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Thread: Light Switch to turn on wall outlet

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  1. #1
    DIY Member coopns's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Default Light Switch to turn on wall outlet

    I installed new white light switches and wall outlets but the light switch does not turn the light at the outlet. I thought I remember someone saying something about breaking a tab tab but it is unclear. Could someone explain/pics?


  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    Assuming you have a duplex outlet, and you want one hot all the time and the other switched, you need to break the tab on the gold (brass) side to separate those two hot connections. Then, you attach one constant hot lead to the outlet you want always hot, and the switched hot lead to the other gold contact. At the neutral side, you typically only have one white wire, and leave the tab connected so each side gets the neutral. If you broke the tabs on both sides, you need to add a jumper to reconnect them. This is often best done by putting two short wires on the original neutral with a wire nut, then screwing the two pigtail leads into the receptacle's screw contacts. The same idea if you switch both outlets separately, one switch's hot would go to one brass screw and the other to the second.

    Is your problem that it is always on, or never comes on?
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona


    You must have done something at least partially right, otherwise you could have tripped the circuit breaker everytime you tried to turn the light on. Follow the previous directions for removing the "jumper tab" between the two "hot" terminals. That should be all you have to do, unless you miswired something.

  4. #4


    Was there a red wire in one of the receps?


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