hot side tab.

The black wire is probably always hot, and the red wire is probably hot when the switch is on.

The big questions are: 1) Did it work at some point in the past? 2) Did you do something and now it doesn't work? 3) The procedure is important; how are you testing for voltage and what type of tester are you using?

For any more suggestions, you'll need to post back with a lot of details: list the cables in each switch and receptacle box, the colors of each of the wires, and to what they connect.

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