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#4613921 - 12/25/17 02:11 PM Electrical Outlet - Wiring Help
coopns Offline


Registered: 02/16/05
Posts: 790
Loc: Scituate MA
I have done outlets before but not this one.

Tried to simply change outdated outlet. It is connected/powered by a wall switch...but I can't figure out how.

I have two black to brass, two white to silver. Didn't work. So I broke the tab and that didn't work either.

No power to outlet or the light switch. Previously switch worked outside light and I think it just powered the bottom outlet,
not top. I never used it but wife mentioned that.

Does the order of the wires matter (which white or black on top?) and do I just break the hot side or both? I tried on hot side.

Any advice (besides calling an electrician).

Outlet
Outlet 1


Edited by coopns (12/25/17 02:13 PM)
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#4613928 - 12/25/17 02:21 PM Re: Electrical Outlet - Wiring Help [Re: coopns]
rollinpete Offline


Registered: 03/20/17
Posts: 461
Loc: West Ma.
no power to outlet , check the breakers
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#4613949 - 12/25/17 02:44 PM Re: Electrical Outlet - Wiring Help [Re: coopns]
urrlord Offline


Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 661
Loc: central ga
I hate electrical.My house was built in the early 70's.We recently had a mouse chew some of the wiring.Two electricians have came out and looked at it ,said they would have to get back with us.Have not heard back from either.

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#4613952 - 12/25/17 02:46 PM Re: Electrical Outlet - Wiring Help [Re: coopns]
EdwardC Online   content


Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 1864
Loc: Chicago, IL
So you're saying that that there's a switch that switched and outside light in addition to the bottom outlet? Looking at your images, you have 4 wires, 2 white, 2 black. I think it should be connected like this:

Neutral (white) should be connected throughout, and the shorting tab should not be broken on that side of the outlet (one of your white wires is coming in, the other is going out to the next outlet/light). One of the black wires should come from the switch, and you should be able to measure it go hot when the switch is flipped. That wire should be connected to the bottom outlet, with the shorting tab broken. That wire should also be connected to the light outside (either at the outlet or somewhere else in the junction box, or even wired somewhere else). There should be another black wire that is always hot, you'll connect that to the top outlet.

Take a multimeter and start probing, figure out which lines are switched. Hard to describe in words. Obviously, if there's zero power, check your breaker.

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#4613970 - 12/25/17 02:58 PM Re: Electrical Outlet - Wiring Help [Re: rollinpete]
tvaughn0712 Offline


Registered: 12/29/14
Posts: 34
Loc: Tennessee
Did the original outlet have a tab broken? If broken only the hot side should be broken (gold side with black wires). If not you need to get a new outlet and replace since you already broke the tab. In this configuration it doesn't matter which wire goes where. If the original outlets tab was broken (and it should only be done on the hot side) then that means one of the outlets is powered all the time and the other is powered off a switch. In this configuration it still doesn't really matter which black wire is on top except for that the outlet that was previously switched and the one that was hot all the time may be switched. If you want to switch simply reverse the black wires. In both configurations it doesn't matter which white wire is on top (just keep white wires with silver screws and black wires with gold).

With that all said it sounds like nothing works so I agree check your breaker. It looks like you have a metal outlet so maybe one of the black wires were touching the side and tripped the breaker

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#4613973 - 12/25/17 02:59 PM Re: Electrical Outlet - Wiring Help [Re: tvaughn0712]
EdwardC Online   content


Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 1864
Loc: Chicago, IL
Originally Posted By: tvaughn0712
Did the original outlet have a tab broken? If broken only the hot side should be broken (gold side with black wires). If not you need to get a new outlet and replace since you already broke the tab. In this configuration it doesn't matter which wire goes where. If the original outlets tab was broken (and it should only be done on the hot side) then that means one of the outlets is powered all the time and the other is powered off a switch. In this configuration it still doesn't really matter which black wire is on top except for that the outlet that was previously switched and the one that was hot all the time may be switched. If you want to switch simply reverse the black wires. In both configurations it doesn't matter which white wire is on top (just keep white wires with silver screws and black wires with gold).

