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combo switch/outlet removal for separate switch and outlet

combo switch/outlet removal for separate switch and outlet

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  #1  
Old 09-21-12, 02:55 PM
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combo switch/outlet removal for separate switch and outlet

Hey guys,

New to the forum, brand new homeowner, and somewhat experienced diy'er.

I have a 1964 combination switch/receptacle that I want to separate to a single pole switch and an always hot receptacle. I have 2 cables going into the light fixture box. Can this be done?

One cable has the white and black going into the combo and the other cable just has the white going into the back of the combo with the black capped with a wire nut.

http://s16.postimage.org/kgh7y6z91/I...921_162034.jpg

http://s8.postimage.org/hjt4wcjnp/IM...921_162054.jpg

Thanks in advance!

Kyle
 
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  #2  
Old 09-21-12, 03:12 PM
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I can only give you a maybe.

You need to figure out if you have a neutral in that box. The neutral is normally the white wire, but in your case, it looks like you have a switch loop. With a volt meter, take a reading between the newer wires and see if you get 120 volts.

BTW - if this is a bathroom, you will need a GFCI receptacle.
 
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Old 09-21-12, 03:49 PM
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i have an ac volt detector, the one it beeps and lights up is the white wire that is with the black wire also going into the combo, if that makes sense. if you look at the picture it's the top white wire not the bottom.
 
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Old 09-21-12, 04:37 PM
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i have an ac volt detector
If you mean a test light that will work. If you mean a non-contact tester, it is to pron to false positives to be a reliable tester.
 
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Old 09-21-12, 07:26 PM
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That sounds like a non-contact detector, and as Ray posted, will not work for trouble shooting. Go buy the cheapest meter you can fine. Analog would be better than digital and should cost less than $10. If you want a digital one I suggest getting a good brand. (Fluke, Ideal, Amprobe, etc)
 
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Old 09-21-12, 09:24 PM
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If the 2-slot receptacle in the combo worked, then you have neutral. It looks like the older pair of wires is stabbed in at the top two corners, and may be the panel feed pair. But that would mean that the newer white is conducting the switched power to the light, and there is no indication of how the light is connected to neutral.

BTW, is there a ground wire in the box?
 
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Old 09-22-12, 07:58 AM
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yeah the outlet works with the light switch is on and off. Thats what made me think it is totally possible to do without throwing in a 3 wire cable in there.

The ground is tucked in the back of the box.
 
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Old 09-23-12, 04:16 PM
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the outlet works with the light switch is on and off. Thats what made me think it is totally possible to do
That does make it sound possible to do. Just a few more questions, and we should be ready to figure out how it needs to be done.
  • Which cable is the feed from the panel?
  • Where is the newer black wire (the one in the cable with the newer white wire)?
  • How are the wires connected at the light? And
  • Is this combo switch in a bathroom?
 
  #9  
Old 09-24-12, 07:16 AM
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1. It appears that the older wires are from the panel.
2. the newer black wire is tucked in the back with a wire nut on it by itself.
3. Just checked that and its pretty messy back there. the black wire from the light is going to one black wire, the white wire from the light is going to two white wires, ground is going to ground, and there is one black wire and one white wire capped together. Get all that? hehe. let me know if you need a picture.
4. Yes it is in the bathroom.
 
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Old 09-26-12, 09:20 AM
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so maybe everyone is just as stumped as i am. haha.
 
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Old 09-26-12, 10:58 AM
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maybe everyone is just as stumped as i am.
No, that makes sense. IDK why you didn't get a reply sooner, but it sounds like what you have is an old switch loop that was modified when someone decided to add the receptacle.

there is one black wire and one white wire capped together.
That's the beginning of a switch loop properly wired (power down on the white). That white wire should be the older white wire stabbed into the combo. It should have been marked black or red on each end to show that it was being re-purposed to carry ungrounded power, but it wasn't, as far as I can see. The switched power is returned to the light on the older black wire - the single black that the black of the light is spliced to.

In a switch loop there is no neutral. To add a receptacle in a combo, they ran a new cable and used the white wire in it to supply the neutral.

You need to remove the wires from the old combo, turn the power back on, and test for voltage. The older white wire and the newer black wire should both show 120V when tested to the newer white wire. The older black wire should not. Post back when you've tested that and we can advise you from there on how to wire your new single-position switch and duplex GFCI receptacle in your new 2-gang box.
 
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Old 09-26-12, 02:06 PM
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the older white wire is 120 volts, the new black wire is not hot. there was no voltage going through the newer black wire.
 
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Old 09-26-12, 03:05 PM
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Measuring with a multimeter between the old cable black and white was 120 volts and the same measurement between the black and white of the new cable with a meter was zero volts.
Each of these readings should be for the named conductor when tested to the newer white wire. That's why that conductor is not in the list.
 
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Old 09-26-12, 03:16 PM
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there was no voltage going through the newer black wire.
OK. It appears that the newer black wire between the switch and the light was not connected at the light either. Additional evidence for that is that when you originally described the wiring above the light:
the black wire from the light is going to one black wire, the white wire from the light is going to two white wires, ground is going to ground, and there is one black wire and one white wire capped together.
your description includes three white wires but only two black wires. Kinda smart of whoever did it, I guess.

You need to find the newer black wire, the one that runs in the cable with the newer white wire, in the light outlet box. That wire will need to be connected to supply power to the new GFCI receptacle. If you're lucky, and if they did the same thing at each end, then it will be coiled up and have a wire nut on the end of it.
 
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Old 09-26-12, 03:55 PM
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okay. i will go back in the light junction box tonight and report back. thanks for your awesome responses. Virginians stick together. haha.
 
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Old 09-26-12, 04:14 PM
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GUESS WHAT I FOUND IN THE LIGHT JUNCTION BOX??? 1 black wire capped by itself! okay? do i connect that to the black and white hot wires?
 
  #17  
Old 09-26-12, 04:39 PM
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GUESS WHAT I FOUND IN THE LIGHT JUNCTION BOX??? 1 black wire capped by itself!
Good - your lucky day.

okay? do i connect that to the black and white hot wires?
Yes. Then terminate the newer black and white to the LINE terminals on the GFCI receptacle. Terminate the redesignated with black or red electrical tape or permanent marker white wire and the black wire that are older to the new single position switch.
 
  #18  
Old 09-27-12, 04:58 AM
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PERFECT! Got everything hooked up last night. works like a charm. everything tested and resets as normal. Thank you for your help. You're a life saver. How many people only use 1 outlet in their bathroom these days? Thanks again!!!
 
  #19  
Old 09-27-12, 07:18 AM
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Great! Glad you got everything done, and thank you for the feedback.
 
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