Controlling a receptacle with switch - HELP?


Old 03-17-09, 08:43 AM
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Controlling a receptacle with switch - HELP?

Hello all...newbie here to this site...pretty cool place!

I've got a problem/question.

So the wife has me replacing all of our light switches/receptacles in our house because they were the old nasty looking ones and I'm putting in nice bright white new ones.

In our living room we have a single pole switch that controls 2 receptacles (bottom outlet). I removed the switch and hooked up the new one exactly as it was, but the new one is not killing the power to the receptacles...and when I hook the old one back up it won't kill the power to the receptacle now either. I have not touched the old receptacles yet so nothing with them has changed. What did I do?

The switch had 2 black and 2 red wires connected to it, the white were wire nutted in the box, both black were connected to the top scew and both red to the bottom screw.

I'm pretty new to this and have learned a ton just in the past week reading about wiring - I saw that there shouldn't be 2 wires connected to a screw...that they should be pigtailed together and then one wire to each screw...would this make a difference?

Can anyone help?
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Old 03-17-09, 09:07 AM
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This very common problem is usually caused by improper receptacle replacement. But if you have not touched any receptacles yet, then this cannot be the issue.

What you said sounds good on the surface of it, so start by double-checking your work. Is it possible that you do not correctly remember how the old switch was connected? Is the new switch exactly like the old one? Do they have the same number and color of screws? Do the levers on both the old and new switches say "on" on one side and "off" on the other?

And yes, two wires should not be connected to one screw. But this should not be what's causing your problem assuming that two wires were connected to one screw on the old switch too.
Old 03-17-09, 09:38 AM
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Thx for the reply John.

I took a picture of it with my camera before I touched it, so I have it hooked up exactly as it was - I've even tried switching the wires just to see if that would make a difference but it didn't.

I do not know if the switches are identical though....they have the same # of screws, and yes it says on/off, guess I haven't looked to see if the old screws were the same color - is it possible that they are not the same?
Old 03-17-09, 11:19 AM
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Sounds like you did everything correctly except for the 2 wires under the one screw.

Try another switch and see if that makes a difference.
Old 03-17-09, 12:22 PM
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If you have replaces the recepticals in question, you need to break the tab between the halves on the hot side.

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