Electrical Wiring in the Home/Bedroom outlet wiring

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Question
After painting our bedroom, I wanted to update our electrical switch and outlets as they were 23 years old.  We do not have a ceiling light in the room, so the switch is set up to turn power on and off to the top receptacle of each outlet around the room.  Our lamps are plugged into the top of the outlets and therefore can be turned on & off by the switch.  The bottom plugs have power all the time.  I replaced the one switch and all 6 outlets.  I was careful to wire each one just the same as the one I was replacing each time.  Now, the top & bottom of each outlet have power all the time.  The switch will not control power to the top of the outlet like before.  I completely unhooked the switch from the power and the outlets still all work.  I don't know what I did to cause the change.

Answer
Robert Wilber
Licensed Philadelphia Electrician
Philadelphia License # 3516 - 16765
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LIFE SAFETY WARNING! [disclaimer]
Electricity is dangerous!
You can be injured or killed!
Improper installations can cause fire, injury and death!
Are you qualified to do this work?
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National Electrical Code definition, NFPA 70 2008 Article 100: Qualified Person. "One who has skills and knowledge related to the construction and operation of the electrical equipment and installations and has received safety training to recognize and avoid the hazards involved."
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Electricity is fire in a box!
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Always check with the local “Authority Having Jurisdiction” for an official interpretation before making installation decisions.
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In Philadelphia, it is unlawful for anyone except an individual licensed by the City of Philadelphia to install electrical equipment and wiring.
Homeowners are not allowed to install wiring.
The owner of any property wherein any such installation is discovered shall be issued a violation by the Department of Licenses and Inspections.
The limited exceptions include replacing devices and fixtures at existing outlets.
Contact the Department of Licenses and Inspections for more information.
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You are more likely to be killed by 120 volts than any other voltage [120 volts creates the PERFECT fatal current through the human body's electrical resistance!]
TURN THE POWER OFF WHEN WORKING!
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LIFE SAFETY WARNING! [disclaimer]
This information is provided for the use of parties as they see fit!
I am not responsible for the application of this information by any party, including those lacking sufficient skill or knowledge to perform these steps safely and any hazard created is the SOLE responsibility of the user.
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Well, I guess you didn't wire them quite the same then ... but, no problem!

I suppose you don't have the old devices any more? That's okay.

If you look at the receptacle, where the screw terminals are located, you can see that there are two brass screws threaded into little plates. These plates are joined together by a small bridge of metal with rather delicate connections to the plates. If you had the old receptacles, you would notice that this bridge has been removed on the ungrounded or "hot" side, isolating each of the two terminals from the other.

Break that bridge out by rocking it back and forth with a needle-nosed pliers and it will restore the isolation that allows partial switch control. It will only work if you do it to all the receptacles that have both hot and switched feeds connected.
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Electrical Wiring in the Home

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Robert Wilber

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Licensed Philadelphia electrician serving Delaware, Chester, Montgomery and Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania. I install and repair residential, commercial and industrial wiring and lighting. Troubleshooting and repair of problems that stump other people is my favorite. I am willing to help people figure out why things don`t work. I understand motor controls, transformers and machine wiring. I do not teach basics to novices or do free design work.

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Experience in the area I have 44 years experience in residential, commercial and industrial electrical construction and repair, 480 volts and below. This is not to be confused with one week repeated two thousand times.

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44 years experience in residential, commercial and industrial electrical construction and repair

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