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Wiring 2 – 1/2 Switched Receptacles Controlled by 3 Switches

November 25, 2007

Rick asks:
Do you have an article or a diagram of wiring two half hot receptacles from three switches?

Thanks for any info……….

Rick

Answer:
I didn’t have an article or diagram, so I created a wiring diagram and I’m writing this article. Now, the wiring diagram that I created assumes the power supply is coming into the receptacle. I’m also using 14 AWG wire in the diagram. This means that your existing circuit needs to be on a 15 amp circuit breaker maximum. If your circuit is 20 amps, ensure there is 12 AWG wire on the entire circuit.

So, let’s start by installing the cables (wiring).

  • Ensure the power is off to this circuit before beginning work
  • Run a 14/2 NM cable (romex) to your first receptacle.
  • Install a 14/3 NM cable from the first receptacle to the second receptacle.
  • Install a 14/2 NM cable from the second receptacle to the first 3-way switch.
  • Install a 14/3 NM cable from the first 3-way switch to the 4-way switch.
  • Install a 14/3 NM cable from the 4-way switch to the last 3-way switch.

Now let’s terminate the wires and install your switches and receptacles. To do this, please refer to the wiring diagram (Fig. 2) below. Please note the terminations between the second receptacle and the first 3-way switch (Fig. 3). Here you are going to use the white wire to supply power to the switches.

According to the National Electrical Code® (NEC®), this is the only time you are permitted to use the white wire as a power supply wire. However, this wire needs to be identified as a “hot” wire. To do this either wrap some black electrical tape around the wire or use a black, permanent marker.

Also, please note the tab (Fig. 1) on the “hot” side of the receptacle (brass colored screws) has been broken off. You must remove this tab to make half of the receptacle switched. If you do not remove this tab, then the receptacles will be energized all of the time. I use a pair of needle-nosed pliars to break off this tab.

Switched Receptacle Tab
Fig. 1 – click to enlarge

Wiring Diagram of Two Half Switched Receptacles Controlled by 3 Switches
Fig. 2 – click to enlarge

Wiring Diagram of a Half Switched Receptacle Feeding a Switch
Fig. 3 – click to enlarge

 

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