Converting switched outlet to overhead light

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  #1  
Old 10-12-15, 09:54 PM
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Converting switched outlet to overhead light

There were a number of old threads regarding this topic, but nothing recent and I'm hoping to get some help converting a switched outlet to overhead lighting.

I was attempting to add a ceiling light fixture in two of my bedrooms. The wall switches were set up to control the top half of an electrical outlet so that a lamp could be plugged in, but I want to have overhead lights on the ceiling. In the first bedroom I had no issue. The switch was set up with an extra red hot wire that went from the switch to the outlet and I simply spliced in my romex run to the line that went between the switch and the outlet, connecting the black wire for my ceiling fixture to the red wire to the red wire and the white to white. The black line I left alone. The thing works great. The switch now controls both the outlet and the overhead ceiling fixture.

in the second bedroom it wasnt this easy. The wiring is different in that there is no red wire. The wall switch has a black wire connected to the top and a white wire connected to the bottom. I figured that I would just tap my black and white wires going to the ceiling light fixture into these black and white wires. When I powered it up, at first, there was no light to the ceiling fixture with the switch in either the on or off position. So then I connected a lamp to the switched outlet and the ceiling fixture comes on and off when I pull the chain for the lamp plugged into the outlet. I opened up the back of the outlet to find that the white wire from the switch attaches to the black hot wires and the black wire from the switch attached to the copper side of the upper (switched half) of the outlet. (See this link for diagram). Very strange I thought. I chatted with the electrical guy at Home Depot and showed him photos of the way it was wired. This guy is usually very knowledgable about wiring tasks, but he was stumped as to why it is wired this way. He suggested that I try reversing the wires that I used to tap into the line for my ceiling fixture. I tried that connecting the white wire that goes to my ceiling fixture to the black run between the outlet and the switch and the black wire going to my ceiling fixture to the white run between the outlet and the switch. Now when I operate the wall switch when in the up (on) position the lamp turns on and when the wall switch is in the down (off) position, the ceiling fixture turns on. If I unplug the lamp all together, the ceiling fixture does not come with the wall switch operation at all.

I would appreciate if you have any thoughts on how I could do this. I really do not care if the outlet is switched. Id love it if the outlet could remain powered the whole time (not switched at all) and that the wall switch would only control the ceiling light fixture.

Thanks for any help/advice you can provide.
 
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  #2  
Old 10-12-15, 10:24 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

That is called a switch loop. The power is feed to the receptacle junction box. For the switched receptacle part.... hot is sent to the switch on the white wire and returns switched on the black wire. There is no neutral at the switch.

You have two choices.
1) Replace the two wire cable from the receptacle box to the switch box with a three wire cable.
2) Connect your new light at the switched receptacle.
 
  #3  
Old 10-12-15, 11:16 PM
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3) Or change the switch cable connection at the receptacle and run your new light to the switch box since you don't want the receptacle switched.
I’d love it if the outlet could remain powered the whole time
At the receptacle:
  • Replace the existing receptacle with a new one that does not have the tab between the screws on the brass side removed.
  • Connect all the black wires to a pigtail. (6" length of wire the same color and size).
  • Connect all the white wires to a pigtail. (6" length of wire the same color and size).
  • Connect the black pigtail to the brass side of the receptacle and white to the silver side.
At the switch:
  • Run a 2-conductor cable from the new light to the existing switch.
  • Connect the two black wires to the switch. (One wire to each screw.)
  • Connect the two white wires to each other.
All grounds are connected together and pigtailed to the device. If the box is metal the grounds are pigtailed to the box also.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 10-13-15 at 07:24 AM.
  #4  
Old 10-12-15, 11:34 PM
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ray2047... that's what I'd like to do.

I really appreciate the advice from both of you. I definitely would prefer to simply make the receptacle completely unswitched and have the wall switch just control the overhead light.

What specific wiring changes would I need to make at the receptacle? If I run my ceiling light to the switch.. where is it picking up power? I assume at the receptacle.

Thanks again.
 
  #5  
Old 10-12-15, 11:36 PM
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See my post above. You must have posted before I finished my post (#3). Instructions are there.
 
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Old 10-12-15, 11:58 PM
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Wow Ray..... you came up with the perfect solution. ... I missed it.
 
  #7  
Old 10-13-15, 08:47 AM
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Thanks for the excellent help!

I really appreciate it. Not looking forward to another round in the hot attic, but this will help me get 'er done! Thanks very much!
 
  #8  
Old 10-14-15, 08:13 PM
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Thank you! It works.

I really appreciate the help. Everything works now just as it should.
 
  #9  
Old 10-14-15, 08:25 PM
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Excellent! Thanks for letting us know the outcome.
 
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