Adding outlet from existing light switch

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  #1  
Old 01-12-19, 01:54 AM
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Adding outlet from existing light switch

Hi everyone,

I'd like to add a standard 15-amp duplex outlet near my front door so I can set up a security camera and record any "porch pirates" that try to steal our Amazon packages. My plan is to add an outlet by tapping into the existing 4-gang switch that is near the front door. I would add the outlet directly below the switch at the standard 12in height from the floor. Problem is, when I removed the switch covers and inspected the wiring in the box, it was a lot more complicated than I expected (at least for me). From left to right, the box has four switches:

1. Lutron dimmer switch - controls the foyer light
2. Single pole rocker switch - not sure what this controls
3. GE SunSmart digital timer - controls the porch light
4. GE SunSmart digital timer - controls the outside garage lights

Trying to describe the wiring would be impossible, and I'm not an engineer so I don't know how to make a schematic, but I did make a realistic drawing of the wiring setup inside the box - link is below and drawing is also attached for your convenience. It's not an exact scale but I wanted to make it easy to see/read/understand; regarding how everything is wired up, it's very accurate. There are 5 separate Romex lines feeding into the box. I didn't show every Romex wire from every Romex line, just those that are connected to the switches... you can assume all of the Romex lines/wires are there and working properly.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/e0gs3v1uoe...90111.jpg?dl=0

My question: can I add an outlet from any of these switches? If so, what's the best way to do so? I'm still pretty new at this game, so feel free to talk to me slowly.

Thank you for your help!
~David

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Last edited by PJmax; 01-12-19 at 02:10 PM. Reason: downsized pic
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  #2  
Old 01-12-19, 05:23 AM
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If one of those cables brings 120 volts to the switch box then you can. Do you have several whites connected together? If so then you probably can.
 
  #3  
Old 01-12-19, 07:00 AM
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You might want.to.look at something like a wireless camera like Blink or Arlo.
 
  #4  
Old 01-12-19, 11:50 AM
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ray2047 - yes, the whites for the GE SunSmart digital timers are connected together, and they are connected to the whites in the first four Romex lines (left to right). I've updated the drawing to be more accurate regarding the neutral and ground wires.

It appears that the fifth Romex line, and thus the rightward-most GE SunSmart digital timer, is on a different circuit. Since it is, does that make this job potentially a lot easier?

If not, I have a couple of follow up questions based on your reply:

1. The white would provide the constant power, right? Could I just pigtail off that bundle of whites for the outlet?

2. What about the hot/black wire? Where should I pigtail from?

3. I assume I can connect the ground to any of the ground wires in the box?

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Last edited by PJmax; 01-12-19 at 12:23 PM. Reason: resized/labeled diagram
  #5  
Old 01-12-19, 12:26 PM
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Yes.... connect to the large neutral splice.
All ground are connected together inside the box.

I marked the black wire that is always live. You have an always live cable coming in and leaving that box. The hot in and out should be spliced together with a tail out to each device rather then using the push-in and screw connectors like on the middle switch. What was done there was an easy way to skip a splice.

The ground wiring on the far right hand switch should have also been connected to the main ground splice.
 
  #6  
Old 01-12-19, 01:29 PM
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Wow, fantastic - thank you for the explanations. I will be sure to connect the ground on the far right switch to the main ground bundle.

Ok, I think it's all making sense now... or at least let's make sure it does. I've updated the drawing to include the soon-to-be new outlet with the new wiring. I figured I could pigtail from the always-live line, connect the neutral to the main neutral bundle in the box, and connect the ground to the main ground bundle in the box. Is this correct?

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Last edited by PJmax; 01-12-19 at 02:07 PM. Reason: downsized pic
  #7  
Old 01-12-19, 02:05 PM
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Yes.... your latest diagram will work. What we as electricians try to do is to refrain from using any push-in connections on devices as they are potential future problem. Having one light on a switch is passable but when you are carrying a circuit thru a push-in connection to a screw terminal.... is a recipe for future problems.

I've been resizing your pics/diagrams as they are massive. The board only allows a member 10 megs of storage and you've used that up with your diagrams at over 2 megs each. The board will take and store a picture of almost any size but only show a 650x650 pic..... so I resized your pics to that size allowing you to have most of your pic storage still available.
 
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Old 01-12-19, 03:23 PM
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Ah, thanks for letting me know about the pics. I wanted to provide good detail but I certainly don't want to use up all my space. I'll make them smaller for future threads.

And thanks for the advice about the push-in connections. That was done by an electrician (ironically) but I'll be happy to move them over to the screw terminals. I assume that I should remove the top push-in connection and screw it into the top gold screw of the rocker switch, while removing the bottom push-in connection and screwing it to the bottom gold screw of the rocker switch?
 
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