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New Outlet Installed and Works but Wall Light Switch no longer works

New Outlet Installed and Works but Wall Light Switch no longer works


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Old 11-21-13, 01:34 PM
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New Outlet Installed and Works but Wall Light Switch no longer works

Hello all,

I am new to the forum. I have a few questions. Long story short, my house was built in 1953, almost all outlets on my first floor are old two prong outlets (there are also no grounding wiring).

I bought some new Tamper Resistant and Self Grounding outlets and installed six so far. The problem lies in my living room where I installed one new outlet:

-8 total outlets, six of them were wired where the bottom outlet was switch controlled and the top always on and the bottom switch controlled, and two reversed with top switch controlled and the bottom always on. (two light switches, one by front door, other in kitchen, both switches controlled the outlets).

There were three wires that I disconnected from my old outlet and put onto the new outlet (if I recall one black and two white). The new outlet works fine along with all older outlets but now the outlets are always on, no longer controlled by the switch. How can I correct this back to where on each outlet, one is wall switch controlled and the other is always on?
 

Last edited by pcboss; 01-22-14 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 11-21-13, 01:43 PM
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Welcome to the forums! On the side of the receptacle where you have the black and red wires attached to the darker screws, break the tab between the two screws with a pair of needle nose pliers. This will separate the operation of the top and bottom receptacle halves.

Now, to your other receptacles. Is your house wired with conduit or old BX cable with the metal sheathing? If not, you cannot just install the new tamper proof receptacles without a ground. The only way around this would be to install a GFCI at the first receptacle and then wire the downline receptacles from the LOAD side of the GFCI, using the stickers in the package to show each receptacle "GFCI Protected" and "No Equipment Ground".
 
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Old 11-21-13, 02:06 PM
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Thank you for your fast response.

If I remember I have a brass/gold colored side screws and the other side is a typical silver type side. And if I recall I attached two of the wires to the dark and one to the silver. I know a picture is worth a thousand words, but do you mean darker as in brass/gold?

It's not just tamper resistant, they are also self grounding (I was told by an electrician that these are fairly new). I installed one in my office today that I use for a power strip for my computer. On that power strip I use for my computer, it has two lights, red for powered on and green for "protected." Prior to today, in using a three prong to two prong adapter I have never seen the green light lit up, but after I installed the new one, the green now lights up.

Also in another room I switched out to new outlets, I used to use an APC Uninterupted power source. Prior when I used a two prong adaptor a red light on it lit up stating something to the effect of "building ground wiring fault". With the new outlet that no longer lights up.

I appreciate your help. I have a few other questions on other electrical things. I look forward to learning from you and other members. I may post a few pictures later.
 
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Old 11-21-13, 02:14 PM
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On the brass side of the receptacle you need to remove the bridge between the brass screws with a small screwdriver in the slot.
The white side stays connected.

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Old 11-21-13, 02:34 PM
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It's not just tamper resistant, they are also self grounding (I was told by an electrician that these are fairly new).
A self-grounding receptacle does not create a path to ground out of whole cloth. It can't. What it does is make a satisfactory connection to a path to ground that already exists in the bonded metal box it is mounted in. It's the thin brass piece around the mounting screw closer to the ground slots on the receptacles that provides that.

Are the outlet boxes metal? If so, while you have one of the receptacles out to remove the brass bridge tab, separate the wires, turn the power on and use a multimeter - preferably analog - to test for voltage from the hot wire to neutral and to ground. Tell us what you find.
 
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Old 11-21-13, 04:39 PM
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BTW, self grounding devices are not new by any means.
 
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Old 11-21-13, 08:49 PM
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BTW, self grounding devices are not new by any means.
I forgot to say, I was using them in the early 1980s.
 
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Old 11-23-13, 11:04 AM
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A quick update. I removed the bridge on the brass side. Now the bottom receptacle is not working at all. The top one is always on, tried both light switches.

And I double checked, black is connected to brass side, white to silver side along with (red I believe). Should the red be moved to the brass side now?

Also do they sell outlets with the bridge already removed? Is there a name for it that i could search on amazon for or at least go to a hardware store where someone would know what I'm talking about?

Thanks,
 
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Old 11-23-13, 11:20 AM
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Yes the red should be on the same side as black.
If you have the red on the white side, then you should have had a direct short when you turned the switch on, which would trip the breaker.
If the breaker did not trip then you must not have the red connected to any power.
Did you tamper with any of the wiring at the switch?

