Wire new light to three way switched outlets

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  #1  
Old 04-12-17, 11:40 AM
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Wire new light to three way switched outlets

I have searched high and low but can only find posts about adding light fixtures to single switches like you'd find in a bedroom. I have a Dining Room with 2 light switches controlling the bottom half of all of the outlets in the room. I ran a wire to my second switch and need to figure out how to wire this in and what to change at the outlets. Ideally I would make the outlets all hot and only have the fixture on the switches.

I've attached a picture and I can only wire the fixture to Switch #2 in the diagram. I also drew the way the outlets are wired in case you need to see.Name:  LightSwitches.jpg
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Thanks for any help
 
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  #2  
Old 04-12-17, 12:29 PM
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Where does power come in? (You can not determine that with a non contact tester.) Is it at the receptacle or one of the switches? Is that a capped off not used black wire on the left side of switch one.
 
  #3  
Old 04-12-17, 01:11 PM
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I'm not sure yet where the power comes in. Is there a straight forward way to find out? I have a digital volt meter but that's all I typically use.

The black wire is by itself and capped off in the picture of switch 1.
 
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Old 04-12-17, 04:01 PM
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Power in will typically be a 2-conductor cable. You show two 2-conductor cables in switch box #2 does either of those read ~120v between black and white when disconnected and measured with a multimeter?
 
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Old 04-13-17, 05:56 AM
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Thanks for your follow up, disconnecting really shed some light on what's going on in there. One of the 2-wire wires has constant power when disconnected and one wire has now power (I'm guessing that continues on to the closet switch in the same bay but on the other side of the wall). The other one is attached to the switch with the red wire and read no power from any wires.

I have 5 switches that are all switched on the bottom outlet and they all have the tab broken on the right side and intact on the left. They all are wired the same and have a red wire connected as shown in the diagram.

Knowing what I know now I could just replace an outlet with a tabbed one, cap of the reds and run the new wire off of the switch BUT my main issue is somehow getting that other switch to be able to control the light fixture as well.

Any thoughts? Thank you
 
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Old 04-13-17, 10:30 AM
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One of the 2-wire wires has constant power when disconnected
That is a cable not a wire. (A wire is a single conductor. A cable is two or more wires in a metallic or non metallic sheath.) Correct terminology helps us understand you. Which box is that cable in?
one wire has now power
Did you really mean cable. We are interested in cables not wires.
I have 5 switches that are all switched on the bottom outlet and they all have the tab broken on the right side and intact on the left.
Did you mean receptacles? A receptacle is where you plug something in.
BUT my main issue is somehow getting that other switch to be able to control the light fixture as well.
To do that you need to tell us where the power in cable is. Is it in one of the receptacle boxes or one of the switch boxes. It is probably:
One of the 2-wire wires has constant power when disconnected
 
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Old 04-13-17, 01:36 PM
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Thanks for the clarification. All of that makes sense. I think it'll be easier if I just rephrase post #5

One of the 2-wire cables ran to switch #2 in the diagram has constant power when disconnected and one cable has no power (I'm guessing that continues on to the closet light switch in the same bay but on the other side of the wall). The other cable is attached to the switch with the red wire and reads no power from any combination of wires.

I have 5 receptacles that are all switched on the bottom outlet and they all have the tab broken on the right side and intact on the left. They all are wired the same and have a red wire connected as shown in the diagram.

Any thoughts on how to wire in the light fixture and be able to use both switches would be great. Ideally they would only control the light fixture and I would have constant power to all of the outlets afterward.

Thanks
 
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Old 04-13-17, 07:47 PM
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I'm going to ask a mod who is a pro to look. It just isn't making sense to me.
 
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Old 04-13-17, 08:18 PM
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I see we have a quandary here. A black wire floating at switch 1. We're missing something here.

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At switch 1 is an unconnected black wire. At the other end of that same cable.... the black is connected to the always live terminal of the receptacle. Where does the always live come from ?

With the wiring open/disconnected at switch 2..... are the always live receptacles live ?
 

Last edited by PJmax; 04-13-17 at 08:39 PM.
  #10  
Old 04-14-17, 05:44 AM
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At switch 1 is an unconnected black wire. At the other end of that same cable.... the black is connected to the always live terminal of the receptacle. Where does the always live come from ?
I double checked and that black wire is just sitting by itself, capped off. I did try a volt meter and it measures 120V when probed with the pair of white wires.

I don't know where that cable goes yet. Any suggestions to find out? It leaves the box in an upward direction but I don't see what would logically be next.

With the wiring open/disconnected at switch 2..... are the always live receptacles live ?
The receptacles went dead and had no power when everything was disconnected at switch 2.
 
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Old 04-14-17, 06:00 AM
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Reconnect as it was and test the receptacles with the red disconnected from the common of switch #1. Also check that red to the whites. I'll admit I'm sure of the value of this test but I'm just curious. If you want just wait for Pete.

I think we can tell you how to connect the new light and maybe even make the receptacles always hot but it is the odd wiring that makes me hesitant to say.
 
  #12  
Old 04-14-17, 07:22 AM
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Reconnect as it was and test the receptacles with the red disconnected from the common of switch #1. Also check that red to the whites. I'll admit I'm notsure of the value of this test but I'm just curious. If you want just wait for Pete.
I disconnected the Red common wire (bottom left) from switch #1 and it tests no power.

