Converting switched outlet to overhead light

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  #1  
Old 05-26-06, 04:38 PM
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Converting switched outlet to overhead light

I currently have a wall switch that controls an outlet receptacle. Would like to convert the outlet to be on full-time, and instead convert the switch to power an overhead lamp. I have opened up the outlet, and see the following:

1) Two pronged outlet- red wire connected to the top left screw; white wire connected to the top right screw.
2) Two black wires coming out of the receptacle outlet box are connected to each other and taped off.
3) Wall switch has a red wire connected to the top right screw; black wire connected to the bottom right screw.

I understand that I need to separately run romex wire from the wall switch to a new overhead box for the ceiling light. But, to make the receptacle work independantly, can I just untape the two black wires and be done with it??
 

Last edited by candi75; 05-26-06 at 05:04 PM.
  #2  
Old 05-26-06, 05:07 PM
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Welcome to the forums. On your receptacle there are no white wires? Look on the side of the outlet and see if the little brass connector has been cut or broken off. You should have one red wire and one black wire on one side and one or two white wires on the other side under silver screws. Post back so we can go further with this.
 
  #3  
Old 05-26-06, 05:15 PM
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Sorry - I made a mistake in my original posting. This is what I see:

1) Two pronged outlet- red wire connected to the bottom left screw; white wire connected to the top right screw.
2) Two black wires coming out of the receptacle outlet box are connected to each other and taped off.

Wall switch has a red wire connected to the top right screw; black wire connected to the bottom right screw.
 
  #4  
Old 05-26-06, 06:03 PM
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If you remove the red wire for the receptacle, cap it and connect the black wires to the receptacle gold screws, that should make the receptacle unswitched.

At the switch remove the red wire from the switch and cap it. Your new cable to the ceiling light connect the black wire to the switch where you removed the red wire. Connect the white wire to the other white wires in the switch box.
I would run a 3 conductor cable and leave the red wire unused. This will give an option in the future to have a ceiling fan with fan and a light controlled separately.
 
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Old 05-30-06, 11:32 PM
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Thanks for the reply - the change for the receptacle worked great. At the receptacle we now have the black wires pigtailed and connected to the bottom left gold screw, and the white connected to the top right silver screw. But for some reason the switch connection isn't working. We ran new 2 conductor wires to our over head lights. The new connection we made at the switch is the following:

1) Connected our new black wire to the top right screw on the switch
2) Left our old black wire connected to the bottom right screw on the switch
2)Connected our new white wire to the existing white wire; capped them off.
3)Capped off the red wire.

For some reason, the switch isn't working for our lights. What am I doing wrong??

We connected new recessed lights - the way they are connected is that we ran a new wire to our switch (hence the connection above) This new wire runs to the first can. Then a new wire runs from the first to the second; so on to the fourth can. Does this fourth can then have to be reconnected to the switch?? We currently have it ended at the fourth can.

Please, any help is appreciated!
Thanks!
 

Last edited by candi75; 05-31-06 at 01:54 AM.
  #6  
Old 05-31-06, 08:24 AM
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Are the lights not turing on or not turning off?
 
  #7  
Old 05-31-06, 08:27 AM
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The lights are not turning on
 
  #8  
Old 05-31-06, 08:29 AM
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It sounds like the switch may have been powered by the red wire you removed.
Tell us again all the wires in the switch box and the formerly switched receptacle box.
How does the receptacle operate? Is it now fully powered and unswitched.
 
  #9  
Old 05-31-06, 08:41 AM
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Previously switched outlet: (both top and bottom of outlet turned on/off with wall switch - no overhead light)
1) Red wire connected to the bottom left screw; white wire connected to the top right screw.
2) Two black wires coming out of the receptacle outlet box are connected to each other and taped off.

Prevous connection for Wall switch:

1) Red wire connected to the top right screw
2) black wire connected to the bottom right screw
3) White wire was not connected anywhere - was actually cut off and left in the back of the switch box.

Changes made:

Outlet:
1) Removed red wire from bottom left screw - capped it off
2) Pigtailed two black wires that were previously coming out of receptacle outlet box and connected it to the bottom left gold screw
3) conected the white to the top right silver screw.

Wall switch:
1) Connected our new black wire to the top right screw on the switch
2) Left our old black wire connected to the bottom right screw on the switch
2) Connected our new white wire to the existing white wire; capped them off.
3) Capped off the red wire.

The wall outlet receptacle now works full time without the switch (both top and bottom). The light switch does not work at all to turn on the new recessed lights.
 
