One light switch controls two receptacles (four outlets)


Old 01-10-10, 11:47 AM
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One light switch controls two receptacles (four outlets)


I apologize in advance for potentially not using the correct terminology.

We switched out the light and electrical switches for esthetics only, everything worked fine before we switched everything. The one light switched controlled power to the four outlets (two receptacles) in our living room.

We were very careful in replacing, and ensured we applied wire for wire to the same screws on new switch/outlets. We replaced one a time to doubly ensure we did not inadvertly make a mistake. White on neutral (silver screws) side, ground to ground, and the other two wires to their respective brass screws. Light switch only had black and red wire, red on top screw, black on bottom screw.

We, however, did not realize that the tabs may have been broken on the outlets, so did not look for this.

When we were complete and turned the break back on, both plugs were always receiving power, and the light switch no longer affected either plug or any of the four outlets!

On speaking with an electrician at Home Depot, was advised to break the brass tabs on the hot side of the outlets, and still nothing, all four outlets live, and the light switch is still ineffective.

What did we do wrong and how do we fix this? As I said, we did switch wire for wire as to the same layout as before.

We tested with a volt meter today, and outlets were always hot, but so is the light switch???

HELP. Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-10-10, 12:15 PM
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Welcome to the forums! Just to clarify, you removed the tab on the hot (black) side only, right? Double check. Where does the red wire go from the switch? Does it go to a receptacle? One way-out thought as well, are you using a three way switch, by chance?
As far as terminology, you have been the closest to being correct as most. They are called receptacles if you plug something into them. They are called outlets if it is a point of use, so a receptacle is an outlet and so is a light box in the ceiling. It is an "outlet" for power. We consider the individual parts of the receptacles as receptacles halves. Other names are used, but you get the gist.
Old 01-10-10, 12:32 PM
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If you did not remove the tab on the hot side it will act as a bridge and override the switch. You will be feeding a constant hot to the switched wire.
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