The black wire connected to the switch (top right) shows 120v
The other red wire connected to the switch (top left) oddly indicated around 12 (twelve) volts?

With the Red common wire disconnected from the switch, the receptacles have constant power to the top outlets and the bottom outlets have zero power from the switch in any position.

Thanks again for staying with this.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 04-14-17 at 07:28 AM. Reason: Correct typo in my quote.
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Old 04-14-17, 07:31 AM
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connected to the switch (top left) oddly indicated around 12 (twelve) volts?
Bet your using a digital multimeter. An analog multimeter would probably be 0 but digitals can be influenced by induced voltage.
With the Red common wire disconnected from the switch, the receptacles have constant power to the top outlets and the bottom outlets have zero power from the switch in any position.
Okay so now we know how to get constant power to the receptacles. However if you want the light to be controlled by both switches we have more work to do. Do you want the light controlled by both switches?

Also are the tabs broken on both the silver and brass sides of the receptacles.
 
  #14  
Old 04-14-17, 07:40 AM
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Do you want the light controlled by both switches?
Yes. Switch #1 is in the highest foot traffic area but it was impossible to get cable to it through my very old semi exposed beams all over the room.

An analog multimeter would probably be 0 but digitals can be influenced by induced voltage.
Good to know about the induced voltage. Thanks

Also are the tabs broken on bot the silver and brass sides of the receptacles.
I have 5 receptacles that are all switched on the bottom outlet and they all have the tab broken on the right side and intact on the left.
 
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Old 04-14-17, 07:44 AM
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I was editing as you were posting. Also are the tabs broken on both the silver and brass sides of the receptacles.
 
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Old 04-14-17, 07:48 AM
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I noticed that and edited mine as well. See bottom of my previous post. I hope that helps.
 
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Old 04-14-17, 08:31 AM
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Receptacles don't have left and right side because they don't have a top or bottom. Do you mean brass side.
 
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Old 04-14-17, 09:17 AM
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Here is a diagram. Try it for the light and report back if half of each receptacle is always hot. They should be at this point. Next step to follow when diagram has been confirmed to work.

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Old 04-14-17, 09:58 AM
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I hate to just jump in but in order to have the lights connected at switch 2 and working as a three way system..... you would need to turn switch 1 into a dead end three way switch.

That means you'd need to be able to disconnect the cable I marked as REC at switch 1 and the always live part of the receptacles still works.

Sorry.... yes.... just like you show Ray.
 
  #20  
Old 04-14-17, 10:28 AM
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Ok thank you. The diagram makes sense if I want both switches for my light fixture.

The side of the receptacles with the brass screws are all missing tabs btw.

I'll make the changes and report back. Thank you for all your time
 
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Old 04-14-17, 10:46 AM
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As I said this should leave half of each receptacle dead and the other half working but we need to confirm that before fixing the receptacles.
 
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Old 04-14-17, 11:45 AM
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Try it for the light and report back if half of each receptacle is always hot. They should be at this point. Next step to follow when diagram has been confirmed to work.
I rewired both switches as shown in the diagram. The bottom half of the receptacles are now unpowered in all switch positions and the top half are powered all of the time like they were before.

The 2-wire cable in the ceiling indicates 120V when I turn on one switch and alternates with the other switch as well. I don't have the light installed yet so I was using a digital multimeter which indicated around 38V when the switches were in the opposite position, I assume this was more induced voltage being read.

I hope this information helps. Thanks
 

Last edited by kyles609; 04-14-17 at 12:32 PM.
  #23  
Old 04-14-17, 12:20 PM
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So far so good. Yes...the 38v is an induced reading .
 
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Old 04-14-17, 04:08 PM
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There are multiple way to fully power the receptacles in all the boxes. Remover the red wire to each receptacle and cap. Test. If you still have power replace the receptacles with new receptacles and leave the brass tab in place (red not used). You could also use pigtails to power both sides of the existing receptacles instead of replacing.

Note if these are ungrounded receptacles and you choose to replace you must go back with new ungrounded receptacles (or GFCI protect the circuit). If they are ungrounded and you have trouble finding replacement receptacles pig tailing may be a better option.
 
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Old 04-15-17, 07:48 AM
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Thank you both for all your input and accurate information. All of the switches, receptacles and cables has proper grounding wires connected. This morning I capped off all of the red wires and tested all of the receptacles and they all had power, minus the bottom outlet of course. I put a pigtail wire on the side with the brass tab pulled and every outlet is now powered completely and the wire at the light fixture is powered on and off from both switches in the room.

This is best case scenario since the cable on switch #1 had to be isolated to make it a dead end switch, but It has power so whatever is on the other end of that must still be working. I have yet to figure out what it is though.

Thank you again, This saved me a lot of money I'm sure.
 
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Old 04-15-17, 09:33 AM
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Good job. You stuck with it.

I have yet to figure out what it is though.
You may never find it. As long as it's capped off there won't be any problems.
Many people do their own wiring without really understanding what they're doing.
 
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Old 04-15-17, 03:13 PM
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Bravo. Very good job. .
 
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