I am having trouble connecting a switch to a switched outlet. When wires on the outlet are disconnected like in the picture below, the power disappears in all outlets in the same room as well as in some downstairs.

enter image description here

When both of the black wires on the outlet are connected to its lower half and the red outlet wire is connected to the upper half, both halves get 120V no matter what position the switch is in. A continuity test shows that both red (1) and black (2) wires from the outlet each connect to wires 1 and 2 like they connect with each other somewhere inside the house. Is it supposed to be like that? When I run a continuity test on the other black outlet wire (3), I don't find any wire in the switch that would connect to it. Also, that wire is not hot.

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What I want is the lower half of the outlet to be always hot and the upper part to be controlled by the switch as I have wired a ceiling fixture to the upper half. What is the proper wiring to accomplish this?

  • Some questions that would need some answers before proceeding?
    – Michael Karas
    Commented May 24, 2021 at 1:39
  • a) Was this outlet the existing one? Was it previously always powered top and bottom?
    – Michael Karas
    Commented May 24, 2021 at 1:40
  • b) Is that switch freshly added? If not what was its original function?
    – Michael Karas
    Commented May 24, 2021 at 1:41
  • 1
    You may want to check some of the other outlets. Possibly more than one in the room was switched and the red wire daisy chains from the switch location to another outlet and then to the outlet that you have opened up. If there is another "switched" outlet possibly it never had it's breakaway shorting bar removed.
    – Michael Karas
    Commented May 24, 2021 at 1:56
  • 1
    Open all the other outlets and see of any of the boxes have the red wire cable coming in and then exiting the box.
    – Michael Karas
    Commented May 24, 2021 at 2:09

2 Answers 2


The evidence gleaned from your question and the conversation in comments strongly suggests that the shorting bar between the top and bottom half of a "partial switched outlet" has not been removed. If it has been already removed from the outlet that you have open then there is a strong possibility that there is another switched outlet on that circuit.

The cable in the switch box with the red wire may very well daisy chain to another outlet box before eventually terminating at the outlet box that you have open. Check all other outlets on that circuit to see if you find a box with the red wire cable both entering and leaving the box. Good chance that the shorting bar at that location has not been removed.


The silver colored screws, on one side, are where the neutral conductor goes. The gold colored screws, on the other side, are where the hot wires land.

By default, the upper and lower screws do not correspond to the upper and lower half of the outlet. In order to separate the upper and lower halves, there should be a small metal tab between the gold screws which can be snapped off.

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