converting light switch to switch/outlet combo

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  #1  
Old 02-11-06, 01:10 AM
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converting light switch to switch/outlet combo

I have a light switch at the back door of my garage. It controls a light outside the door. My question is can I convert this to a light switch/ outlet combo, without a whole lot of work.
 
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Old 02-11-06, 12:05 PM
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If it is a through switch, where power goes in, is switched, then goes off to the light, you can.

If it is a switch loop, you cannot.
 
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Old 02-11-06, 12:14 PM
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Sorry to be such a beginner, but how would i be able to tell if it is through or loop. Can i tell from the wiring behind the switch?
 
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Old 02-11-06, 05:42 PM
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If there is only one cable in the switch box and the black and white wire are connected to the switch you have a switch loop. It can't be done.

If you have two or more cables in the switch box and the whites are connected together and not connected to the switch it can be done.
 
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Old 02-12-06, 12:57 AM
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How many wires do I need to connect to the new switch outlet combo.

I just looked at the abck of the currecnt switch and there are 2 wires capped in the back of the box and the 2 wires to the current switch. THerefore, I should be able to do it, correct?
 
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Old 02-12-06, 08:16 AM
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If the two capped wires are white then yes you can do it.
 
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Old 02-12-06, 07:21 PM
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I connected the 2 black wires to one side of the switch, 2 white wires to the other side of the switch and it works however the light outside my door has no power. Any suggestions. Also, I hooked the ground up to the new switch, it was just shoved to the back of the box.
 
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Old 02-13-06, 07:58 AM
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The combo device has three places for screws.
The silver screw gets the white. Only one wire per screw so you will need a pigtail to the other whites.
The double brass screws get the power in black wire.
The single brass screw on the same side as the silver screw is the switched power out.
If you want the receptacle to be switched just swap the two black wires onto opposite screws.

There is of course a green screw for the ground as well. I just tend to leave that out of most descriptions.
 
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Old 02-13-06, 02:48 PM
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When i put the one white on the silver screw, what do you mean by pigtail the other white wire. Actually there are 2 silver screws on the same side. Am i only suppose to hook one white wire up?

Sorry, i;m just a bit frustrated right now!
 
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Old 02-13-06, 03:36 PM
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Take a closer look at your combo device. On one side, you will see two screws that are connected by a metal tab. On the other side, you will see two screws that are not connected by a metal tab.

You need to connect the unswitched black wire (you'll need to figure out which black wire is which with a tester) to either of the screws on the tab side. Connect the switched black wire (the other one) to the switch-half screw on the non-tab side.

Now you're left with two white wires. You need a third white wire, a few inches in length. This wire is called a "pigtail". Connect one end of the pigtail to the receptacle-half screw on the non-tab side. Connect the other end of the pigtail to the two white wires with a wire nut.

All of this only applies if and only if you have exactly two black wires and two white wires and zero red wires in the box.
 
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Old 02-13-06, 05:01 PM
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yes that is what i have, and that makes a little more sense

thank you.
 
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Old 02-14-06, 01:01 AM
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It works thanks for all the help guys
 
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Old 02-14-06, 08:14 AM
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Hi John - Quick question. Should the outlet be a GFI? Does anyone make a switch/GFI combo?
 
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Old 02-14-06, 09:33 AM
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If the poster is in the United States, and if the receptacle is in a garage, then it must be GFCI protected. It might get its protection from an upstream GFCI receptacle, or an upstream breaker. If neither, then yes, several manufacturers do make GFCI/switch combos.

I'm glad you raised this point. I'd hate to see lbphathead19 or any member of his family get hurt, and I'd hate to see him create a serious code violation.
 
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Old 02-14-06, 02:46 PM
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Yes I am in the US and it is in a garage. How ever, the plug right next to it is a GFI. How would I tell if the GFi was up or down steam?
 
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Old 02-14-06, 03:07 PM
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Push the test button on the GFCI. If the other receptacle goes dead it is downstream and protected by the GFCI.
 
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Old 02-15-06, 12:11 AM
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Does the GCFI install the same as the regular plug/switch combo. I picked one up at Lowes's it has a ground, 2 silver screws and 2 gold/brass screws. Also there are 2 eight inch black wires coming from the back of the unit.
 
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Old 02-16-06, 07:58 PM
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It should install similarily. The ones I've seen had screws for the recepticle, and pigtails for the switch.
 
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Old 02-17-06, 09:18 AM
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The principles are the same, but the connections are different. Since there is no tab, you have to make the same effective connection yourself.

So you need to connect the unswitched black wire to one of the two switch wires, and to a pigtail to the line-side hot screw on the GFCI. The pigtail essentially creates the same connection that the tab created on the earlier combo device you originally put in.

The switched black wire connects to the other wire on the device.

The white pigtail (connected to the two white wires), then connects to the line-side white connection on the GFCI part of device. You won't need to use the load-side connections.
 
 

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