Our bedroom has two double outlets. One outlet of each four is controlled by a single wall switch (in this switch it's the bottom left). The other three outlets are always hot. See wiring diagram.

I'd like to convert one of the double gang boxes (as pictured) to be always hot and use two Leviton USB receptacles. That's assuming I can fit both USB receptacles in I would do that, but I may be forced to just use one as they are large (deep).

Questions: (1) In order to keep the other outlet switched do I need to cap the red wires together or do I cap them individually? (2) How do I piggy back the USB outlets together?

If it makes things easier all around I could also just convert all four outlets to always on. In that case I would want to cap off the switch and cover it.

Thank you!

Current Wiring

Leviton USB

  • 3
    Wow, somebody really hates wire nuts... Just look at all the hops the always-hot line takes. Look at all those connections ready to fail. Also the left recep is half-switched; the right recep is entirely unswitched. I assume that will continue to be OK? Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 18:36
  • 1
    I didn't do the original wiring. One of the three outlets is switched, the other three are always hot. I'd like them all to be hot. There is another set just like this that's controlled by the same switch. That can either stay the same or be always hot as well.
    – smRed
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 18:51

1 Answer 1


Wow, I'm getting a headache just looking at that mess. This person went to extremes to avoid wire nuts, and made aggressive use of the notoriously flaky "back stab" connections in the quest to avoid wire-nuts. This adds, I count, 5 unnecessary connections. So buy some red wire nuts and some black and white solid THWN-2 #12. We're getting rid of all that noise.

However, the setup as-it-is has done a good job of matching wire colors to functions, so we're going to make full use of that. Color codes will be:

  • Black = Always-hot
  • White = Neutral
  • Red = Switched-Hot

Pigtail those receps on the bench

Normally we advise "Don't tear everything apart", but this time - yes, do that. Unscrew the red wire from the right recep, but leave that attached to the left recep. All other wires, remove them from the receps. If you're willing to work there on your knees, you can leave ground attached to the right recep (that one's a little complicated to remove).

Now, I want you to attach pigtails as follows:

To the left recep: Put a black pigtail on the same side as the red pigtail, but on the other brass screw. Also, put a white pigtail on a silver screw (either one).

To the USB recep: Put a black pigtail on the brass screw, and a white pigtail on the silver screw.

Now you match color to color.

Now, aside from grounds, you have 2 black 2 white 2 red coming out of the wall, and 2 black 2 white 1 red coming from receptacles. Join all the blacks on a red wire-nut.. Join all the whites on a red wire-nut. Join all the reds on a red or yellow wire-nut.

And you're done.

So easy when it's color coded!

Now it's true, it's possible to make splices on the recep itself. But you also saw how messy that makes things. This, you can understand, right? So will the next person. Onward power only goes through 1 splice instead of 6. And you get to do the pigtailing on the bench!

  • 1
    Thank you - If I'm understanding the new wiring correctly, that'll leave the switched receptacle as is (not hot). I would like all receps in this set of four to be hot. I realize it's confusing because I'm talking about a total of 8 receps: 4 in this box and another 4 in a separate box 10 ft away which is wired exactly the same way and controlled by the same switch. I don't really want to change anything on the other box and want it to still operate with the switch, although if I have to lose th switch altogether that's fine too.
    – smRed
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 19:07
  • 1
    @smRed Oh, okay. Then the recep where I told you to leave the red wire alone, remove the red wire and replace it with black. That recep will now have 2 black wires on that side. There's another way to do that, but that's the simplest. Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 19:43
  • 2
    I'm giving him a gold star for taking pictures. Can you imagine if he took it all apart with no pictures and then said "help"?
    – JACK
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 20:55

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