DIY - Split receptacle to light switch and light fixture with 14/2?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by AJM, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. AJM

    AJM New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Can anyone suggest a fix for the following?

    My bedroom remodel included replacing the electrical switch and split receptacles with new parts. I have confirmed that all tabs are removed on the hot side of all receptacles.

    Note:I tried to install the new components exactly the same as the previous part. Clearly, I have fubared something. I can't figure out how to connect the switch and the downstream light fixture. I have shown their connections as un-terminated in my drawing.

    In this room, the light switch powers one half of a split receptacle and the overhead light fixture. The light runs to the switch, not to any receptacles. Input power comes into the receptacle box not the switch box.

    It was working but I can't figure out how since I only have a 14/2 line running to the switch and from the switch to the light. I can imagine getting power to and from the switch using the 14/2 (black and white used as hot with electrical tape on the ends) but cannot figure how to provide neutral to the light at the same time.

    Can anyone suggest how to properly power the light? I have drawn up the situation as I see it. Oddly, my red wire connecting the switched receptacle has 24.3v on it before connecting to the switch!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  2. Jim Port

    Jim Port Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Maryland
    It seems from your description that you have left out where the other end of the 3 wire cable is.
  3. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    All a light needs is two wires to operate. A hot and a neutral.

    All a switch needs is two wires to switch.
    (Typically [and the right way] is that the switch turns on and off the hot wire going to the light or outlet.)

    The power for these does NOT have to be run to the light electrical box and does NOT have to be run to the switch electrical box!

    You could make the connections for this in another "junction box"!

    So by looking at the outlet electrical boxes, the light electrical box, and the switch electrical box, you may not be seeing the entire set of wiring! There may be another electrical box somewhere - a junction box where the various connections are made.

    And junction boxes are *supposed* to remain accessible. Might be in the attic, basement, or could be in another outlet electrical box. Could be in an outlet electrical box in another room.

    If this is a 1 story house and you have attic access, might want to look at the wires up there and see where they go (clue).

    Note: Sometimes people don't do things like they should, so there could be a junction box hidden in the wall.

    Also if everything works as it should, then no problem right?
  4. AJM

    AJM New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    The 12/3 line runs to the other outlets in a daisy-chain. The last outlet ends the run.
  5. AJM

    AJM New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  6. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    VA
    The switch should only have black wires (hot). You shouldn't need 12-3 or 14-3 cable for what you want to do usless you are using a 3-way swith (have two switches at different doorways controlling the light/outlets).

    There is a couple ways to do it. The best way depends on the room layout.

    Basically you want to do this:

    - run 14-2 (or 12-2) from either an outlet that already has power or from the circuit breaker (depending on where you start/end your run) to your switch.

    - the black from this wire will go to the bottom terminal on the switch
    - the white will connect to the white of another 14-2 (or 12-2) cable that leads to the light or the switched outlets. (use a wire nut)
    - the black from the cable that leads to to light (or outlets) gets connected to the other teminal of the switch

    If you say start with the light, you can daisy chain from there to your switched outlets using 14-2 (or 12-2) cable. Split the tab on both sides of the outlets and connect to the top outlets is a dasiy chain fashion.

    The switch will break the connection to the hot and and kill the switched outlets and the light when you flip the switch.

    I'm not a pro, but this will work and is the way that I have typically seen it done.

    I can draw something up if it would help.

    Good luck.
  7. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    Let's see if I have this correct...

    This was working before?

    You did not add anything new (outlets, switch, and light were there before)?

    All you did was replace the outlets, switch, and light fixture?
  8. AJM

    AJM New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Billy Bob -

    Yes, nothing was added. The light fixture was not changed.

    There is only the 14/2 from the switch to the light (confirmed from attic).

    There is another 14/2 running from receptacle box to switch box (confirmed line with multi-meter).

    There was a 12/3 connecting receptacle string (this is getting 24v

    It was previously all working with both the light and the upper receptacle running off the switch and the lower receptacles on constant.
  9. AJM

    AJM New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Nukeman,

    Are you suggesting that I add another 14/2 to take power back to switched receptacle?

    If not, how do I return a switched hot back to the receptacle?
  10. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    VA
    I was thinking you had run some new wiring. If the wiring has remained the same, check the wiring at the switch. The switch itself should have only black wires attached (not neutral and hot like your diagram shows). If there are two neutrals running to the switch box, those get tied together with a wire nut. This is the most standard way to do it, but there are other ways that still work.

    If that is not clear, post up a pic of the wiring at your switch. We should be able to figure it out from that.
  11. AJM

    AJM New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    "Nukeman,
    I was thinking you had run some new wiring. If the wiring has remained the same, check the wiring at the switch. The switch itself should have only black wires attached (not neutral and hot like your diagram shows). If there are two neutrals running to the switch box, those get tied together with a wire nut. This is the most standard way to do it, but there are other ways that still work.

    If that is not clear, post up a pic of the wiring at your switch. We should be able to figure it out from that."

    ----
    You are correct. The error is in the drawing, the switch is only connected to the blacks and the whites are nutted together.
  12. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    VA
    Some pics might help. Somewhere, that red wire has to connect to either the light or the switch. If the red comes to the switch, it would get connected to where the black for the light connected to the switch. If you can't find where the red runs to, it may to to some hidden junction box and change colors.

    I am not 100% sure on how things are laid out. Some pics would help. One of the wiring at the light, one at the switch, and one at one of the outlets (at least).

    If you replaced everything exactly the way it was, there shouldn't be a problem. Currently, was is/isn't working in this room?
  13. AJM

    AJM New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Pics attached. Let me know if you need a better look.

    Attached Files:

  14. AJM

    AJM New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    All of the constant-on outlets work.

    None of the switched devices are working now, but were prior to the parts swap.

    Attached Files:

  15. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    VA
    Is there another black wire in the switch box? I would think you would have:

    - pair of white/black coming in (constant power)
    - pair of white/black leading to that first switched outlet
    - pair of white/black leading to the light fixture

    The constant power black goes to the bottom terminal of the switch. The black for the switched outlet and the black for the fixture would go to the top of the switch.
  16. AJM

    AJM New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Is there another black wire in the switch box? - Not any that provide the required return for the outlet.

    I disconnected a stand-alone outlet for ease of testing. I had installed it a couple years ago directly below the light switch. I did a continuity check today to ensure that I was correct about it being just for that outlet.
  17. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    Ding! Ding! Ding! Error!

    There is more wiring in the switch electrical box than shown on the diagrams!

    When making electrical diagrams, show ALL wiring please...

    (So basically ignore what I said above. That was based on my thought that there were only two wires going to the switch electrical box as shown on the diagram...)
  18. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    VA
    Do you show power on either of those black wires on the switch? It looks like that black wire that is connected to the reds run to the switch. The question is the other black on your switch: is it hot or does it run to the light? I still would expect 3 blacks at the switch box. The other possibility is the light gets fed from the last switched outlet (or one in between). In this case, you would have power coming in to the switch and then running to the 1st of the switched outlets.
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