I have a switched duplex outlet where I would like to have one outlet
remained switched and the other remain "live" at all times.
If we can get over the age old comment of "if you have to ask, then you
shouldn't do it", then how do I do it?
really your best bet is to get a book on basic wiring. there are
strips on the side of the outlet that you break to split it, but you
need to understand how the switch is wired to do it. well within the
abilities of a handy homeowner.
If you have to ask... then you should get a book on residential electrical
wiring (either at the library or a local home center) and learn how. It's not
rocket science, really, but since we can't see from here how the existing
outlet is wired it's kinda tough to tell you what you need to do. There are
two possibilities: either power comes to the outlet first and then to the
switch and back, or it comes to the switch first and then on the outlet. If
it's the former, you just need to change a few connections around at the
outlet; if the latter (far more likely) you will need to run a second cable to
the outlet to supply power to the half that you want live all the time. Either
way you need to break the tab connecting the two halves of the receptacle (but
only on the hot side).
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Well that's what a simplified wiring booklet which I got from Sears in 1977
for FIFTY CENTS showed so since I'm having an electrician doing some other
upgrades and new can lights I think I'll let him handle it. Just was hoping
there was a way to do it without fishing a cable.
In all likelihood you can't.
How many wires go to the outlet? If three wires go to it (as is likely if
there is an unswitched outlet after it) you can break the tab and attach the
unswitched hot to it. If only two, then you are out of luck. Well, out of
luck without running a new cable, and you don't want to do that.
Someone else said you could do it if the switch came after the outlet. He
is right about that, but that would be real rare (someone would have added
it later...), so don't count on it.
To do it, you need a hot that is not switched in the outlet box. As
others have said, if it's not already wired that way, then it's not
likely there will be a hot there. So, to do what you want, you would
need to run a line from either the existing wall switch box or some
other place that you can obtain a live connection on the same breaker.
If you have that, then the outlet gets split by breaking the tab
between top and bottom. Switched hot goes to top, other hot to bottom
You've gotten the requisite admonitions to LEARN electrical wiring (good
advice, BTW), so I'll dispense with THAT...
I owned a spec home wired as you describe: A wall switch controlled BOTH
outlets of each duplex receptacle in the living room. (I guess I got what I
This was a MAJOR PITA for my sound system and for avoiding the annoying,
blinking "12:00" on the VCR.
My solution was to REMOVE the switch and simply connect the wires together,
thereby converting all the outlets to ALWAYS on.
This certainly isn't as classy as what you'd like to do, but it was FAR easier
than the "fix", assuming the outlets are NOT fed with 14/3 (i.e.), and the
supply is somewhere OTHER than the outlet in question.
In that case, to do what you want, you'll have to run an always-on feed to the
outlet(s), remove the tab (splitting the receptacles), wire one behind the
switch (leave it alone) and the other to your new feed.
I recommend removing the switch. Mine was in the center of a 3-gang box. The
local supply house provided me with a nice, 3-gang coverplate with the center
position blank/smooth. Good luck!
It is only possible if power comes into the plug before going to the switch.
If power goes to the switch then plug, your are out of luck. Always
remember black leads are hot and connect to brass screws (black to brass).
Be sure to get a book on basic wiring if you have any doubts.
If you're lucky it is not a big deal. I had the same situation. Lucky is
when you can just install a new outlet directly below the switch. If it fits
your layout, you end up with a new unswitched outlet under the switch or
else make the new outlet the swicthed outlet and convert the old switched
outlet to always on.
In my case I did it like the first setup. Now the lamp is on the switch and
the TV and PC are always ready.
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