combination switch & receptacle

Old 06-23-02, 11:37 AM
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Question combination switch & receptacle

I have purchased a combination device for my bathroom.
I am replacing the wall switch with a combination switch & receptacle device but have not had any success. (It would help if it came with instructions!)
There are two "vague" wiring diagrams on the box, 1 for "common feed" which I would prefer, the switch controls the light and the outlet is always on, and 2nd is a "seperate feed" where the switch and outlet are on seperate circuts.
I have two wires to work with.
Can someone pleeeeeeease help me figure this out!!

Old 06-23-02, 12:54 PM
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You may not be able to use the combo switch/outlet depending on what your current wiring is. Please describe exactly what you see inside the switch box: how many wires, what color they are, and how they are currently connected.

Even if you can get the outlet to work, there is the issue of GFCI protection which is required for outlets in potentially wet areas (bathrooms). One of the NEC experts here can advise you on that.
Old 06-23-02, 01:24 PM
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Tough Situation

If there are truly only 2 wires in the switch box you have what is called a switch leg. One wire is the always hot wire, legally the white one, and the other is also a hot wire (when the switch is on) legally the black one that feeds power back to the light.

In order to operate that plug you need another wire (white one) called a neutral or grounded conductor. You will more than likely have to do some fishing and/or wall and ceiling cutting and repair to get that wire in the switch box. Is it worth it?

The other problem is the GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) situation. More than likely the light circuit you are trying to use is not GFCI protected. That plug you want to install needs to be GFCI protected. If you still realllllly want that plug, the project now gets pretty involved, though not necessarily expensive if you do-it-yourself.

Let us know. Enjoy the Journey.

Old 06-23-02, 04:15 PM
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My recommendation is to put the original switch back in place. Then return the combo for a refund.

If you still want the receptacle, then pretend that the switch does not even exist. Find another source of power for your receptacle. The light fixture itself is a good source, but only if you fully understand the prior posts about how a switch loop works. If you don't understand how switch loops are wired, your light probably won't work right after you mess with it. You'll need to run new cable through the wall -- there's no avoiding that -- so you'll need to learn about fishing wire too. As already mentioned, don't forget to make this new receptacle GFCI.

I suggest you read a few good books on home wiring before proceeding. Make sure you find one that describes switch loops -- not all do.

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