Additional wires in switch box?


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Old 04-17-21, 01:17 PM
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Additional wires in switch box?

Hello all!

Iím replacing one of my switches to a switch/outlet combo. I doing a common feed with continuous power to the outlet. I have identified my hot wire (black) but on the existing switch there is a second black wire on the same side.. is this running power back out to another location?

on the other side there is a red wire which I assume is the load wire to the light. This switch only operates one light so Iím not sure what the extra black wire is for.

also, the new light wants me to use the neutral wire.. I know that wire is there to provide continuous power to smart devices but so I need to use it for a basic switch/outlet? I donít really see a point of messing with it for this switch.

Red wire appears to be the load


Top black wire is the hot wire. Second black wire at the bottom is for?


New switch. From my understanding: I will run the hot wire to the ďcommonĒ black screw Run my red load gold screw, my neutral to the silver (do I need it?) but what about the additional black? Do I run it to the other black screw or cap it?
 

Last edited by PJmax; 04-17-21 at 04:30 PM. Reason: resized/enhanced/labeled pics
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Old 04-17-21, 01:31 PM
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Oh I think I figured it out.. this light is ran by a ballast.. I assume the second black wire is running power back to that ballast?
 
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Old 04-17-21, 02:56 PM
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Looks like a three way switch. Is there another switch that also controls the light?

You need a three way combo device.
 
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Old 04-17-21, 04:32 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Joed is correct. You have a three way switch. I labeled the two traveler wires and the common wire.
The common wire on your switch is black.
 
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Old 04-17-21, 06:42 PM
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You know what, Ive been here so long I totally forgot this closet has two switches in it. The other one is behind a shelf as I never use it and don't need it. I did install the switch and it works but the outlet does not (I assume this is cause I didn't install the neutral wire. so now I have these questions:

1. A 3way switch should have 3 poles? this one has 3 plus the neutral but I guess the top 2 poles are for the switch only. while the bottom 2 are for the outlet?

2. If I have no use for the other switch can I just cap the common wire?

3. everything Im seeing and reading suggests that the hot wire should power the outlet. I should not need the neutral wire correct? Its not working now but I think thats cause I put the hot wire on the pole listed as common, but the instructions for the switch saw to install the hot wire there.
 

Last edited by Tobias704; 04-17-21 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 04-17-21, 07:47 PM
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Two of the pole should be connected by a tab. That is the common hot for the switch and the receptacle. The neutral goes on the silver screw.
 
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Old 04-19-21, 06:52 PM
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Ok to the neutral is on now. I have the load on the gold, neutral on silver, I have my travel and common on the Black screws.

everything works but when I turn the light off the outlet goes off too. I want the outlet to be on at all times.

I assume I need to break the fin for this BUT are the black travel and common wires hot? I donít want to break to fin only to find out one of the wires is not actually hot
 
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Old 04-19-21, 07:55 PM
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First off..... you need to verify that the black common wire is always live.
With a three way system.... the line/hot is usually at one end and the load/lights are at the other end.

Your common may be the load side of the circuit. That means the receptacle will be switched.

If the common on that switch is the load..... you will need to break the tab off the combo. The common wire goes to the common on the switch side along with the two travelers. Then you keep the neutral on the silver screw and you will need to add a short tail of black wire and connect the receptacle to always live source in the box.
 
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Old 04-19-21, 08:43 PM
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Thanks pjmaxx! So I actually ran out and grabbed a voltage detector. Turns on this switch is the one with the hot wire and itís actually the red wire previously thought to be the load. So thatís why the outlet is turning off which I think it what your mentioning.

I have no need for a 3way (the one Iím using is a single) cause I donít use the other switch but I need it to get power to the light. So in my mind Iím thinking I keep the red wire on the load side and pigtail it as you said to the other end of the outlet and break the fin. Then leave one of the travelers on the other side, and cap the other one. Sound right? That should run power to the other switch, and long as itís on, run power to the light and keep the outlet on at all times.
 
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Old 04-19-21, 10:51 PM
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So this is what I have. I have not cut the power back on cause I donít want to blow up anything lol.

since this is the hot side of the 2 switches in the closet.. I split the red (hot) into the two whites (white us all is have but will swap them to black) I have one white on the load side and the other on the outlet black screw. I have neutral on silver screw. And one if the travelers on the other black. The fin was broken off so that the outlet will have continuous power.

since I donít need the 3way setup I cut the other traveler and sealed it with electrical tape.

did I cover everything?


 
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Old 04-20-21, 10:02 AM
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If you leave the unused switch in the same position then that red will remain hot.
With the exception of using white wire instead of black.... the wiring looks ok.
 
 

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