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?
I bought an IR motion detection device. I want to use it to turn a lamp on in my
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
L --------->Brown>------ Brown --------->Brown------- M
L Blue P
So how do I connect the wires?
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.
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
Either way I still think its a bad idea what your trying to do.
Brian A. Dye
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)
This is european system.
GREEN with YELLOW stripes Ground
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
Which should I do:
W --------->Blue>------- IR Box 1 Blue -------->Blue>------- L Blue
L --------->Brown>------ Brown ----- M Brown
L | P
W --------->Blue>------- IR Box 2 Blue -------->Blue>------- L Blue
L --------->Brown>------ Brown ----- M Brown
L | P
Do I connect the brown wire at lamp end or do I connect the blues also?
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
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.
In the switch box: blacks pigtailed to switch, red to switch, whites tied
In the outlet box: Whites (3 of them) to left side of outlet, blacks and
red to right side
Sorry for the confusion.
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.
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
Thanks again for the help.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Meanwhile no details about safety ground wire?
Gina and Les wrote:
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