I want 2 ( maybe 3) outlets controlled by the same switch. Easy enough. But, in addition, I want half of each outlet controlled by the switch and the other half of each outlet always hot. Is there a wiring diagram somewhere for this? I just haven't found it. A diagram would help confirm how I think it should be done. They will be in the same room and the wiring will be relatively easy to run.

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    The next owner will probably not be happy about this. Assuming this is for controlling plug-in lamps, with all the 'smart' products coming out now, is it really necessary?
    – Glen Yates
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 16:57
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    @GlenYates then it's kinda the next owner's issue to fix, isn't it?
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 20:56
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    @GlenYates: Said "smart" products are junk, and probably will be for the forseeable future, because there's no incentive to make non-awful. But just a traditional plug-in xmas-tree-remote system would be a lot less awful and more obvious to the user what's going on than having half the outlet mysteriously on a switch with the logic hidden inside the walls. Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 21:34
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    It's really not that hard for the next owner to revert if they don't like it. You just cap off the switched hot in each box and either pigtail both hot terminals to the remaining hot, or replace with a new outlet that still has the tab in place (outlets are dirt cheap). Shouldn't take more than 5 minutes per box.
    – CactusCake
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 22:02
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    It is KCB3rd's house, so he can do what he wants with it, I really just wanted to point out that there may be alternatives. One that's been around for a long time is an X10 controller, this would provide flexibility to move the controlled outlet at will.
    – Glen Yates
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 23:00

2 Answers 2


Wiring diagram, though I hope you don't really need it:

switched outlet halves

Don't forget to break the tabs off the hot side of the outlets.

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    I'll use my 12-3 indoor wire. I kinda thought it would be as the diagram showed, just good to see a diagram for visual confirmation.
    – KCB3rd
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 17:38

The switch opens or closes contact on the hot wire leading to the outlet(s) (receptacles) that you want to control with it. It "makes or breaks" the hot connection to the load. An additional unswitched hot wire would need to run to the receptacles that will not be controlled by the switch.

So... you will need a run of wires that includes a switched hot, an unswitched hot, a neutral, and a ground wire. If you plan on using NM sheathed cable (e.g. Romex) you would need 3 conductor w/ground, e.g. 12-3 w/ground.

If you plan on using common duplex receptacles (the devices with 2 "outlets" on a single frame), you will need to break off a little jumper tab that ties the wire contact plate under the terminal screws together on the hot side, to isolate the switched receptacle from the unswitched.

No diagram is really needed because if this does not make sense to you then you ought to hire an electrician.

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    You'd only need 12/3 copper if this is a 20A circuit. Most branch circuits will be 15A, so 14/3 is most likely the correct wire.
    – J...
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 23:37
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    14/3 is most likely the correct minimum but 12 is allowed and arguably better in all aspects except cost and difficulty of fishing. Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 1:23

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