Odd behavior when binding to bulb

Ok, thanks. Do you have a meter to do a couple tests?

Based on what I’m seeing, without looking at the switch box yet, I am thinking the hot and neutral comes into the receptacle box at the bottom. The hot is sent to the switch via the black 3-wire at the top. The neutral is sent to the switch box via the white from the 3-wire at the top, connected via the two screws on the neutral side of the receptacle.

Would like some voltage tests to confirm. If I am correct, the black and the red of the 3-wire going to the switch box are connected to the switch. This sends the switched hot back to the receptacle via the red.

Looks like this, maybe, untested, receptacle side only:

So I don’t have a multimeter, just one of those Klein pens that tell you if it’s hot or not. Got a recommendation for a multimeter?

It really doesn’t have to be anything fancy. For this, you really only want to know if you have 120VAC or 0 VAC between two conductors.

Klein makes good stuff. A lot of my tools are Klein. My meters are Fluke. But don’t spend a lot of money just for this.

The reason a meter is better than the non-contact tester is the meter allows you to test between two conductors so that you can confirm a neutral (or ground) is present.

For now, if you remove the wire nut and separate the two conductors, you should find that the one coming from the bottom is Hot and the one from the top is not hot.

When you have a meter, you will test between the two conductors (still wire nut off and separated) coming from the bottom. You should get 120 VAC. I would then test between the conductor coming from the bottom that had been under the wire nut and the metal box and you should get 120VAC (presuming your box is grounded).

Post back and once you have tested. It is equally likely that power can be coming from a switch or from the receptacle.

Will do. Gonna try and hunt down the multimeter today and check it tonight. My guess is wire going out bottom of the box runs back to the panel and that outlet is the first link in a chain that runs to multiple other rooms, but we shall see!

Hi @Bry, sorry for the delay, took a bit to get my hands on a meter.

Your assumptions are correct - with the nut separated, the bottom one is hot, and the top one is cold. I also tested between the two wires coming out of the bottom and i do in fact get 120VAC. The test to the metal box yielded basically nothing, but given stuff i’ve encountered in the rest of the house i wouldn’t at all be surprised if the box isn’t grounded. Lotta “DIY Under the Hood” in this house, i’ve discovered.

Thanks again for all your help, i want you to know i really appreciate it. This is above and beyond!


No problem. Glad to help.

I am on my phone right now so please refresh my recollection. Regarding the switch box, it is a single gang and the only switch, right? Also in that switch box, is just the three wire going into it or are there more conductors?

You remember correctly - Single gang box, single switch, three wires coming into it at the bottom, two leave it at the top.

Okay thanks. So it appears that the hot is being sent from the receptacle box to the switch box via the black and white on the three wire. For now, we have to presume that the three wire and the receptacle box is the same three wire you are seeing in the switch box. Since there are no other switches for this receptacle, that is a reasonable presumption.

Remove the switch from the switch box and leave the conductors capped off for now. In other words, take the wires off of the switch and put the switch aside.

At the receptacle box, remove the red wire from the brass screw side and cap it off. Take the two black wires that were capped together and attach them to the two screws on the brass screws. You advised that the receptacle is not split, so you should now have a receptacle that is hot 100% of the time. Double check to confirm.

Interestingly, that didn’t appear to work. I did as you described, and the outlet doesn’t operate the lamp i plugged into it to test. Interestingly, i also noticed that everything after the switch and outlet in that series (the lights in my bathroom, the outlet in the living room, etc) are also “cut off” now. i’ll double check everything that i did in the meantime but just wanted to give the initial report as soon as i could.

Something that just occurred to me - right now the two wires are connected to the outlet and everything else is capped off individually - should I be wire nutting the two white leads together since they were originally “connected” via the receptacle?

Did you try BOTH outlets in the receptacle? You said that the receptacle is not split, but I suspect it is. If that is the case, only one outlet go work, and everything downstream will not work.

Yep, I tried both - no joy. I also just double checked and it’s definitely not split:

Did you put the two neutrals back on the other side?

Ah, I did not. I’ll go do that now and report back. Apologies, I can design a network with my eyes shut but I’m clueless when it comes to electrical. Thanks for the patience!

VICTORY! Once i attached the two neutrals back to the other side the outlet started working. Both outlets are now permanently on, regardless of the absence of the switch.

What’s next? :smiley:

Ok, so in the switch box, find the red wire from the 3-wire and cap it. So now that conductor is capped on both sides and is unused.

The two remaining wires on the 3-wire are your hot and neutral. They have to be connected two places:

1 - To the 2-wire in the switch box (which is feeding downstream stuff), black to black and white to white. Are these pairs presently connected? They probably were before and should continue to be.

2 - You will need two pigtails, one black, one white, to connect to what is described in #1, black to hot and white to neutral. The other end of those pigtails will connect to the Inovelli switch. Hopefully you can see the colors on the fabric, but you should also test. To find the hot, you can try testing with a meter between the black and the box, but if that box isn’t grounded either, that won’t work. If it doesn’t try you non-contact pen. It should chirp on the hot only, not the neutral.

This will permanently power the Inovelli. It has no physically attached load, which is good since it had been connected to a receptacle (which is bad). You can now control the smart bulbs(s) plugged into that receptacle, or elsewhere, via either binding or scenes.

We’re in business! Omg I can’t possibly thank you enough. Everything’s showing up properly, no flickering, control works, we’re golden!

Thank you so much!

(Now I just have to replicate this in two other rooms lol) :wink:

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We need awards that we can give out like on Reddit. @Bry could not have worked through this any better. If we had recognition awards, I’d give you one right now! lol