Grounds are present and connected. Both receptacles are switched. If the
outlet were wired for one hot, one switched, wouldn't the jumpers have to be
removed (the little tabs that connect the screw terminals)? the jumpers are
Like I said, it was posted only from limited facts provided.
If those jumpers remain between red and black wire, then the
receptacle is not switched separately. Up front, you must
learn with box contains a direct connection to breaker box
circuit breaker. Switch could be between circuit breaker and
lights, OR switch could be tapped off the lights it controls -
where hot wire connects to same light box that is controlled
If not using a meter to learn what does and does not exist,
then you are making the problem difficult. Meters are a tool
as common as a screw driver - sold in Home Depot, Lowes, Radio
Shack, and even Sears.
Your concern is not about fixing the problem. Trying now to
fix the problem only makes the problem complex. Your
immediate objective is to draw a map of those wire
connections. This is why the meter is so useful.
For example, you know one box has a b/w/g wire and a r/b/w/g
wire. Good. Now where do those wires go. What other box has
the other end of that b/w/g wire and what other box has the
r/b/w/g wire. When you have a map, only then are you ready to
solve the problem. This is the process of breaking the
problem down into parts - then solving each part - one at a
You remove one receptacle and power is lost to another? Now
you know that removed receptacle is connected between the
breaker box (a black wire that connects from one box to the
breaker box is also called the home run) and the second
outlet. You can suspect that b/w/g wire is to the other
receptacle. But you still don't know a fundamental fact that
you must know - which box has the home run OR which box in the
room is closest to that home run. Again, without first
drawing a map, then you are only confusing yourself - making
the problem unnecessarily more difficult. First build a map.
Only then are you fully informed to start the repair.
Gina and Les wrote:
Step one of this problem broken down into parts:
1) Chart each electrical box showing each cable entering that
box AND the wire colors. That is all you do the first time.
2) Show each dedicated connection either via wire nuts or
using the receptacle.
3) Take the meter. Measure and record each voltage on each
red and black wire (relative to the white wire) inside each
box both with switch on and with switch off. For example, the
label adjacent to a wire might read "123/0" for a wire with
switch on and off. Or it might read "122/123" for that wire.
4) Now we are ready to start learning what connects to what.
Some connections will be obvious. Notice at no time did I
every advocate disconnecting anything. Disconnecting to learn
only comes after we have definitely established what boxes
interconnect with which cables. The unknowns on that map are
learned by selective wire disconnects only after questions
Again, we are not even trying to fix anything. Breaking the
problem down into parts means first learning everything
possible without making any wiring changes. Then learning
more by making the least number of changes. We don't fix
anything until after each wire and each group of wires (a
cable) has been identified in each box.
Outlet box: red is right top, and black is right bottom.
The jumpers between top and bottom outlet are still in place. If this was
meant to be wired so that one receptacle is always hot, and one switched,
should the jumpers be removed? If so, from both side of receptacle?
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.
Another reply tells you how to rewire the outlet, but here's a reponse
to the question why it was done this way:
Several rooms in our house have duplex receptacles where the top outlet
of each pair is switched (in some cases, the ceiling lights are
controlled by the same switch). We like this arrangement: it means we
can have table lamps and the like all operated from the single switch.
On 09/08/05 03:48 pm Gina and Les tossed the following ingredients into
the ever-growing pot of cybersoup:
Forget about colors, they mean little beyond all the white ones "may" be
And no one on the internet can see what you have to work with.
Wires may have several connections between the switch and the wall outlet,
and you have to know what is connected to what before you know.
do the wires go to the potlights from the switch and then to the outlet ?
does the power feed enter at the switch or from one of the "pots".
It should not be hard to figure out, but you will have to open the pot
wiring boxes to start tracing things through.
All you need is a Volt/ohmmeter and some time.
But this is going to a bit harder than just replacing an outlet as wire
connections are going to have to be changed and reconnected.
And depending on the way it was done, you "might" have to string a new wire
It may be time to call an electrician.
Or just run an extension cord from the next closest outlet that is not
Based upon your later replies the wiring configuration that you gave
doesn't add up. If removing the receptacle killed power to other
receptacles down the line, and if the jumper on the receptacle isn't
removed, then your switch either necessarily kills the other receptacles
too, or it kills no receptacles. I suspect you saw the jumper on the
neutral side and only assumed that the jumper was still in place on the
Recheck the wiring configuration and the receptacle jumpers and then get
back to us with the correct version.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.