Wiring question

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My family room has 4 flood light cans in the ceiling controlled by a single pole switch. That same switch also controls an outlet on the same wall as the switch. I have no idea why the electricians did what they did when the house was built (it is the original wiring I think, I've been here 9 years and the house is 15 years old). When I pulled the switch, there was a red wire to one side, and a black to the other, with the whites tied together inside the box. At the outlet, the red is on one side of the receptacle, and the whites are on the other, with the blacks tied together inside the box. Is there any way to configure the wires so the outlet stays hot and the switch only works on the overhead lights? I'm no pro, but I can handle basic wiring (changing out receptacles, switches). Is there a simple fix, or should I get an electrician to look at it?
Thanks,
Les
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I bought an IR motion detection device. I want to use it to turn a lamp on in my attic.
The IR device has place for blue, brown and yellow/green wires. The lamp has place for blue and brown only.
I've cut the lamp power wire in half (it has blue and brown) and want to connect the IR box in there
W --------->Blue>------- IR Box --------->Blue>------- L A A L --------->Brown>------ Brown --------->Brown------- M L Blue P yellow/green
So how do I connect the wires?
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John wrote:

Those colors don't sound right to me. Are you in the US? What about the instructions with the IR device and the lamp?
--
Joseph Meehan

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On 05/01/05 12:23 pm Joseph Meehan tossed the following ingredients into the ever-growing pot of cybersoup:

That's the UK and Australian color scheme (maybe other countries use the same -- Black for Hot never did make any sense to me; neither did Red for Ground, as some European countries used a few decades back):
Green&Yellow is Ground Blue is Neutral Brown is "Live"/"Hot"
So my *guess* is that the IR Device's Brown would connect to the Brown from the wall and the IR Device's Blue would connect to the Brown going to the lamp, leaving the Green/Yellow "floating" but insulated. If the lamp fitting has no ground connection now, presumably it doesn't need one.
Perce
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Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

That was what I suspected. I just want to clear it up.

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Joseph Meehan

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Buy something thats made to do this. Several products are out there that are very similar that are made for closets. No way would I ever think of doing this with motion detection A simple switch near the access is more then enough.
Either way I still think its a bad idea what your trying to do.
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Brian A. Dye
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Some devices like that have a hot-in, a hot-out, and a neutral. The neutral is for the power they use. One device I hooked up said to connect that wire to the ground; presumably it was sufficiently low current as to not matter and running it to a real neutral was impractical.
However I haven't any idea what your wires represent. If you don't have the instructions, you should contact the manufacturer. (duh)
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This is european system. GREEN with YELLOW stripes Ground BLUE Neutral BROWN or BLACK Live
I solved it by taking part an allready wired similar system.
Blue and Brown go to the IR box. From the IR box blue goes to the lamp's blue and yellow/green (ground here) goes to lamp's brown.
The result is that when somebody walks past the detector the lamp turns on.
I've got another question:
I am placing a number of IR devices around the house. When any of the IR boxes detect movement all the lamps current connected to any of the IR boxes should turn on.
Which should I do:
W --------->Blue>------- IR Box 1 Blue -------->Blue>------- L Blue A A L --------->Brown>------ Brown ----- M Brown L | P yellow/green ------>Brown>----
W --------->Blue>------- IR Box 2 Blue -------->Blue>------- L Blue A A L --------->Brown>------ Brown ----- M Brown L | P yellow/green ------>Brown>----
Do I connect the brown wire at lamp end or do I connect the blues also?
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Les,
Let's see if I understand what you said. In the switch box, there are two cables: one cable enters with a black, white, ground and one exiting to the receptacle with a red, black, white and ground wire. In the outlet box, the red and white connects to the receptical. The black wire connects to a cable leaving the box which then goes to the lights. The white wire of the light cable connects to the second screw on the receptical. Right so far?
If the above is correct, then connect the power (black wire) coming into the switch box to 1) the red wire and 2) a black pigtail. Connect the black pigtail to a single pole switch. Connect the black wire going to the outlet box to the other terminal. Connect the two whites together.
Philip
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Les,
My answer above assumes that the power is coming into the switch first from a different cable then the one attached to the recepacle. In this case, you would have two cable coming into the switch box. Since you mention that there were more then one white in the switch box, I guessed you had the power starting at the swich box. If this is not the
case, then the above doesn't apply.
Philip
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Phillip,
In the switch box: blacks pigtailed to switch, red to switch, whites tied off together.
In the outlet box: Whites (3 of them) to left side of outlet, blacks and red to right side
Sorry for the confusion.
Les
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Les,
I might be dense but I am confused. First is the red and black wire connected to the switch coming from the same cable? If yes disregard my messages. With the switch in the off position, which wire is hot? To give a better answer I need to know:
1) how many cables come into the switch box and where do thet go? 2) how many cables come into the outlet box and where do they go?
Sometimes power is brought into the receptal box first then sent the switch box using the black wire or a 3 wire/ground cable. The power is then sent back to the outlet using the red wire. Power might also be sent to other places using a pigtail (connected to the black wire) in the switch box. This might be what you have. This makes the cabling easier at times for the builder but annoying for the home owner to figure out. You can still do what you want but I don't want to confuse you without more information.
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There are two cables in the switchbox. One cable is b/w/g the other is b/w/r/g. Both blacks are pigtailed to the switch. and the red is also connected to the switch
With the switch in the off position, which wire is hot? To

2 cables. one is b/w/g the other is b/w/r/g Blacks (from both cables)are tied together and pigtailed to switch terminal, and the red is connected to the other switch terminal. I am not sure where they go to or from.