Oh and hi all, im new here
 
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Old 11-23-13, 11:23 AM
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white to silver side along with (red I believe). Should the red be moved to the brass side now?
Red never goes on the silver side. It goes on the unused screw on the brass side.

Also do they sell outlets with the bridge already removed?
No reason to. The tab is designed to be removed if needed.
 
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Old 11-23-13, 02:58 PM
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Another quick update. Mostly back to normal. I switched the red to the brass side. Now the light switch works again on all outlets. Using a radio in the bottom of the new outlet, the light switch turns on the rest of the lights, the bottom plug is dead, when I flip the switch to turn the lights off, that activated the bottom socket for the radio, so I must have something switched up.

And someone asked earlier, no I have not touched the switches at all, just one outlet in my living room.

For the record, I have black wire on the top brass screw in which the top socket is always live, the bottom brass I put the red. When I last looked there were also two whites on each of the silver screws (this was built and last done in 1953).

Only one of my light switches works now as well, which I have had issues with the other one for a while.
 
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Old 11-23-13, 03:47 PM
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so these outlets/lights are controlled from two locations? that changes things quite a bit if we're talking 3 way switches.
I'd probably need to know more about how the wiring is laid out to help you in that case.
 
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Old 11-25-13, 04:53 PM
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Thank you everyone again for your help.

Yes, 3 way wiring, which not being a professional I didn't know to say that. Of the 8 outlets in my living room, I have two light switches in different locations that control one of the two sockets in each outlet. One light switch is by my front door (it has four total light switches: one for outside light on front porch, one for the doorway on the inside, one unknown and the other for the outlets).

Since I broke off the tab of the one and only new outlet I installed, the one light switch near my front door no longer works (which is not really a new problem, it has not consistently worked since I bought the house). My kitchen light switch works again, the only thing is I reversed something where when I turn the light switch on it activates 7 of the 8 bottom outlets. When I turn the switch off, it turns on the newly installed outlet.

As mentioned I think I need to draw out a diagram and maybe upload it to here. I think I'll pass on doing anything else new in my living room unless it's under a professional.

In the new installed outlet, there were four wires, I have black and red on the brass side and two whites on the silver side. I am not sure if I need to unscrew one of the whites and cap it off.
 
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Old 11-25-13, 05:08 PM
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You seem to be missing a wire that carries the hot out to other portions of the circuit. Is it possible it is tucked in the back of the box?
 
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Old 12-02-13, 06:31 PM
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Sorry to keep bringing this post back but I think for the most part I fixed this!

I took out the new receptacle to look at one more time. On the Brass side with the tab broken I have the black and red wires connected. Then on the silver side I had the white attached. I noticed the attachment wasn't that great so I took it out and reattached it much stronger.

I noticed that both of my light switches work again!! The switch near my door needs to be replaced though as I have to push in when I turn it on to hear a click for it to work, whereas the one in my living room is newer and works all the time.

The only thing is something is still reversed. When I turn the light switch on in my kitchen (or front door) three lamps that are plugged into the switch outlets turn on. When I turn them off the bottom of the new receptacle turns on (had a radio plugged in).

I have attached some pictures of the old receptacle to this. Notice how the tab is on the gold side but none on the silver side. Does this mean anything?
 
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Old 12-02-13, 06:56 PM
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The tab is not normally broken out on the silver side.

A feed out may be spliced to a switched hot instead of a constant hot. this could change how your lighting works.
 
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Old 12-02-13, 09:49 PM
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When I turn the light switch on in my kitchen (or front door) three lamps that are plugged into the switch outlets turn on. When I turn them off the bottom of the new receptacle turns on (had a radio plugged in).
Those two switches are a pair of 3-way switches that are supposed to turn one set of lights on and off? Or one set of receptacles?

What do you think those two switches should be doing -- and not doing?
 

Last edited by ray2047; 12-03-13 at 07:46 AM. Reason: det>set
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Old 01-22-14, 10:58 AM
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Just an update and thanks again. I had a friend who's an electrician look at this. He replaced the two light switches that controlled my outlets, then replaced all of the outlets. I had flip flopped the postive and negative. What is weird is I would have thought the breaker should have tripped. He explained to me what he think happened but by breaking the brass tab, it was not wired correctly and it caused feedback when trying to use it.
 
 

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