need help...changing a light switch to an outlet

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  #1  
Old 02-16-12, 08:11 PM
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Exclamation need help...changing a light switch to an outlet

Concerned with the wiring end of changing a light switch to an outlet.

Not sure how to word this so I may confuse you all....lol

Room #1 light switch
Room #1 ceiling light
Room #2 light switch

I want to take out the light switch in Room #2 and make it an outlet.

I have 3 wires running both switches...(older home-take notes)

I have read some online threads where it can be done, but those threads also mentioned about 5 wires coming out of the receptacle.
I only have 3. So here is the catch.....

The light switch in Room #2 ''if it is in the off'' position, there is no light in Room #1 and Room#1 light switch cannot turn it on.

So I am thinking the power to that is shut off completely when switch is off. So if I put an outlet there it will always be full power and shouldn't interrupt the light switch's usage in Room #1.

If the light switch in Room #2 "is in the on" position, the light works as well as the light switch in Room #1 turns it on and off.

I looked at the wiring as stated before and because it is older wiring you can barely see a color difference. I am unsure about where the wiring will go on the outlet. Some of the wiring on many of the outlets in this house are just 2 wires and I haven't had problems changing them. My question is Do I attach all 3 wires to the outlet or cap one of them and then I need to decipher which one needs capped.

I plan on trying to do this tomorrow ... so any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.
 
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  #2  
Old 02-16-12, 08:20 PM
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Is there any chance you can post a picture?

Usually 3 wires to a switch mean it's a 3-way, controlled from more than one location.

How many wires are in the switch #2 box?
 
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Old 02-16-12, 08:29 PM
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Both light switches have 3 wires and yes I am guessing it is a 3 way, but when the switch #2 is in the off position... Switch #1 doesn't work or the light. So they screwed something just not sure what to do with it. I will go get a pic and post it...

I just noticed too I messed up on Switch #2... It is actually in the ''off'' position when Switch #1 is working correctly. When it is in the "on" position is when it shuts off Room #1 light and switch.

I got the pic... how do you post it.. no icon for attachments.
 

Last edited by mrs.skelly; 02-16-12 at 08:45 PM.
  #4  
Old 02-16-12, 08:53 PM
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https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx...NunMHiWYy3phX4


you can see the pics here cause i cant post em... lol
 
  #5  
Old 02-16-12, 09:34 PM
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electrical ?

Dear Mrs. Skelly, It sounds to me like what you're describing is known as a 3 way switch. I believe rm.#2 switch is bad, or maybe 1/2 bad, I'll try to explain. A 3 way switch needs 3 wires, 2 are called traverlers, 1 is common[not a nuetral]. In one position the current from the common uses one of the traverlers to feed the other switch, if the position changes on either switch the other traverler is used. Ok, this is where it might get a little confusing. Typically, there will be 2 wires[ a hot and nuetral] coming in to a switch box. Between switch boxes there will be 4 wires[ 1 hot, 1 nuetral, & 2 traverlers]. From the other switch box 2 wires will go to the ceiling box/light. I think rm#2 switch has a bad side or traverler. You can do this only if the hot and nuetral feeding this circuit come to rm.#2 switch box. If this is the case remove this switch and install the receptacle. Ohm out the traverlers, cap one off, the other will get its power from the hot side of the recept. and feed the new single pole switch. the other side of the sing. pole feeds the light. Other than wiring one side of the recept. the nuetral has been pretty much undisturbed. I hope this will help.
 
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Old 02-16-12, 09:44 PM
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Thanks.. that does help... but of the 3 wires... red white and black, which one ''should'' be capped.

I will try with this..I do have a meter. so I can test if I need to as to which is hot or does that matter.
 
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Old 02-16-12, 09:53 PM
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Trying to clear this up a little. If you have no way to ohm out[meter] the traverlers, look for a difference in the color of the screws on the switch. The traverlers will be alike, the common/hot terminal/screw will be different. If you can at least determine the traverlers, but cap and use the wrong one, it simply won't work, just reverse the 2 wires and it should. The only thing you will be doing with the nuetral is putting it on the recept. Good luck.
 
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Old 02-16-12, 09:57 PM
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Are all three [ red, white and black ] on a switch?
 
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Old 02-16-12, 09:58 PM
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yes... black and white are on the right side of the switch (facing it) and the red wire is on the left.
 
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Old 02-16-12, 10:01 PM
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Is there another joint [ 2 wires capped together ] in the same box?
 
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Old 02-16-12, 10:03 PM
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no... if you look at the pic... i am dealing with old wiring... there is nothing else in the box...
 
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Old 02-16-12, 10:11 PM
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Old 02-16-12, 10:13 PM
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Sorry I'm a slow typper. I'm afraid that's a deal breaker. It looks like the light is getting its nuetral from another source and without one in that box, a recept. can't work.
 
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Old 02-16-12, 10:22 PM
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I guess what I'm saying is, to make your deal work you've got to have a nuetral. If all you have in that box is a red white and black, and all three are on the switch, you don't have a nuetral.
 
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Old 02-17-12, 07:07 AM
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It sounds as if the source of your frustrations are that when one switch is off, the other switch cannot control the light. Why not fix that and have 2 operable 3-way switches, wouldn't that really be better anyway? It would be a simple fix. I'd also install new 3-way switches while doing this. If you really do want and need the 2nd switch to be changed to a receptacle, that can be done too after the 1st 3-way switch is changed to a single pole switch.
 
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Old 02-17-12, 07:48 AM
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Joe, yes that is the problem. The reason for the change is that these rooms are both bedrooms.. and they are the rooms of my children ... who love to torment each other, my youngest being in room 2 can shut lights of in room 1 which creates chaos.... lol...

room 2 only has one outlet in the room and i thought this would be perfect for making another one. sooo that was the reason for this insanity. this is an older home and room 2 was an add-on.. now why they put this switch in there I will never know. also I believe they ran the wiring thru the ceiling of room 1 when they did the wiring because room 1 is the only room in the house without a 10 foot ceiling.

so you think this cannot be done?? I dont want to get into pulling wire or re-doing anything... so If I cannot switch this I will likely just fold the tabs in and push it in the wall and put a plate cover over it so it cannot be flipped. As I have 3 other switches in this house that ran nothing and I did that to them also....
 
  #17  
Old 02-17-12, 10:13 AM
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Well, all you have is a 3-way switch circuit with the travelers connected incorrectly. If you switch the traveler wires on one switch, the 3-way circuit should operate correctly, but I would also replace the two switches with new ones. I'm not sure I would suggest converting one switch to a receptacle. You don't know how much load is already on the old lighting circuit.
 
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