I am attempting to replace a switched standard electrical outlet with a usb one. The current outlet has one half controlled by a switch and I would like both halves to be always live with the new usb outlet. When I removed the plate and pulled out the outlet I discovered 3 black, 3 white, 1 red, and 1 ground wires. My new usb outlet can only accommodate 2 live, 2 neutral, and the ground.

How do I go about connecting this properly and converting to unswitched? Thanks in advance!

Edit: Adding pictures.

Picture 1: Current outlet with wires attached. Note that in one of the outlets I looked at, the red and black wires going into the back (not underneath the screws) were the opposite of this picture.

Picture 2: Current outlet without wires attached.

Picture 3: Back of the switch.

Picture 4: Back of one of the new USB outlets I have.

Picture 5: Back of the other new USB outlet.

Current outlet with wires attached

Current outlet without wires attached. In one of the outlets I've looked at the black and red wires going into the back (not underneath the screws) are switched. Not sure if this matters.

Back of the switch

Back of one of my new USB outlets

Back of the other new USB outlet

  • 1
    look at the old plug .... you want only the wires that are on the unswitched side .... cap the wires going to the switched side
    – jsotola
    Commented Feb 3, 2019 at 22:37
  • 1
    Can you post photos of the insides of the boxes for both the receptacle and the switch controlling it? Commented Feb 3, 2019 at 22:40
  • 1
    Color codes exist so that in a multi-wire cable, you can tell the wires apart. All cables have exactly the same colors (black, white, red if an additional wire is present). Since colors are used for that job, that means they don't indicate what the wire does unless things just happen to work out that way. Most info is revealed by position, so how it was attached matters a lot. Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 0:01
  • Without the switch, how will you turn basic room lighting on and off? Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 0:42
  • Thanks for the help thus far. Per your requests, I've added photos. And the switch that controls these outlets only controls 1/2 of multiple outlets in the room. There are other switches for my overhead lighting. I'd prefer the switch does not control the outlets at all. Commented Feb 5, 2019 at 18:38

2 Answers 2


Based on the photos, it looks like the red wire is the switched wire, and the black wires are hot. If you no longer want to use the switch, cap the red wire and connect the black and white wires as instructed. Also make sure that the wires are properly installed on the receptacle, from your picture, one of the black wires looks loose.

If the switch will no longer be used, you can also remove it, cap the red and black wires there, and use a blank faceplate to cover that up. That way, there is no risk posed by having the red wire energized if the switch is turned to on.

  • Thank you! Since there are three black wires and three white wires for some reason, do I need to cap any of those since I won’t be using all of them? Also, should they all be the same aka it doesn’t matter which 2 of the 3 I use? I’m new all to this so I appreciate the help! Commented Feb 5, 2019 at 21:22

The additional black and white wires are:

  1. The power lines coming into the switch
  2. The power leaving the switch and providing power to the next outlet in your wall

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.