Half Hot Outlet Help!


Old 11-12-13, 09:53 AM
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Half Hot Outlet Help!

Hello and thanks for looking.

I'm trying to wire a half-hot outlet under my sink so I can plug in my dishwasher (always hot) and my garbage disposal (switched) in the same outlet. Originally the outlet has been used for the disposal only, with both outlets controlled by a wall switch. Here is my issue:

When I first removed the outlet, there was a black (hot) and white (neutral) wire as well as a the ground wire connected to the outlet (no tabs broken), these were controlled by the wall switch. In addition, there was another black and white wire connected together and capped in the box. 5 wires total, two black, two white and one bare. There were no additional wires.

Next, I broke the hot tab on a new outlet and connected the original black wire that was controlled by switch to one screw and the other black wire that was connected to a neutral and capped in the box, to the other screw. I connected both corresponding white neutral wires to each neutral screw and the bare wire to the ground.

I flipped the breaker and tested the each outlet. The one outlet which has the black and white wires which were originally connected together and capped in the box is now running always hot. The other outlet which has the black and white originally controlled by the switch is now completely dead, and nothing happens when I flip the switch by the sink. At first I thought maybe it was a bad outlet and replaced with a new one, but still have the same issue.

I'm wondering if I should not be connecting both neutral white wires to the outlet, or if that even matters.

Also, I'm wondering if the black wire creating the always hot outlet is somehow disabling the switch and hence the other black wire and causing the dead outlet. Please ask any questions. I don't have any pictures yet. Also, I have not opened the switch box to check out wiring but may do so tonight. Thanks for any advice.
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Old 11-12-13, 10:42 AM
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in addition, there was another black and white wire connected together and capped in the box.
Classic example of a switch loop. If you have a black and a white on the switch that will confirm it.

Put the wiring back the way it was but with the tab broken on the brass side of the receptacle. That is:
  • The white that was originally on the receptacle and only that white on the receptacle.
  • The black wire back on the plugin for the garbage disposal.
  • Connect the black and white wires back together and add a black pigtail
  • Connect the pigtail to the other brass screw on the receptacle.

Note the white wire connected to the black is not a neutral. It is being used as an ungrounded conductor and should have been recolored black or red or any color but gray or green on both ends using bands of tape or felt tip marker.
Old 11-12-13, 10:48 AM
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The black that was connected to the white was power up to your switch. After you broke the tab on the new receptacle, you should have taken the black and white connected together with a wire nut and added a short black pigtail to that wire nutted connection. That pigtail now goes to the brass screw for the side of the outlet intended for the dishwasher. The white says inside that same wire nut. Now, the two wires, black and white, originally attached to the first receptacle go on the new receptacle for the diposer.
Old 11-12-13, 11:05 AM
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Awesome, that makes sense, thanks for the reply, will try tonight and update.
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