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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    2

    Default how do I wire a switch(s) to control multiple outlets

    I would like to control multiple outlets with 1 or 2 switches. Each outlet has 2 white wires, 2 blacks and a ground. The switch, which used to be 2 side by side switches has 2 red wires, 2 black, 3 whites and a ground. These 2 switches used to control 4 outlets. The outlets are wired with 2 whites on the silver screws and 2 blacks on the brass screws and the ground has a wire nut on it. During a remodel, a ceiling light was installed and a new switch was put in near the two other switches. The new switch has two black wires connected to the two screws and two whites together with a wire nut and the ground also has a wire nut on it. While trying to make it work, I hooked a black to the top screw and white to the bottom and when I flipped the switch I got quite a flash and tripped the breaker. Thank you for any help in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    wisconsin
    Posts
    159

    Default Re: how do I wire a switch(s) to control multiple outlets

    yeah, it sounds like you caused a dead short.. The white wire (im assuming the neutral) needs to be on the opposite side screw (silver screw) you put it on same side/bottom witch is the hott. this would cause a dead short.. with out having a pic or diagram its sorta difficult to tell you how to wire up everyting else

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,825

    Default Re: how do I wire a switch(s) to control multiple outlets

    Your description is confusing. You say you have red wires at the switch box but none are mentioned at the outlets. I believe the flash was caused by you connecting a hot (black) and a neutral (white) to a switch. Turning the switch on caused a short. On a switch you should have a hot and a return or on a 3-way a hot or return and 2 travelers.. The wiring you described sounds like you have a 3-way switchs but I don't understand how you had only 2 reds and 2 blacks but 3 whites. It seems something is missing.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: how do I wire a switch(s) to control multiple outlets

    I will try to attach pics

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Cleveland, New York
    Posts
    16

    Arrow Re: how do I wire a switch(s) to control multiple outlets

    I agree with the assessment by the other folks, you definitely created a short. You must remember the two red wires, as mentioned, are "travellers", the white wires are the "neutral" and the black wires are your "hot". You don't want to put the white, "neutrals", on the same side as the black, "hot". If you do, you will cause a short. Try to look at it as a road through a state. The power, most of the time, travels through the black wires to the switch and returns via the white wires. The red wires are like interstates -- they go around the city but are still connected so that you may choose to go through the city or take the interstate. This may cause further confusion and not help, but I hope it makes sense to you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Cleveland, New York
    Posts
    16

    Arrow Re: how do I wire a switch(s) to control multiple outlets

    I agree with the assessment by the other folks, you definitely created a short. You must remember the two red wires, as mentioned, are "travellers", the white wires are the "neutral" and the black wires are your "hot". You don't want to put the white, "neutrals", on the same side as the black, "hot". If you do, you will cause a short. Try to look at it as a road through a state. The power, most of the time, travels through the black wires to the switch and returns via the white wires. The red wires are like interstates -- they go around the city but are still connected so that you may choose to go through the city or take the interstate. This may cause further confusion and not help, but I hope it makes sense to you. My best advice is if you can't figure it out, call an electrician and he or she will get it right, or get a home improvement book and look up wiring switches and outlets.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,825

    Default Re: how do I wire a switch(s) to control multiple outlets

    You will not be able to post pictures with your low post count.
    You can post your pictures on a free on-line site like Photobucket and then post the link or e-mail the pictures to me @ jmcdaniel4035@scpwildblue.com and I will post them for you. Put TOH in the subject line and include your TOH user-name.

    Jack
    Last edited by JLMCDANIEL; 11-12-2011 at 03:39 PM.
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

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