Problem wiring switched outlets

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  #1  
Old 02-28-12, 09:11 AM
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Problem wiring switched outlets

I am replacing my old outlets and switched throughout my house. Generally a pretty simple task. In my living room, all the outlets are switched and am having trouble getting those to work properly.

The existing condition is this: Several (8) switched outlets are controlled by two three way switches at opposite ends of the room. Switch controls upper outlet. Bottom outlet is hot. Prior to replacing any of the outlets, I replaced the switches. After that was done, everything was operating normally.

Then, days later, I replaced the outlets. I removed the tabs on the hot side of the all the new outlets, and replaced wiring in the same manner as was on the existing. They are wired with two sets of 14-3 wire, plus ground. Red wires connected to the top outlet, black wires connected to the bottom. White wires on the opposite side (with tab still connected).

All the outlets work exactly as they should, except for one which is directly below one of the three way switches. That one has no power to either outlet, no matter what position the switch is in. How is it possible for that outlet to have no power and the others work perfectly and they are all on the same chain? Also, there is a second light switch adjacent to the outlet switch that no longer works either.

Anyone have any ideas? I've checked the wiring at the non-working outlet and don't see any problems. What can I do?

Thanks in advance.

**EDIT** Also, I tested the the wires coming out of the "dead" outlet with my tester, and did not find voltage on any of them? How is this possible, when the outlet worked before?
 

Last edited by zepman; 02-28-12 at 10:52 AM.
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  #2  
Old 02-28-12, 04:54 PM
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Sounds like a loose connectio or a constant hot connection did not get made. Check at the dead receptacle or immediately upstream.

I hope you did not put more than one wire under the screw heads.
 
  #3  
Old 02-29-12, 05:37 AM
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Thanks. I certainly did not put multiple wires under the screw heads.

There aren't any loose connections, I checked them. It is certainly possible I mixed something up. But, I was careful to connect the wires in the same manner as they were before.

What is throwing me off is how both 3way switches work fine, and 7 of the 8 outles work fine. Somehow, 1 of the outlets (directly below one of the switches), is not working at all. How can the others get power without this one getting any?

I don't know how to go about troubleshooting this. Where to expect the problem to be based on the symptoms. My gut tells me the wiring must be wrong at the switches, but why did it work before I switched the outlets then?
 
  #4  
Old 02-29-12, 07:35 AM
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Somehow, 1 of the outlets (directly below one of the switches), is not working at all.
Can you post pictures of both the switch and receptacle wiring? http://www.doityourself.com/forum/li...-pictures.html
 
  #5  
Old 03-02-12, 09:26 AM
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I'll get those pictures. I won't have the chance until this weekend.

Thanks
 
  #6  
Old 03-03-12, 10:33 AM
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Photo link is below:

Pictures by jrsadowski - Photobucket

There are photos of the "dead" outlet (2 different pics of the same outlet) and 1 picture of the two 3 way switches.

All the outlets are wired the same way as this one, and those all work. The three way switches both work to turn the top outlet on and off, except for the one outlet location.
 
  #7  
Old 03-03-12, 11:34 AM
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In outlet photo #2 instead of connecting the blacks to a pigtail you have spliced using a back stab and its associated screw. Try wire nutting the two blacks to a pigtail and run the pigtail to the screw. Back stabs can be flaky.
 
  #8  
Old 03-03-12, 01:30 PM
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I can try that although I had already tried another outlet in case this one was bad.

So I don't think the back stabs are the problem. But it certainly won't hurt.
 
  #9  
Old 03-03-12, 02:54 PM
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I don't know if it is or not but our motto here is no back stabs ever.
 
  #10  
Old 03-05-12, 07:44 PM
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Well, I guess it is a good motto to have about those back stabs... I got rid of the back stabs on the dead outlet, which didn't help but it got me thinking that the issue must be at the upstream outlet. So I got rid of the back stabs there too, and low and behold there must have been a problem with one of the neutral wire connections on that outlet. Everything now works as it should.

I've used back stabs many times before and never had an issue, but I can tell you I'll never use them again. Never knew they could be so problematic.

Thanks Ray.
 
  #11  
Old 03-05-12, 08:02 PM
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Glad you got it. Thanks for letting us know.
 
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