  #10  
Old 05-31-06, 11:56 AM
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Problem is in the receptacle. Look for second white wire and connect it to the other silver screw.
The black will be fine as they are with the pigtail, but you could have just connected both of them to the two gold screws.
 
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Old 05-31-06, 04:59 PM
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We didn't even notice that there was another white wire in the back of the receptacle box - it had been cut off. We connected it, and it worked. Thanks!

We've now moved on to the second bedroom, and we have a slightly different setup:

Switched outlet: (both top and bottom of outlet turned on/off with wall switch - no overhead light)
1) Red wire connected to the bottom gold screw
2) Two white wires pigtailed; connected to the top silver screw.
3) Two black wires coming out of the receptacle outlet box are connected to each other and taped off.

Connection for Wall switch:

1) Red wire connected to the top right screw
2) Two black wires pigtailed; connected to the bottom right screw
3) Two white wires connected to each other and taped off.

Can you please give advice on how to convert switched outlet to be powered full time and how to connect wall switch to add new overhead recessed lights (2 conductor wire)??
 

Last edited by candi75; 05-31-06 at 05:09 PM.
  #12  
Old 05-31-06, 06:19 PM
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Exactly the same setup as last time except for the extra cable in the switch box.

Disconnect the red from the switch and receptacle.
Connect blacks to receptacle. This time the white are aready connected.
Disconnect red from switch connect light black.
Connect new white to other two whites in box.

The extra cable in the switch box is power to another part of the circuit.
 
  #13  
Old 06-01-06, 01:25 AM
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Everything worked great! Thanks for all your help!
 
  #14  
Old 06-06-06, 08:48 AM
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Please help with similar problem

I have a similar setup to what he started with but I am completely new to electrical work. Thank you in advance for your consideration to help a new member.

I have a switch that controls an outlet on the opposite side of the room and no overhead fixture. I want to install an overhead fixture and would prefer a real overhead fixture instead of having to run wire up the outside of the wall from the outlet. I have installed a single pole dimmer switch in place of the basic switch and it works properly when a lamp is plugged into the outlet. However it would not work well with one of the newfangled halogen bulbs but only with the old type bulbs. I am in a first floor apartment with no access to an attic or anything like that. My questions are:

1: Does the wire from the switched outlet run across the ceiling? If so how can i find and tap it? (I would prefer to keep the functionality of the outlet and add the overhead to the switch as well.)

2: Assuming I can't find the wire, how do you run wire from an outlet to the ceiling, meaning how do you get around the part where the wall runs into the ceiling.

3: What type of dimmer has to be used with the newer brighter halogens? I saw something about 130.. something or other. Where can I find these things?

4: The switch is by the door and my bed is on the opposite side of the room. Is there some type of cheap infrared controller I can install that is a simple on off button? Or perhaps is there a way I can put another basic switch above the outlet (outlet is right beside my bed) that would override the door control? I would really rather not punch a hole as it is a rented property but I would do that before I would pay an arm and a leg for wireless.
 
  #15  
Old 06-06-06, 07:18 PM
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It can be done.

If you want to find where hidden wires are traveling (when they are energized), you can buy a non-contact wire tracer instrument (size of a flattened out magic marker). One brand is called "LiveWire". (I think they are less than $15 at home centers) I have one in my pocket right now as I post this! When you are not using it, you can give demos to the kids for fun.

I wouldn't bet on the wire tracking across the ceiling though. And you could be misled if you found one up there... that it could be an upstairs tenants wire!

Since you know that you have one controlled outlet by switch, one would have to asume that is the end of the line. You could tap at that outlet. Make holes at the top of the wall and the ceiling right adjacent to it at the top plate area, directly above that switchable outlet. You could notch out a chunk of the top plate and run the wire up into the ceiling cavity. Then nail one of those metal plates (sold in the home center's electrical dept.) over the wire when you finally get it run in the recessed notch. If the ceiling joists cross your run of wire (every 16 inches), you will have to similarly notch the bottom of each joist and similarly nail a metal plate over the recessed wire when you run it. If you are lucky, the joists go in the direction of your run. Then, regardless, center the the light in the room. If no stud along the edge of center, then use a remodeler box that has those ears on it that turn and lock onto the sheetrock. Buy the round remodeling ceiling box that have the 3 ears. If you prefer to locate along a joist, even if just off center, you can run screws through those plastic boxes. (You don't need the remodeler type for this. Use the regular one instead). [But bear in mind that either of these two box mount methods will not hold a ceiling fan!]
 
 

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