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I'm trying to wire an outlet off a switch. I want it to stay constant power. How do I do that? I've tried every which way I can think of! Any way I wire it I have low power going to the outlet, the light I have plugged into is dim, and also it seems to be feeding back because the lights the switch operates are still on (very very dim) after switch is turned off! I have attached a picture as best I can show.

enter image description here

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    You need to run a second line from the source to the outlet.
    – TylerH
    Dec 6, 2021 at 23:04
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    Put down the tools. Don't touch wires if you don't understand how they work. Learning while doing is how you end up dead, or killing your family.
    – J...
    Dec 7, 2021 at 14:25
  • Also consider that many locations treat "lighting" circuits different to "heating" (ie, sockets) so creating an outlet that is on a circuit labelled and designed as lighting could contravene local code requirements. There's always the risk some future user connects a 2400W heater to this outlet at night when lights are in use and overloads it.
    – Criggie
    Dec 7, 2021 at 21:19

3 Answers 3

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You don't (with traditional wiring). It's possible with smart switches.

There's no way to get there from here with traditional wiring. The switch does not have "hot and neutral", those two wires are "always-hot" and "switched-hot for the lamp". Yes I know one is white, but that does not make it neutral.

Modern Code requires that white wire have black electrical tape or other markings to make it clear.

As George says, never, ever, ever experiment with electrical. Obviously you'll stop when you find the first combination that "works". But there are lots of combinations which "will work, and then kill you". Learn how (not that hard if you're patient) and do it right.

Now, if you are willing to go to smart switches and smart bulbs or modules, such as Insteon's system, then you CAN do it. You have to rewire everything so that in all locations, black=always-hot and white=neutral. The smart switch then controls the smart module/bulb wirelessly. The module sits up in the lamp dome; it's supplied always-hot and neutral and outputs switched-hot to the lamp.

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What you have is commonly called a "switch leg". The switch turns on power to the fixture and turns it off. You'll need to run an additional cable to your outlet to get it continuous power. Sorry, but you can't get there from here.

Also, and trying not to be rude, but you clearly don't know what you are doing and experimenting is a very bad thing to do when it comes to line voltage electricity. And, once again, as much I hate to say it, given your post and apparent lack of experience, you might need to call in a pro. Sorry.

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Sorry, but this is what you need.

This assumes that the upper-right wire is a live line.

enter image description here


If that 12/2 wire has a ground then you could do something illegal but I'm not gonna tell you what...

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    LOL at your answer! Yeah, we don't go there! I put electrical work in my mind into 3 categories: 1) It works, but it's not safe and not code legal, 2) It's safe and works, but not code legal and 3) It works, it's safe and it's code legal (which all of us here hopefully strive for) Thanks for your humorous answer! + Dec 6, 2021 at 20:43
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    Hah, I'm glad someone got a kick out of it! =)
    – MonkeyZeus
    Dec 6, 2021 at 22:34
  • Is running a new wire from the source (light fixture incoming wire) to the switch and having a three point connector bad? One wire for power, one wire to the light, and one wire to the outlet with constant power?
    – Jimenemex
    Dec 7, 2021 at 1:19
  • @Jimenemex, no, that would be fine. This isn't the most common configuration to wire up plugs but it is done in certain cases. Whether it's up to code in your area I can't comment on. Dec 7, 2021 at 10:28
  • @Jimenemex Yes, that is certainly an option assuming you do not exceed the allowed fill of the switch box. Every fixture box is a legal junction box so your idea is fine assuming that it's easier than what I presented. Albeit my image is not an end-all-be-all, it's main purpose is to show that a dedicate live wire is needed in OP's situation.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Dec 7, 2021 at 12:38

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