Author Topic: Electrical Wiring:Trying to go from switched outlet to switched cans (with pics)  (Read 740 times)


  • Stubble
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I have an outlet where the bottom half is switched from the wall. There are no ceiling lights and I wanted to add recessed cans.

My thought was that I could just run wires from the switched outlet to the ceiling to run the lights.  I therefore copied everything over the way it was, replacing the outlet since the previous outlet had been modified to allow for only half to be switched.  Note that one of the white neutral wires was wire-nutted to the hot wires, so I believe this is a "switch loop".

I have attached a pic of both the outlet and the wall switch.    Anyway, the outlet now works fine -- both parts, but when I hooked up an outlet to the wires leading up to the ceiling (what was previously routed to the bottom of the outlet) the outlet doesn't work at all regardless of how switched.  Why would this be the case?  Anyone know what I am doing wrong or what to do to troubleshoot?  I now have holes in my wall and ceiling for the wirerun, but can't even begin to patch everything up until I can get the switch to work.   

FYI -- I used a socket tester on the outlet that I hooked up to the wires running to the ceiling and got a LIVE EARTH REVERSE fault with the switch on.  Is power running through both the neutral and hot?

« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 10:45:10 AM by ZMonet »


  • Pencil Stache
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  • Location: Colorado
So...for clarification: you want the switch to operate the (new) lights, instead of the half-outlet? Or you want the switch to operate both the lights AND the half-outlet?

How many lines of romex are in the outlet box? As far as I can tell:

Switchbox: only one romex-- hot in, switched out, and ground. Do you know whether black or white is the switched wire?

Outletbox: three romex? one to/from the switchbox, one from the breaker, and your lights? I'm trying to make sense of the spaghetti in the second picture.

It seems to me that you should ultimately have a romex line coming IN to your outlet box (always hot black + ground + neutral white); a romex line going from your outletbox to your switchbox; and a romex line going from your outletbox to your new lights:

Assuming you want the bottom half of your outlet to remain switched. Make sure you break out the tab between the two hot (brass-coloured) screws so the two halves of the outlet can be powered separately, or you'll end up with bad juju.

Romex1[powerwire]-- Black to a Hotwirenut, White to a Whitewirenut, Ground to a Groundwirenut.
Romex2[switchwire]-- Black to Hotwirenut, White (put black tape on it) to tapedWhitewirenut, Ground to Groundwirenut
Romex3[lightwire]-- Black to tapedWhitewirenut, White to Whitewirenut, Ground to Groundwirenut
Jumper1-- Black from Hotwirenut to non-switched (top) hot side of outlet
Jumper2-- White from Whitewirenut to neutral side of outlet
Jumper3-- Ground from Groundwirenut to groundscrew on outlet
Jumper4-- TapedWhite (or black) from tapedWhite wirenut to switched (bottom) hot side of outlet.

You may be able to make it less complicated in the box than I've written it out here, but this should get you started.

Disclaimer: I AM NOT AN ELECTRICIAN. I am a handyman, and I've done a bunch of stuff, but I AM NOT AN ELECTRICIAN. Please don't be stupid and kill yourself or burn your house down. The internet is your friend. There are a lot of very good wiring diagrams written by certified electricians available with a quick google search. If you don't think you understand how wiring is supposed to work, please take the time to look it up and make sure you understand. No-one wants to be electrocuted.