Splitting an outlet


Old 02-10-06, 11:56 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Goodwood, Ontario
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Splitting an outlet

I have an outlet with both receptacles controlled by a switch. I want to split the receptacles so that one is switch-controlled and the other is always hot. I've followed the wiring diagram in the Time-Life Basic Wiring book but can't get it to function right.

There are 2 cables in the box, one for the incoming power and the other running to the end-of-line switch. Each cable has 1 black, 1 white and a ground wire

Here's what I did:

1. Snapped off the tab on the outlet between the two brass screws

2. Joined the 2 black wires together and added a third that runs to the brass screw of the always-hot outlet. Fastened the 3-wire joint with a wire nut

3. Attached the incoming white to one of the outlet's silver screws

4. Marked the other white (running to switch) with black tape and attached it to the 2nd brass screw on the outlet.

5. Screwed ground wires from the outlet and the two cables to the box.

The switch-controlled outlet works fine. The other does not. My tester lights if I touch its black lead to the always-hot outlet's brass screw and put the red into the outlet hole or touch it to a metal part of the outlet. But there's no power from that outlet if I plug in a radio or light.

Wondering if the outlet was faulty, I tried 2 others. Same result.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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Old 02-10-06, 12:44 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
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One mistake you definitely made. In a switch loop with a cable containing a white wire, the white wire must be the always hot wire, and the black wire must be the switched wire. This won't fix your problem, but you should make the change.

I think you mixed up which cable is the power cable and which is the switch cable.
Old 02-10-06, 01:42 PM
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Yup, I did mix up the incoming power cable and the switch cable. Thanks

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