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Thread: convert switched outlet to always plus ceiling light

  1. #1
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    Jun 2013
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    Default convert switched outlet to always plus ceiling light

    Hi, I have a switched outlet, that I want to convert to always on, and add a ceiling light to operate off of the current switch. Can you help me with the wiring...

    Thanks,

    Cliff Mc

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Kent, WA
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    You'll need to turn that circuit off and peek into the boxes to see how its done.

    First question -- is the entire outlet switched or just one of the two plug-in receptacles on it switched?
    Next question -- remove the cover plate on the switch and perhaps remove the switch from the box. How many cables are in that box, and how many wires and what color are they in each cable (note: a cable is a plastic or metal sheath containing multiple wires of different insulation colors, and one wire may be not insulated).
    Are any of these wires silver colored instead of copper?
    Finally, do you have access to the space above the ceiling where you want to put the light (e.g. an accessible attic)?
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  3. #3
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    Jun 2013
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    Hi, the whole outlet is switched, and of course I would like to make that live at all times.

    There are to wires (plus a ground) going to the switch one black one white. (and yes they are copper). I also pulled the outlet, it has two wires, one black on the gold side on the bottom and one white on the silver side on top (plus a ground wire).

    I do have access above the ceiling and I have identified the switch wire and the outlet wire.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2013
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    one other note.... I just pulled the outlet out of the box and noticed there was a black and a white wire that were connected together.

  5. #5
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    OK, you have what is called a switch loop. This is just a hot wire and a switched hot back to the wall receptacle. There is no neutral in the switch box right now.

    I'm assuming it is easier to run the ceiling light wire to the wall switch and not the outlet box. You can do it either way, but I'll describe the better way.

    In the wall outlet, you have two cables -- one is hot all the time and one is the switch loop (the switch loop white wire goes to the black of the always hot black). Break this connection and move the black always hot wire to the other brass screw (the two black should now be side by side on brass screws). Connect the white from the switch loop to the silver screw next to the existing white on the other silver screw. If there is black tape on that white wire remove it, because it is a neutral now.

    At the switch box, remove the white wire from the switch and put a wire nut on the end. Once you run a new cable to the light, you will connect this white to the white in the light cable. The black wire from the light cable goes to the switch (where the white wire used to be).

    In all boxes, tie all bare ground wires together and add a bare "pigtail" to that wire nut bundle. This pigtail goes to the green ground screw on the receptacle or switch. If the boxes are metal instead of plastic, you'll need a second pigtail that goes to a green screw in the box of onto a grounding clip.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  6. #6
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    Jun 2013
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    ok, I think I may have a little problem with that.... I will not be able to run the new wire from the ceiling light to the switch itself.... can I put in a junction box in the attack, and connect (splice for lack of a better word) the white from the switch to the white from the light and the 3 black together. and would I still disconnect the white from the switch and put a nut on the end?

    One other question, if I changed my switch to a dimmer switch, will that change any of the wiring connections?

  7. #7
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    Feb 2012
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    Kent, WA
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    You can use a junction box if it is still accessible (a box in the attic with the cover on the attic side is accessible). But I don't understand what wires you're talking about here. Does this light currently exist and have a cable going somewhere? What 3 blacks? There should be 2 black wires -- one feeding power to the switch and one providing switched power from the switch to the light. The switch box should have 2 whites wire nutted together -- one coming from the wall outlet (silver screw) and one going to the light.

    All you're basically doing here is connecting colors -- white to white, black to black, and ground to ground. The blacks go on brass screws and the whites on silver screws.

    Would it be easier to get a new cable from the light to the wall receptacle? That's a possibility too. But you need a black and white from the light to either the switch box or the outlet box, and they need to run together in the same cable.

    I said to wire nut that one lone white only so you could change the wall outlet now to always on. You'll need to connect it to the white to the light once you get that wire to the switch box. The switch will do nothing until it has a new cable going to the light fixture.

    A dimmer switch would be wired the same as the regular switch, although some may have a white that would also get connected to the whites.
    Last edited by suemarkp; 03-14-2015 at 07:04 PM.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  8. #8
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    ok, the problem is, that I cant run the new white wire from the new ceiling light to the switch box. I have to do something in the attic...., at this point I have the outlet so it is constantly on... and the light switch with the white wire disconnected,(so obviously that doesn't work now). I need to know if I can tap into the power via the attic, because I will not be able to run the wire down the inside of the wall to connect into the existing box.


    or as an alternative, what if I left the outlet the way it was, can I hook into the power for the ceiling light and have the switch work both the outlet and the ceiling light?

  9. #9
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    Jun 2013
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    forgot to answer you other question, when I said put the 3 black wires together, I meant if I made the connection in the attic, the black from the switch box, the black from the outlet and the black from the light...

  10. #10
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    Welland Ontario
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    If the cable between the switch and the receptacle goes up into the attic then you can tap into it. Otherwise you are out of luck. You need to be able to get a cable to either the switch or the receptacle.
    Operation Overlord.

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