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How do you wire a combination switch receptacle that is replacing a 3-way switch?

How do you wire a combination switch receptacle that is replacing a 3-way switch?

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  #1  
Old 12-23-05, 09:01 AM
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How do you wire a combination switch receptacle that is replacing a 3-way switch?

I am attempting to replace a 3-way light switch in a bathroom with a combination switch receptacle. There are 4 wires in the switch box... black, white, red and copper grounding wire. Which wires are connected to which screws? And do I need a jumper wire?

Derek
 
  #2  
Old 12-23-05, 01:02 PM
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If there is a white wire connected to the old switch, then the project is impossible. If there is no white wire connected to the old switch, then you have at best a 50/50 chance of success.

So, is (or was) there a white wire connected to the old switch?

In general, trying to add a receptacle to a switch is a very iffy proposition. It's only possible in certain situations.
 
  #3  
Old 12-23-05, 02:55 PM
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Three way switch and only three wire means you can't do it. You have a switch loop. YOu don't have a neutral wire even though you have a white wire.
 
  #4  
Old 12-23-05, 05:18 PM
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switch/receptacle combo kind of works

I do have a white wire in the box. I connected the black wire to the top left screw (as your looking at the front of the switch). I connected the red wire to the top right screw and the white wire to the bottom right screw. Both switches in the room turn the light on and off. However, the receptacle only works when the light is off. I don't understand why. Any thoughts? Can I just take the switch/receptacle out and just put in a GFCI receptacle since it is near the sink?
 
  #5  
Old 12-23-05, 05:45 PM
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If you want to eliminate the switch entirely, and control the light with only the other switch, you may be able to put a receptacle here instead of the switch (depending on how the rest of the setup is wired). However, this would almost certainly violate several electrical codes (depending on which country you live in).

Is this a bathroom with two doors, with a switch by each door? Does the switch we're talking about control the bathroom light? Is there another existing receptacle in this bathroom (other than the one you're trying to put in this box)? Please identify everything on this circuit (i.e., what goes dead when you turn off the breaker).
 
  #6  
Old 12-23-05, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by dgaylard
I do have a white wire in the box. I connected the black wire to the top left screw (as your looking at the front of the switch). I connected the red wire to the top right screw and the white wire to the bottom right screw. Both switches in the room turn the light on and off. However, the receptacle only works when the light is off. I don't understand why. Any thoughts? Can I just take the switch/receptacle out and just put in a GFCI receptacle since it is near the sink?
I'll say it again. If you only have three wires+ground then YOU CAN NOT DO IT. You do not have a neutral wire in the box.
 
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Old 12-23-05, 05:50 PM
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By the way, "I do have a white wire in the box" is not the information that either I or Joe asked for. I asked if there was a white wire connected to the switch, and Joe asked if there was only one white wire in the box. I'm guessing that the answer would be "yes" to both questions, but it would be nice to hear you confirm it.
 
  #8  
Old 12-23-05, 06:24 PM
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I'm sorry, I didn't read your question correctly. Yes there was one white wire in the box and I don't believe that it was connected to the switch, although I'm not exactly sure. I checked the other switch and it has one, white, one red and one black that are all connected. There are no other outlets in the bathroom. There are two doors in the bathroom with switches by each door. It's a jack and jill bathroom between my kids rooms. Should I just put another switch in and forget about having a receptacle?

Thanks for your help.
Derek
 
  #9  
Old 12-23-05, 06:37 PM
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If there is just one white wire in the box, it almost certainly was connected to the old switch. Put the old switch back in (although it sounds like you're not quite sure how it was formerly connected, so that might be a problem).

You can still put a receptacle in this bathroom, just not at the location of this switch. Based on what you've told us about the two switches, it seems the power comes in at the light fixture. You can add a receptacle by running a new cable from the light fixture box to where you want the receptacle. Should be pretty easy.
 
  #10  
Old 12-24-05, 02:01 PM
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I'll put it back the way it was. Is there any danger the way it is wired right now? I have to pick up another 3-way switch since I threw the original one out.

Thanks for your help.

Derek
 
  #11  
Old 12-25-05, 08:24 AM
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Yes. Anything you plug into the receptacle will be in series with light. It will not get full voltage and could be damaged.
 
 

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