adding switch to control convenience outlet

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  #1  
Old 08-28-14, 06:59 AM
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adding switch to control convenience outlet

I have a wall switch that controls two different convenience outlets--located at opposite ends of the living room. I would like to have a separate switch for each of these outlets. Should this be possible to do just inside the wall switch box? Like by adding another single switch gang? Or replacing the single switch with a double switch? If a double might work, could I use one of those designed for fan-light combinations? Thanks, Gary
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Old 08-28-14, 07:03 AM
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Should this be possible to do just inside the wall switch box?
Only if each receptacle is supplied by separate cables from the switch but more likely only one cable to the first receptacle then the first receptacle supplies the second.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 07:14 AM
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another approach?

Should it be possible to change this so the convenience feature exists at only one receptacle?
 
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Old 08-28-14, 07:20 AM
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Should it be possible to change this so the convenience feature exists at only one receptacle
We need to know the wiring at the switch and each receptacle to answer that. That is no single way to wire something like this.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 07:22 AM
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clarification

I should have described this differently. The switch operates convenience receptacles at both ends of the room. BUT at each receptacle only one of the two outlets is "convenience." The other outlet at each receptacle is "always hot."

Does this change your decision? Should it be possible to use a double switch in this configuration?
 
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Old 08-28-14, 07:40 AM
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Yes, if you want both plug-ins at a receptacle hot replace* it with a new receptacle, leave the brass tab intact, wire with only the always hot cable, and if only one switched feed cap the switched feed. If two switched feeds (one in, one out) wire nut the wires of the two cables together.

*There is a way without changing the receptacle but for me changing the receptacle is easier.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 07:50 AM
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Thanks! Going back to the double switch thing, it would be nice to be able to control each convenience plug-in separately. Is there a way to do that?
 
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Old 08-28-14, 08:28 AM
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it would be nice to be able to control each convenience plug-in separately
Probably can't do it without running new cable.
Your "another approach" will work as Ray said. Only one receptacle is half hot - half switched.

If you want to do a quick test to see if they can be switched separately try this:
Take a meter to the existing switch terminals, Test from terminals to ground.
With switch off, determine which terminal is the incoming hot.
The other switch terminal will be feeding the two switched receptacles. If this wire goes to a single cable, then it can't be done. If this wire is pigtailed into 2 exiting cables, it can be done.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 08:56 AM
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I think it does go to a single cable, as you expected.

Following up on this, would it be possible to add a second duplex receptacle to one of the boxes so that one duplex was hot at both plug-ins and the other receptacle was convenience switched at both plug-ins? Or have the two duplex receptacles, but on each of them one plug-in would be convenience switched and the other plug-in always hot?
 
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Old 08-28-14, 09:19 AM
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I would like Ray to give an opinion, but yes. Basically you have two hot wires and one neutral in the box.

Of the hot wires, one is switched and one is not. So you can use this to your advantage and there are several ways to wire. Both of your scenarios would work.

All you need to do is cut out old single gang box and replace with a double gang old work box and go from there.

In cutting out old boxes, I find an oscillating tool very handy. Gently pry old box away from stud, just enough to get tool blade in or a hand held hacksaw blade. Cut the nails securing box to stud and replace with old work box. The hard part is getting the wires out of old box, just try to push them out gently and avoid rubbing against the open knockout.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 09:39 AM
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Yes switching to a double gang box would do it. I'd suggest distinctively colored receptacle for the switched one or a label but not required. I predate oscillating saws so I use a Sawzall. Before Sawzalls a hack saw blade with one end wrapped with tape to make a handle. (They also make special handles to do that with a hack saw blade but I'm cheap.)
 
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Old 08-28-14, 11:16 AM
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Thank you

Thanks for your terrific help, as always.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 04:41 PM
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Basically you have two hot wires and one neutral in the box.
I wanted to clarify my own post in case someone else attempts this same thing.

What I meant was: 2 hot wires and at least one neutral. There could be other neutrals and other black wires in box. OP sounded pretty good at basic wiring so he would most likely know what to do with these, and why they're present.
 
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