Switched Outlets - 4 way??


Old 06-06-13, 07:56 AM
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Switched Outlets - 4 way??

I purchased a house and realized that a few rooms had switched outlets. I fixed the problems in the formal living room, but I'm stumped when it comes to the family room switching for these outlets. The top half of the outlet is suppose to be switched and the bottom half always hot, but something isn't quite right. Additionally, there are separate switches for the ceiling fan/light combo. Maybe one of these is on a three way as well. Please see the attached diagram. I need a bit of help. FYI...there are grounds, I just didn't show them for simplicity sake.
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Old 06-06-13, 10:08 AM
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Is it just me or do you really have every switch wired to this one fan? Also do you have a neutral and hot wired together in a single wire nut??
Old 06-06-13, 10:11 AM
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The diagram made no sense to me even when I enlarged it enough to half way read it. I gave up when I saw no commons marked or did I just miss that. If there are no commons marked wire colors don't help because they are at the option of the installer.
Old 06-06-13, 12:31 PM
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There appear to be wiring errors in the diagram. I cannot see why a red is being spliced to a white.

Someone may have missed breaking out the brass tab and created an always hot when it should be switched.
Old 06-06-13, 02:08 PM
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You are right. No Common's are marked. That's one of the issues.
Old 06-06-13, 02:11 PM
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I assure you there are no errors in the diagram, I checked, double checked, and triple checked when I made the diagram and yes there is a red spliced in with a white, for what reason I don't know.

Already checked all the brass tabs, that's how I fixed the LR switched outlets.
Old 06-06-13, 02:17 PM
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In the large area of the diagram which is a 3 gang box - One switch operates the fan, One switch operates the Light Kit on the Fan (upper left corner of the diagram. The third switch I assume is for the switched outlets, but there are 4 wires coming into the box that I can't determine where they go or to what. The double gang box at the front door (upper middle corner of the diagram) one switch functions the porch light, the other does nothing. The single gang cut in box is not functioning and only has one wire coming in so if it was suppose to be a 3 or 4 way something is missing. Can anyone help or is it better to hire someone to come straighten this mess out?
Old 06-06-13, 09:10 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

I read through this thread earlier and started to critique your drawing. Then I had to go do other things and, while I was doing those, I realized that that probably wouldn't help.

One point I'll make about the drawing is that it isn't a diagram. It's a drawing, or a sketch. It's the notes you made as you looked through the switch boxes. That makes it valuable in terms of explaining your thinking.

What I decided might be more useful is to try to clarify your situation and to suggest some next steps.

One is to buy and read Wiring Simplified. It's an inexpensive, invaluable and readable resource for understanding why residential electrical systems are assembled the way they are, how they work and how to work on them. Some of us refer to it as "the text for our ongoing online seminar."

Another is to buy an inexpensive analog multimeter. You'll needf that to diagnose what's going on with your system. Both may be available at your local home improvement center, in the electrical aisle.

Now, to your immediate question:

The switch controls for the fan and light appear to be working. The control for the fan motor should not be an on/off switch, BTW, but, if it is, we can talk about that later. For now, let's focus on the receptacles.

In your sketch, you appear to be showing 3 switches that may be intended to control the upper receptacle on each duplex. The one that's in a 2-gang box with the SPST switch for the porch light and the one that's in a single-gang box appear to be 3-way switches, and you show the one in the 3-gang box as a 4-way switch. You also show a panel feed coming into the 3-gang box.

According to your sketch, the panel feed only supplies the two controls for the fan and its light. It is not connected to the switch for the receptacles - except in one important way: You show one white wire spliced with three black wires, one of which is the hot wire from the panel, and that white wire is in one of the two 3-conductor cables that are bringing the travelers to the 4-way switch. In addition, you show the white wire in the other traveler cable as being spliced with the red wires in two other 3-conductor cables.

It appears, then, that the white wire that's spliced with the black wires is carrying the ungrounded current to one of the 3-way switches and the other white wire is bringing that potential back, now switched, and putting it on the two red wires to go to the switch-controlled receptacles.

Originally Posted by ray2047
I gave up when I saw no commons marked or did I just miss that. If there are no commons marked wire colors don't help because they are at the option of the installer.
Originally Posted by santuckkid
You are right. No Common's are marked.
Ray's comment wasn't intended as something he was seeking your agreement on, I'm pretty sure. What he was saying is that you, and we, need to know which of the three wires in the 3-conductor cables is connected to the common terminal on each of those switches.

If my theory is correct, it will be the white wire. If not, it certainly looks like it should be. Tell us which wire it is and we can go from there.

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