3-way switch to multiple outlets

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Old 11-17-16, 09:48 AM
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3-way switch to multiple outlets

Hi. I have been trying to figure this out for two days and now realize I need HELP!!!

History: I moved into a house built in the early 60s 3 years ago. Right inside the door are 3 switches: one runs the porch light, one runs the entry hall light, and the 3rd used to run all or some of the outlets in the living room. (I can't remember). This third switch is a 3-way with another switch across the room. My brother was anxious to help me do some projects in my new house so I asked him to replace the dirty, loose outlets around the living room. He is a smart guy so I figured no problem. I came home to all new outlets that were no longer controlled by the switch. I assumed he would just rewire them exactly like he found them.

Goal: I would like to have that 3way switch control only one outlet and the the other 3 outlets to be always on.

Problem: I pulled all three of the switches and the outlet out to see what I was working with. Switch 1: porch light. Switch 2: entry light. switch 3: 3-way controlling outlets (used to). 5 cable are coming into the box: 3 20/2 (black/white) and 2 20/3 (black/white/red). I can not make heads or tales of which is the source, which goes to the outlets, or which would run to the other 3way switch. I hope these pictures help. I am confused as to why the white wire is connected to the 3 way switch. (this is the original configuration not touched by my brother). I am not able to figure out what to do at the outlet because all of the diagrams I find show the black and white reversed. I assume all three are hot. How should I wire the outlet. What do you think my brother did to cause them to be no longer controlled by the switch. Should I switch the black and white around and, if so, do I need to fix all the other outlets and the other 3 way switch.

I hope this is understandable and I would appreciate any help.

Thanks
 
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Old 11-17-16, 10:03 AM
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In order for one half of a receptacle be switch controlled.... the "hot" side tab needs to be removed. You need to remove all of them as the originals were before them.

If you want a receptacle to be no longer switched..... you remove the switched wire from it and just use the always hot wire and leave the tab in place.
 
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Old 11-17-16, 10:04 AM
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The unbroken tab on the brass side is overriding the switch control. Typically the red would be the switched hot with the black as the constant hot.

Backstabs are prone to issues over the long term vs using the screws.
 
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Old 11-17-16, 10:40 AM
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So my plan is to replace all 3 of the switches. Switch 1 and 2 will be wired exactly the same. Switch 3 I will connect two reds and one black to the 3 way switch and then nut the white in with the other whites?

Or should I leave the switches wired as is and just worry about the outlets?

In my diagram which wire is acting as the switched hot? always hot?

Thanks
 
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Old 11-17-16, 12:40 PM
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The issue is not with the switches. The issue is the unbroken brass tab.
 
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Old 11-17-16, 03:10 PM
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Can you tell me which one is the switched wire from my drawing?
 
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Old 11-17-16, 04:01 PM
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The red wire is the switched wire. It's on the Common of the three way switch.
 
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Old 11-17-16, 04:31 PM
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The red wire attached to the common terminal of switch 3 is the switched wire. It goes to the cable at the bottom of your diagram. It powered the outlets in the living room through the 2 3-way switches. Hopefully your brother left it disconnected in one of the outlet boxes. If you can find the outlet box with the disconnected wire from the 3- way switch using a voltmeter (or ask your brother ) this box would be the easiest to control from the 3-way switches. Controlling a different outlet in the string is more complicated so I will assume you will stick with the easy solution.
Remove power to the outlets and 3-way switches. If there are 2 black wires attached to the outlet, remove both and wire nut them together to power the remaining outlets in the string. If only 1 black wire , remove and cap with a wire nut or remove from a wire nut if a pigtail. Attach the red wire from the 3 way switch to the hot terminal of the outlet. I am assuming the neutral wire in the box is the original. Restore power to the outlets and 3-way switches and you are finished. Good luck
 
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Old 11-19-16, 05:00 AM
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After spending several hours drawing different circuits in order to fully understand what is going on here I finally realized the power is coming from the outlets first. All outlets are wired as in the diagram below.

Now my question now is with the white wires. 1. When would you pigtail the white wire to one screw and when would you attach each neutral to individual screws (as in my picture)?

From your instructions I plan to remove the black hot from the outlet and wire nut them together so to power continues on to the next outlet. 2. Do I pigtail the switched hot (red) to the outlet or attach to the individual screws? All tabs on the hot side have been removed.

Thank-you
 
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