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Home 'Switch and Outlet Wiring Made Easy'

Outlet, Half Switched

Power Source at Switch  [NEC 2011 compliant]

Read the legal disclaimer page - click the legal link in the menu at bottom of page

(2011 NEC new rule 404.2 (C) Compliant)
 For more information on this new rule read
 2011 NEC New Rule 'Switch Connections'

For Preparation Instructions Click HERE

STEP 1 - Make certain that the power supply cable is dead - turn off the electrical breaker at the service panel. Make certain that everyone in the house is aware of what you are doing so that they do not get the notion to reset the breaker when another light in the home is not working.

STEP 2 - Make the box openings (if a existing home)

STEP 3 - Feed / Route the wire cables.

STEP 4 -Mount / Install the Electrical Boxes which should be flush with the finished wall, not beyond so that the wall plate will also be flush; then feed the wire cables into the electrical boxes. Sometimes because of tight openings in existing homes, the wire cable may to be feed into the electrical box then the box put in position and secured.

STEP 5 - Connect the wires...


Power at Switch

Power at Switch

Connections Instructions:
(as depicted in the diagrams above)

At the Outlet box...

One cable entering this box coming from switch.

FIRST - break off the metal joining tab between the two brass color screws, DO NOT break off the metal joining tab between the silver color screws.

* a) connect the white wire coming from the switch to one of the silver color screws of outlet (this is the grounded conductor [neutral])
* b) connect the black wire coming from switch to one of the brass color screws - this will be the switched half of the duplex outlet.
* c) connect the red wire coming from the switch to the remaining brass color screw of outlet - this will be the always on half of the outlet.
* e) please see under important notes in regards to the equipment grounding conductor (bare wire).

At the Switch  box...

Two cables entering this box coming from outlet, one is the 'circuit power supply cable' and one is coming from outlet.

* a) connect the black wire coming from outlet to one of the main screws of switch.
* b) using an insulated wire nut connect / join the black wire coming from ' circuit power supply cable' + the red wire coming from outlet + the black wire connected to the other main screw of the switch.
* c) using an insulated wire nut connect / join the white wire coming from the 'circuit power supply cable' + the white wire coming from outlet.
*d) please see under important notes in regards to the equipment grounding conductor (bare wire).

Important Notes:

By electrical codes you MUST have at least 6 inches of wire in the electrical box itself, and also the wire must be able to reach at least 3 inches outside the box, it can fail an electrical inspection if the required min. wire length is not met.  You may have the wires a bit longer (within reason) but they cannot be shorter. Also see the note on box fill further down in this article.

What is not shown in the drawings to avoid confusion, is that each wire cable also has a bare equipment grounding wire included. This wire is connected to a grounding screw in each electrical box (if the box is metal),  joined either through the grounding screws in the box itself or via a wire nut to the bare wire of the next cable entering / exiting the box, it is also connected to any grounding screw (if there is one) on the switch itself, as well as the equipment grounding screw of outlet (possibly a green screw).  Now if using a plastic box, it is made of a material that is non conductive, however some plastic boxes have a metal strip inside that can still be used to connect equipment grounding wires, in the event that it does not use wire nuts to join the bare grounding wires together. The equipment grounding wire (bare in most cables) must be electrical conductively joined throughout the circuit.  Green wires are also equipment grounding conductors.

For Extension Options to this circuit - CLICK HERE

Foreign Users:

The colors of the wires depicted are based on the standards and code requirements / configuration in the United States and Canada. If you are viewing this site from a foreign country, your wiring standards and color of wires may be different but the principal and sequence of wiring will still remain the same. Therefore the information in this article may still be of use to you regardless of what country you may be in. Just translate the colors used here to the color of wires used in your country in regards to ungrounded (hot) conductors / grounded conductors (neutral) and equipment grounding conductors as well know applicable code requirements in your country.

By: Donald Kerr

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