3 cables come into outlet box one is b/w/r/g the other two are b/w/g. All three whites are connected to left side of outlet(two to bottom, one to top). a black wire from one of the b/w/g is connected to the top right side of the receptacle. And the red wire is connected to the right bottom side of the receptacle. The black and red that are connected to the receptacle are NOT from the same cable. The other two blacks are tied together (no pigtail). I am not sure where the wires go after they exit the box. When I removed the receptacle, I lost power to the other receptacle on the same wall. Does that tell you anything about how it is wired?
I appreciate the help. Like I said, I'm not a pro, my Dad was my go to electrical guy, but he passed away last year. He talked me through many electrical dilemmas.
Thanks again for the help.
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One more time.
Based on your info this is my best guess:
1) Power enters the outlet box. The black wire (b/w/g) connected to the other black wire (b/w/r/g) brings power to the switch. (if this is true then 1) the black wire in the switch is live when the switch is off 2) the black wire and red wire connect to the switch are in the same cable 3) disconnecting the two black wires in the outlet box causes the switch to go dead along with other things. If this is not true then the rest of this message is wrong)
2) The other black wire (the one in the b/w/g cable) entering the switchbox is feeding other circuits and the black wire should be live with the switch off.
3) The red wire returns the switched power to the outlet/receptacle. The black wire on the outlet feed your lights.
To set up what you want assuming you verified what I described. First diagram the circuit and verify my instruction before proceeding. I am not a electrican but have a similar circuit in my house. Use my advice at your own risk. if you do not understand the circuit call a pro.
1) Remove the wire nut from the two black wires in the outlet box. Check to see if they are live with the switch in the off postion. If yes proceed.
2) With the switch off verify that the red and black wires on the receptacle are dead. If yes proceed.
3) Turn off the power and then verify the power is off on the black and red wires in the outlet box. If yes proceed.
4) Remove the red and black wires from the receptable and join them together.
5) Connect a pig tail to the two black wire and replace wire nut. Connect pigtail to receptacle.
6) Turn power on and verify everything works as desire.
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BTY Tom makes excellent point. You really need to map the circuit. I tried based on what you posted but I am not in your house with a testor.
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On Thu, 08 Sep 2005 21:21:16 GMT, "Gina and Les"

My guess is that one of the blacks goes to the switched outlet box and is always hot. It could power something downstream from the outlet or be the source from a breaker. The second black goes to another load if the first black comes from a breaker or is from a breaker if the first black feeds another load.
The red wire of course is switched and goes to the switched outlet.

The red wire is the switched hot from the switch box. The black wire that is common on the receptacle with the red goes to the overhead lights. The other blacks are always hot and are either supplied from a breaker or feed other loads. One of them goes to the switch box, the other goes to a load/breaker. The converse of the ones in the switch box.
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Hopefully I'm not repeating what someone else said, but from my quick scan of the thread I don't think so. My take on the situation: the b/w/g cable is incoming power, the b/w/r/g cable is outgoing power, where black is always hot and red is switched hot.

My take: the incoming b/w/r/g cable is from the switch and provides incoming power, both constant and switched. The outgoing cable whose black is connected to the incoming red (via the outlet) is outbound switched power, leading to the other switched loads (overhead lights, I think you said). The outgoing cable whose black is tied to the incoming black directly is outgoing unswitched power, which serves the other receptacle you mentioned.
If this is correct, and the goal is to make the receptacle completely unswitched, then feed the receptacle from the pair of blacks currently just tied together, and just tie together the black and red wires currently feeding the receptacle.
If you wish to make only half of the receptacle switched, and half unswitched, then break the tab between the receptacles on the hot side (not the neutral side), feed one side with the incoming red and the other with the incoming black, and make sure the outgoing blacks are fed appropriately.
Cheers, Wayne
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From a distance and not having seen the actual wires: it sound like the switch controls only one of two duplex receptacle outlets. IOW top receptacle is always powered and bottom receptacle is switched. Bottom receptacle is what you plug the table top lamp into so that same switch controls overhead lights and floor lamp. Sounds like what your electricians did is a preferred installation.
Black wire would be always hot. Red wire would be hot only when empowered by the switch. Whites are neutral - always connected together.
Meanwhile no details about safety ground wire?
Gina and Les wrote:

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The orginal poster stated the tabs were still intact. So I assumed that both outlets are controlled by the switch. It would be nice if all electricians did it with one switch and the other not.
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On Thu, 08 Sep 2005 15:45:39 -0700, noname87 wrote:

Yes, my house is done that way (upper switched, lower not), and it is very nice. Considering all the other things the contractor screwed up, I was surprised by it. It's not without cost!
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Keith



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