Switch Controlled Outlet


Old 06-07-01, 09:55 AM
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I have been replacing the beige switches and outlets in my home in favor of new, bright white units.
I have replaced all in the living room with no problems but am faced with a troublesome outlet.
1/2 is connected to a light switch and when I exactly duplicate the wiring configuration, strange things happen.

The block has six wires total: 3 white, 3 black. I connected them as was done on the old switch and broke the brass tab connecting the two brass connectors (not the silver finish used for white wires). Yet, when I turn the power back on, the breaker in the bathroom trips and some of the power in the upstairs master is dead.

Please, if you have any advice, let me know what you'd recommend.

Thank you.
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Old 06-07-01, 12:00 PM
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Need more information.

What is this fixture you're wiring?

Is it a duplex receptacle, a regular switch, a duplex switch, or a switch/receptacle combo (switch on top and receptacle on the bottom)?

Then tell us exactly how you connected these six wires. Then tell us whether the breaker always blows, or only when you turn the switch on.

It sounds like you did everything right. You avoided all the obvious pitfalls. So we need to look at something more subtle. How certain are you that you duplicated the wiring? Is the new fixture exactly the same as the old fixture except for color? Did you break out exactly the same tabs as were broken out on the old fixture?

Tell us as much as you can. It will increase our chances of spotting a possible mistake.
Old 06-07-01, 01:15 PM
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More Info

Sorry, I had hoped what I included was detailed enough.

It is a duplex recepticle that I plug a standing lamp into.

The single light switch is on the same wall as the single outlet, however they are 6-8' apart.

I am placing two of the three white wires in the top and the other on the bottom.
Same for black on the opposite side.

The breaker blows right away.

When I put the old/beige recepticle back in, all is fine (which I assume eliminates the wiring and points to the recepticle being the problem).

I have tried two recepticles both cut exactly as the beige unit.

I hope this is enough info.
Old 06-07-01, 01:24 PM
Gary Tait
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Was just the one outlet controlled? If so, it looks like one
on the pairs goes to the switch, and is shorting out the
way you have it.

Look a recent thread called Ceiling Fan, a person had a similar problem, and the solution is given there
Old 06-07-01, 06:45 PM
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Once again: Tell us whether the breaker always blows, or only when you turn the switch on. Turn the switch off before you turn the breaker on -- does it still trip?

If the new receptacle and the old are identical except for color, and if the breakout tabs have been removed exactly the same on both sides of the receptacle, and if the wires are attached the same, there is no reason why the old one should work and the new one should not -- unless the new receptacle is defective. If you're absolutely certain that all the "ifs" I have quoted are true, then buy a new receptacle and try that.

When you say that you attach two wires to the top and one to the bottom, make sure that they are the same two wires on the top on each receptacle.

You have a very frustrating problem. From what you say, it should work. I can't help thinking that something is different that you are overlooking.

One more important question: look at the switch. Does it have two black wires connected to the two screws, or does it have one black wire and one white wire?

[Edited by John Nelson on 06-07-01 at 10:38]

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