Switch controls outlet - NOT WORKING


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Old 05-08-09, 05:06 PM
R
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Switch controls outlet - NOT WORKING

Electrical work is not my specialty but I tend to get by. I have backed myself into a corner with this:

I have an older house that has the standard 2-prong outlets. I wanted to upgrade to 3-prong outlets so they would be more functional (I am aware that they are not grounded). There is a 2 gang light switch. One switch controls the front porch light and the other switch controls the outlet that I am having problems with. When I removed the old outlet to replace it, there were 3 sets of wires in the outlet box. Each set of wires contain 1 white wire and 1 black wire. There was 1 white wire attached to the left side of the outlet, 2 black wires attached to the right side of the outlet, and 2 white wires and 1 black wire that were twisted and taped (electrical tape) together (also inside the box with the outlet). Im not sure what these taped wires were for but I imagine they were linked to the 2 gang light switch.

I put the new outlet in with 1 white wire on the left and 2 black wires on the right, leaving the other wires taped together. It did not work, then I un-taped the other wires. Now, nothing works. I dont know where to do from there. There are a total of 4 outlets on this breaker, including the porch light.

Here is where I stand The porch light does not work, the outlet controlled by the switch does not work, the outlet to the left of the one Im working on does not work, but the other 2 outlets on that same breaker do work.

I am lost and could use help.

Thanks!
 
  #2  
Old 05-08-09, 05:19 PM
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Can you repeat your earlier description, but also tell us the pairings of each black/white wire? Let's call the wires from the first cable B1 and W1, the wires from the second cable B2 and W2, and the wires from the third cable B3 and W3. Then tell us again how it was originally wired, but use B1, B2 and B3 to individually identify the black wires, and W1, W2 and W3 to identify the white wires. You clearly have a switch loop, but we need this further detail to understand it completely.
 
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Old 05-08-09, 06:14 PM
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Unless you provided GFI protection to the three prong receptacles or your wiring method can be used as a ground you have created a Code violation.

Also the two wires connected together should have had a connector like a wire nut to keep them secured. Twisting and taping is not an appropriate method.

After reconnecting the white and black wires that were twisted together you should have most of your problem solved.

If the switch did not operate the receptacle and it was always on you need to break out the tab between the brass colored screws.
 
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Old 05-12-09, 11:37 AM
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Better description

There is a 2 gang light switch. Switch A controls the porch light and Switch B controls Outlet A (the outlet I'm having trouble with).
Switch B is paired with W1 and B1.
Outlet A is paired with W2 and B2
Outlet B is paired with W3 and B3

Outlet A was connected to W1 and B2 and B3. Inside Outlet A's box, W2, W3 and B1 were twisted together. I hope this makes sense.

I would like to have the outlet always be on and not controlled by a switch.

Thanks!
 
  #5  
Old 05-12-09, 12:12 PM
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I didn't understand very much of your prior post (I suspect one or more typos, and I don't really know what "Outlet B" is or what the term "paired with" means).

But it is clear that you have a switch loop.

Do you understand the tabs on the sides of receptacles? Do you still have the old receptacle? Compare the old and new receptacles. Look at the sides where the two screws are. See how on the new receptacle there is a brass tab joining to two screws? Are both of those tabs in place and intact on the old receptacle?

I suspect that your description is incorrect. It's okay that either W2 or W2 be connected to B1, but not both. One of those should instead be connected to the receptacle. But not just any one--it has to be the correct one.

Do you own any electrical test instruments? You need to figure out which one of those three cables in the receptacle box goes to the switch.
 
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Old 05-14-09, 06:57 AM
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More help

My brother has a test light. I'll get it from him and let you know. Do you know how the wires should be connected if I want to have the outlet always hot. I do not want it to be controlled by a switch.

Thanks!
 
  #7  
Old 05-14-09, 07:19 AM
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Do you know how the wires should be connected if I want to have the outlet always hot.
No, not based on the information I have now.
 
 

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