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I had posted a question earlier (Switch/outlet combo with constant power in outlet?), and although it received thorough answers, they didn't answer the question. I then edited it so that the question was clearer, but that didn't help. I finally asked Meta for suggestions on how to deal with the question, but nobody replied. I ended up selecting an answer and reposting.

I want to wire this regular switch&outlet receptacle so that the outlet is separate from the switch. It will replace the switch in the picture.

The current switch only has two wires.

My question: how can I install the switch/outlet combo so that the outlet has constant electricity?

This is a picture of the current receptacle. The switch/outlet combo will replace it: enter image description here

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  • This looks like a switch loop because there are only two wires. So you probably cannot add an outlet at this location.
    – jay613
    Sep 20 at 19:10
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    What kind of building is this? Just curious, I'm guessing that either you are in Chicago or this is a high rise or commercial building. Either way you are probably not supposed to be doing this yourself.
    – jay613
    Sep 20 at 19:16
  • "Outlet may be wired for switch control or constant power; see instructions for specific wiring diagrams". I don't see a link to the instructions, you'll need to look inside the package. Sep 21 at 17:54
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As it is now, you can't.

An outlet needs a hot and neutral(black and white) plus ground. Your switch only has a hot and a switch hot and maybe ground.

To have an outlet there you need to add a cable from another source that has hot, neutral and ground.

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  • I would need to check, but I'm pretty sure that most outlets in my apartment only have two cables attached. Is it possible to have an outlet with two wires?
    – rbhat
    Sep 20 at 19:29
  • I live in a very old building.
    – rbhat
    Sep 20 at 19:31
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    Having a ground helps to prevent you from frying. Ground could be done with metal conduit instead of wire. Your switch has one hot wire going to it and a switched hot wire going back to a light(or outlet) making a loop. An outlet must have a hot wire and a neutral wire or it will not work. You do not have a neutral wire there.
    – crip659
    Sep 20 at 19:43
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    yes, you can have an outlet with two wires, hot and neutral. Your switch does NOt have a neutral in that box. Your switch has two wires, and as others have stated, these are a hot and a switch hot to complete the hot circuit. The two wires in your outlets are not the same functionally as the two wires in the switch box. Sep 20 at 20:20
  • Standard switches for 15A or less is typically only a switch on hot. Neutral runs directly to the lights. The setup is very standard and I wouldn't expect a neutral to be available.
    – Nelson
    Sep 21 at 3:46
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I'm guessing the wiring is in conduit since you've got two black wires in the box. The conduit probably goes to whatever the switch controls, the source location. At that location, you'll have a hot wire and a neutral.

  • You'll need to pull a new wire (white) from there to the box where you want to install the switch/outlet.
  • Pigtail the new wire to the neutral at the source location.
  • Connect the other end to the neutral screw, probably silver, of your outlet on the combination switch.
  • Connect the hot from your old switch to the common screw of your new switch combo, probably black.
  • Take the load wire from your old switch and connect it to the load side of your new combo switch.
  • If your conduit and box are grounded, then your new combo switch will be grounded after screwing it into the box.

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