Converting from switch controlled receptacle to recessed lights


  #1  
Old 01-02-18, 12:06 PM
Z
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Maryland
Posts: 37
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Converting from switch controlled receptacle to recessed lights

I, like so many, have a room with a receptacle where the bottom half is switched from the wall. There are no ceiling lights and I wanted to add recessed cans.

The existing receptacle has a hot and neutral connected to the bottom half of half of the outlet and a hot and two neutrals connected to the top. There are also a number of other hots and 1 white connected together, that I kept the same. I thought that I could copy the top half of the outlet (2 neutral and 1 hot) and then connect a new run of wire to what was previously switched at the outlet and run up to the ceiling to switch the cans instead of the outlet. After I did this, however, the outlet works constantly but when I hooked an outlet up to the wiring that goes to the ceiling (to test it), I got no power.

I used a socket tester and got a LIVE EARTH REVERSE fault with the switch on and a red light (far right of 3 lights -- no indication what this means on the tester) with the switch off.

What am I doing wrong? I have added a picture. The two yellow wire nuts are the hot and neutral that previously were connected to the switched outlet (bottom of outlet), which are now connected to a wire feeding up to the ceiling. If you need additional info, just let me know.

Thanks in advance. It is a lot easier to run from the receptacle than running from the switch (I have no attic access) so I'd prefer to run that way if possible.
 
Attached Images  

Last edited by ZMonet; 01-02-18 at 01:10 PM. Reason: Add Pic
  #2  
Old 01-03-18, 04:45 AM
Z
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Maryland
Posts: 37
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Light Switch

Name:  light switch.jpg
Views: 4657
Size:  89.6 KBHere is a pic of the light switch. I think this setup means that the switch is powered from the line coming from the outlet? ANy thoughts on how I can get the switch to work? Should the switch have worked if I just moved the wires from the bottom part of the outlet to the new line? Thanks! I'm at a bit of a loss.
 
  #3  
Old 01-03-18, 08:08 AM
M
Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,914
Received 27 Upvotes on 21 Posts
My thought would be to run a 14/2 cable from your recessed lights down to the outlet to get a neutral, then splice the black wire from that cable to the black wire leading to the switch, then splice the white wire from the switch to the black/hot wire inside the receptacle box. Wrap a piece of black tape around the white wire on both ends to denote it is a feed. Not sure if it makes a difference if the white wire leading to the switch is hot and black is switch leg, or vice versa. Someone with more experience will chime in shortly I'm sure.

You'll want to either wrap a short piece of wire between the two silver screws and the two gold screws to restore power to the bottom half of the receptacle, or just replace the receptacle.

Hopefully that is old 14/2 wire with the thick insulation and not 12/2 connected to the receptacle?
 
Attached Images  

Last edited by mossman; 01-03-18 at 08:51 AM.
  #4  
Old 01-03-18, 08:58 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 65,429
Received 4,050 Upvotes on 3,633 Posts
The switch is showing a switch loop. That means the white wire is live power to the switch and black is the returning switched power.

If that's all one circuit there.... all the whites should be connected together except for the switch loop white.
Can you take another picture and try to spread the wires out a little more.
 
  #5  
Old 01-03-18, 09:55 AM
Z
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Maryland
Posts: 37
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Thanks Pete and Mossman for some feedback. I'm really at a loss. I've taken another picture below. Any help you can give in getting the wiring correct, or in what I need to troubleshoot would be greatly appreciated. I rather not cut any more holes in the wall and ceiling, but if I need to run from the switch to the recessed lights I'll obviously do that if that is the only way I'll get this to work.

Name:  WIres.jpg
Views: 4055
Size:  82.6 KB
 

Last edited by PJmax; 01-03-18 at 10:06 AM. Reason: enhanced/labeled picture
  #6  
Old 01-03-18, 10:09 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 65,429
Received 4,050 Upvotes on 3,633 Posts
That box is very busy.

I labeled your picture. The red circled cable is the switch loop and is wired correctly. Don't change that wiring.

You need to remove the two white wires from the receptacle, join them with the other two white wires and then add a small white tail to go to receptacle. So your white neutral connection will be five white wires.
 