With that all said it sounds like nothing works so I agree check your breaker. It looks like you have a metal outlet so maybe one of the black wires were touching the side and tripped the breaker


Good call, that's a lot more clear than my explanation!

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#4613980 - 12/25/17 03:11 PM Re: Electrical Outlet - Wiring Help [Re: rollinpete]
rollinpete Offline


Registered: 03/20/17
Posts: 461
Loc: West Ma.
Originally Posted By: rollinpete
no power to outlet , check the breakers


Just noticed it's feeding another outlet or light
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#4613989 - 12/25/17 03:22 PM Re: Electrical Outlet - Wiring Help [Re: coopns]
eljefino Online   content


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32655
Loc: ME
As you initially hooked it up the light should have come on, as you shorted switched to always-hot. So I think your issues are further upstream. Pull other outlets from that circuit that work and see if they have any "backstabbed" connections instead of to the screws. Those notoriously flake out and go bad. They are also a legal-but-lazy way of adding a 3rd wire to spur off in another direction, typically found in handyman additions.

I would look at the switch next to see if it's still hot somewhere.

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#4614092 - 12/25/17 05:56 PM Re: Electrical Outlet - Wiring Help [Re: coopns]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 41795
Loc: New Jersey
Did you put a meter on it? Should be able to find 120v between one of the sets.

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#4614130 - 12/25/17 06:51 PM Re: Electrical Outlet - Wiring Help [Re: coopns]
ARB1977 Offline


Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 5168
Loc: North Texas
You tube. I figured out my 3 pole switch issue. One switch has 120 constant. The other wires are travelers. Tie the two travelers together. Go to the other switch and ohm two wires to find the other two travelers. The other wire will be your common.
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#4614400 - 12/26/17 07:13 AM Re: Electrical Outlet - Wiring Help [Re: coopns]
Delta Offline


Registered: 04/20/14
Posts: 1150
Loc: South Central PA
First I would redo those connections to the outlet, especially the hot on the bottom in the second picture. They need to be cleanly under the screw. Second, the way you have the grounds in against code; needs to be wire-nutted.

Did the old outlet work before? If the outlet itself isn't switched, but power came off that outlet to a switch then the tab shouldn't be broken.
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#4614414 - 12/26/17 07:37 AM Re: Electrical Outlet - Wiring Help [Re: coopns]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 10589
Loc: Buffalo, NY
Coops, does that wall switch control anything else along with this outlet?

I know in my previous home, I had some duplex outlets where the top was switched and the bottom was constant. Both tabs were broken on those IIRC. Been awhile.
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#4614786 - 12/26/17 02:54 PM Re: Electrical Outlet - Wiring Help [Re: JTK]
coopns Offline


Registered: 02/16/05
Posts: 790
Loc: Scituate MA
Thanks for all the replies...

Update: I tried the outlet with black tab side broken off, tried either wire on top, neither worked. The breaker is fine.

I opened up the wall switch which I replaced a few months ago and it has two black which are hooked up...one black to top screw
one black to bottom screw and both white capped...not going anywhere. This was the configuration that worked the outside light and gave power to the bottom outlet that worked before I tried the new outlet. Previous owner of house was electrician so we are finding a lot of different setups.
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#4615548 - 12/27/17 09:15 AM Re: Electrical Outlet - Wiring Help [Re: coopns]
mk378 Offline


Registered: 09/27/15
Posts: 1421
Loc: USA
It is common for circuit breakers to fail open. They don't close the circuit even though the handle is in the on position. So after you turned it off to work on the wiring, it may not have come back on. That would be the first place to check with a voltmeter. Then go toward the outlet and find out where the electricity is being lost.

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