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Electrical Wire and Cable

Install a Switched Outlet to Control a Lamp

I wired a switched outlet for a lamp and the fixture smoked, what did I do wrong? Identify the Electrical Circuit Before Wiring, Switched Outlet Wiring Diagram.


Switched Outlet Wiring

Electrical Question: I wired a switched outlet for a lamp and the fixture smoked, what did I do wrong?

My electrical wiring project involves an Electrical Problem when I wired a Switched Outlet.

This electrical wiring question came from Annie, a Homeowner in Iowa City, Iowa.

Additional Comments: Thank you so much for offering your expertise! It is much appreciated!

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Annie.

How to Wire a Switched Outlet for a Lamp

outlet-wiring

Application: Electrical Problem when Wiring a Switched Outlet.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor, or Certified Electrician.
Electrical Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, Voltage Tester, and appropriate Safety Gear.
Estimated Time: This will depend on the personal level experience, ability to work with tools, install electrical circuit wiring, and the available access to the project area.
Electrical Safety: Identify the electrical power source to the Switched Outlet, turn it OFF and Tag with a Note before working with the electrical wiring.
Electrical Wiring Parts and Materials: Electrical parts and materials for the Switched Outlet should be approved for the specific project and compliant with local and national electrical codes.
Electrical Codes and Inspections: Installing or changing home electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes as adopted in Iowa City, Iowa. A permit and inspections may also be required.
Resources to help you do electrical wiring in your area:
Locate Electricians or Electrical Contractors in Iowa
Iowa Electrical Contractor License, Building Permits and Electrical Codes

Avoid Problems When Wiring a Switched Outlet

This project is about an Electrical Problem that was encountered when wiring a Switched Outlet in the Entry area of a Old Home.

Switched Outlet Electrical Problem
First, I would like to advise you that before using the wiring in a outlet box for any purpose the circuit wiring will need to be positively identified to understand what the circuit was previously used for, and if there are any problems with the circuit wiring.

Identify the Electrical Circuit
The circuit can be identified with various methods using a ohm meter or a voltage meter. A voltage meter will be the best method so we can verify voltage and the condition of the circuit wiring. Keep in mind this is not all inclusive, as there may be unseen issues or problems that may have lead to the discontinued use of the wiring.

From what you have described, I would suspect that the voltage is not 120volts, but most likely 220-240 volts, and this would explain why the light fixture started to smoke. It is possible that this is a dedicated circuit that was once used for an electric heater, air conditioner, or other such equipment depending on the actual location of the electrical box.

If this is the case, then the circuit might be able to be converted by a qualified electrician to 120volts after careful inspections and conversions of the circuit wires inside the panel .

Update from Annie: Electrician Called, Problem Solved
I had an electrician come today, and you were exactly right about the circuit being 220 volts. An easy fix for the electrician, and I was reminded that I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m glad I didn’t burn my house down!

More about Electrical Wiring for a Switched Outlet

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Electrician Explains How a Switched Outlet is Wired with Wiring Diagram

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Home electrical wiring includes 110 volt outlets and 220 volt outlets and receptacles which are common place in every home. See how wiring electrical outlets for the home are done.

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This article looks at common 120 volt and 240 volt house wiring circuits and the circuit breakers that are installed identifying the types and amperage sizes used in most homes.
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Articles about Electrical Wiring
Home electrical wiring diagrams are an important tool for completing your electrical projects. An electrical wiring diagram can be as simple as a diagram showing how to install a new switch in your hallway, or as complex as the complete electrical blueprint for your new home or home improvement project.



Learn How to Wire it Right with my
Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring
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Includes:
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electrical Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
Electrical Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
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