  #7  
Old 01-03-18, 10:12 AM
M
Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,914
Received 27 Upvotes on 21 Posts
As Pete mentioned and my diagram shows, you need to connect all of the neutrals together, with the exception of the one white wire (not technically a neutral in this case) that is already spliced with the blacks. Looks to me that all you need to do is take the two wires in the yellow wire nut and twist them with the two white wires going to the receptacle, then make a pigtail to provide the receptacle with a neutral and you should be done.

Was replying at the same time...Pete got to it first
 
  #8  
Old 01-03-18, 10:57 AM
Z
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Maryland
Posts: 37
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Thank you both so much! That worked perfectly! Amazing how far a little knowledge will go. Thanks again. Much, much appreciated.
 
  #9  
Old 01-03-18, 11:06 AM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 13,988
Received 201 Upvotes on 176 Posts
It was also possible to go from the switch box to the lights with one simple change. Would have also kept the box fill down at the receptacle.
 
  #10  
Old 01-03-18, 03:53 PM
Z
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Maryland
Posts: 37
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Should I mark the white wire in the switch box to identify it is connected to the hot wires? Thanks again.
 
  #11  
Old 01-03-18, 04:30 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 13,988
Received 201 Upvotes on 176 Posts
If the white is still feeding the switch it should be marked as a hot.
 
  #12  
Old 01-13-18, 03:48 PM
Z
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Maryland
Posts: 37
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Glutton for punishment

So I've moved on to another room to put recessed lights in and to run them from the switch that controlled the outlet. Thanks to your guys' help, I thought I had it all figured out, but I made several attempts and I couldn't get it to work. I could get the outlet to switch, but the recessed lights just ran constantly with no control from the switch. I've put everything back to the way I found it, which is what the pictures show. FYI -- In the last picture, I've colored the white wire red. The bottom half of the outlet is switched. Is this a switch loop too? \ I'd really appreciate any help with how to wire this. Thanks!
 
Attached Images     
  #13  
Old 01-13-18, 03:59 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 65,429
Received 4,050 Upvotes on 3,633 Posts
In the second picture..... the white wire on the black side is TO the switch.
It's associated black is FROM the switch. Does that help ?

Name:  outlet2a.jpg
Views: 3638
Size:  25.2 KB
 
  #14  
Old 01-14-18, 07:29 AM
Z
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Maryland
Posts: 37
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Pete-- Thanks for the quick response and for taking the time to edit my photo. I wish I could say I got it but I seemed to have screwed this up more and am now confused on what is what. I've tried a number of variations. Nothing was working right and now I've removed the feed up to the ceiling to try and simplify this.

I've put in a new outlet without the broken terminal. I've attached all of the hot wires and what I think is the hot white wire (unfortunately my markings wore off the wire, complicating this more). The one lone neutral I've connected to the other terminal on the outlet. The light plugged into the outlet goes on, but is not controlled the switch -- just a constant on. I'm now confused on how I hook up the feed to the ceiling so that it will be controlled by the switch. I'm very frustrated and can obviously use some help. I've attached pictures of the current set-up. Thanks in advance!

FYI -- I've confirmed that the neutral/hot on the right side is the power source. I'm assuming the left side is then the switch loop?
 
Attached Images    

Last edited by ZMonet; 01-14-18 at 09:29 AM.
  #15  
Old 01-14-18, 09:47 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 65,429
Received 4,050 Upvotes on 3,633 Posts
The bottom right cable is the feed in. Since you need neutral to your new light..... the neutrals need to be connected. The left lower cable is the switch loop. You are correctly sending hot out on white to the switch but then you have the returning black connected to the same place. The returning hot (black) from the switch needs to go to the new light.

Name:  IMG_20180114_102030094.jpg
Views: 3677
Size:  43.8 KB
 
  #16  
Old 01-14-18, 03:04 PM
Z
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Maryland
Posts: 37
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Thanks so much, Pete! That did the job. It turns out that I had overtightened a cable connector for one of the recessed cans and it had pierced the wire. The breaker was tripping but I didn't realize it -- I just thought it was my lack of wiring skills. Regardless, everything is running perfectly now and I've learned a lesson to use hand tools on wiring. Thanks again!
 
  #17  
Old 01-14-18, 03:39 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 65,429
Received 4,050 Upvotes on 3,633 Posts
Good job.... once again.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: