Author Topic: Help replacing switch  (Read 481 times)

starguru

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Help replacing switch
« on: June 30, 2018, 07:53:35 AM »
I’m replacing a single switch with a dimmable switch.  I’ve turned of the power.  The current box has 2 black weed, one of which does not appear to be attached to anything.  I’ve attached a picture. 

I’m assuming the wires are

Black (in switch) carries power.
Red (in switch) returns power.
Plain brass (in switch) ground
Loose black?

Any help appreciated.



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« Last Edit: June 30, 2018, 07:59:20 AM by starguru »

sokoloff

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Re: Help replacing switch
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2018, 08:17:07 AM »
Probably was wired for three way (multiple switches controlling) originally.

If that black wire was loose before you pulled the switch, that's a clear indication of prior hack working on it, so many bets are off. It looks like it may have previously been in the push in terminal under the black screw.

Start by verifying white (neutral) and bare copper (ground) are all connected securely.

Then, you can use wire nuts or even alligator clips temporarily to connect various configurations of wires (and operate other nearby switches in the house) to figure out what's going on, turning power on and off as needed.

On the switch, it's rare to see a red without either have a three way switch or a split outlet (where half is switched and half always on.

starguru

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Re: Help replacing switch
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2018, 08:28:14 AM »
Probably was wired for three way (multiple switches controlling) originally.

If that black wire was loose before you pulled the switch, that's a clear indication of prior hack working on it, so many bets are off. It looks like it may have previously been in the push in terminal under the black screw.

Start by verifying white (neutral) and bare copper (ground) are all connected securely.

Then, you can use wire nuts or even alligator clips temporarily to connect various configurations of wires (and operate other nearby switches in the house) to figure out what's going on, turning power on and off as needed.

On the switch, it's rare to see a red without either have a three way switch or a split outlet (where half is switched and half always on.
I’m an idiot.  There is another switch also controlling these lights.  I have it so the other switch works but there is a loud buzzing.  The switch I put in doesn’t work without the other switch on.


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Papa bear

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Re: Help replacing switch
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2018, 08:35:08 AM »
That's a 3 way switch. Do a quick google image search for how they should hook up. A three way switch is when you have 2 switches that control one light or set of lights.  Do you know where the other switch is?

I do not use the push connectors on the backs of outlets - they tend to come loose as this one did. 

Do you have a non contact voltage detector?  If you don't, run to the hardware store and buy one. While this looks like a standard 3 way wiring from the picture, I have seen crazier things in a box where there were multiple circuits, wrong wiring, etc.  make sure you check each wire for power! You don't want to be zapped.



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Papa bear

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Re: Help replacing switch
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2018, 08:36:12 AM »
Probably was wired for three way (multiple switches controlling) originally.

If that black wire was loose before you pulled the switch, that's a clear indication of prior hack working on it, so many bets are off. It looks like it may have previously been in the push in terminal under the black screw.

Start by verifying white (neutral) and bare copper (ground) are all connected securely.

Then, you can use wire nuts or even alligator clips temporarily to connect various configurations of wires (and operate other nearby switches in the house) to figure out what's going on, turning power on and off as needed.

On the switch, it's rare to see a red without either have a three way switch or a split outlet (where half is switched and half always on.
I’m an idiot.  There is another switch also controlling these lights.  I have it so the other switch works but there is a loud buzzing.  The switch I put in doesn’t work without the other switch on.


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Sorry - just saw this. You need to probably pull the other switch off and make sure that's wired correctly too.  They should both work independently.


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starguru

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Re: Help replacing switch
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2018, 08:50:07 AM »
Ok I changed the two blacks and now both switches work and the dimmer works, but there is a buzzing.   I have to take be kid to a lesson but will be back at this later.    I will buy a non contact gizmo as recommended above.


Could the wiring be the cause of the buzzing if both switches and the dimmer work?


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sokoloff

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Re: Help replacing switch
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2018, 09:30:51 AM »
You probably need a 3-way dimmer then (one that supports dimming only at that location, but that supports on-off from either location).

Buzzing can be unrelated. Not all dimmers are compatible with all lighting loads.

starguru

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Re: Help replacing switch
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2018, 09:53:59 AM »
You probably need a 3-way dimmer then (one that supports dimming only at that location, but that supports on-off from either location).

Buzzing can be unrelated. Not all dimmers are compatible with all lighting loads.
Cool thanx.  I’ll try another dimmer


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Papa bear

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Re: Help replacing switch
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2018, 10:05:07 AM »
What kind of lights do you have? Incandescent? Led? Fluorescent?

You may need a fancier dimmer if you have dimmable LED, fluorescent usually don't dim. Incandescent, shouldn't be a problem.


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starguru

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Help replacing switch
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2018, 10:18:44 AM »
You probably need a 3-way dimmer then (one that supports dimming only at that location, but that supports on-off from either location).

Buzzing can be unrelated. Not all dimmers are compatible with all lighting loads.
Cool thanx.  I’ll try another dimmer


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Hmm the switch says for three way setup.   Could it be the lights?

Edit to add these are leds

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« Last Edit: June 30, 2018, 10:22:15 AM by starguru »

Papa bear

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Re: Help replacing switch
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2018, 10:49:51 AM »
Make sure you buy a dimmer that can handle led lights.  It should be about $20.

And your led lights need to be dimmable as well.


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starguru

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Re: Help replacing switch
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2018, 11:23:36 AM »
Make sure you buy a dimmer that can handle led lights.  It should be about $20.

And your led lights need to be dimmable as well.


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Yes they are.  This is the dimmer I got.



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starguru

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Re: Help replacing switch
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2018, 11:24:58 AM »
Make sure you buy a dimmer that can handle led lights.  It should be about $20.

And your led lights need to be dimmable as well.


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Yes they are.  This is the dimmer I got.



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