03:47PM | 05/14/08
Member Since: 07/07/06
75 lifetime posts
I have a light fixture in a walk in bedroom closet that does not work. I check the light blubs and they are fine. I assumed I had a bad switch. The switch controlled one one light ( the closet) . I removed the ols switch and and sure I repaced the wiring like it was. However I found strange that there were four wires. One was for the ground, 2 were back stabbed into the light switch and one was connected on the side the switch.

I did something wrong. When I turn on the switch the recessed light in bedroom go on. There no other electrcity in the room. The recessed light to don respond to the correct switch

The lamps and clock radio do not work . The closet lights do not work. What did I do wrong ? thanks for the help


12:11AM | 05/15/08
Member Since: 01/09/07
197 lifetime posts
Presumably these were all black wires (except the grounds). You don't mention the white wires; they were probably all connected together and shoved into the back of the box.

My guess is that you have a circuit where power comes into the box from the main panel, and then goes 2 places. One goes through the switch and up to the light it controls. The other goes to the outlets in the room that the clock radio, lamps, etc. are plugged into. This one is unswitched, it is supposed to be always powered.

The original electrician used a shortcut; since the switch has two connectedg terminals (the backstab one and the screw on the side), he used that as a junction point. [Modern practice would be to use a short pigtail wire to the switch, and then connect that, the wire to the unswitched outlets, and the incoming power wire all together with a wire nut.]

What you have likely done is accidentally switched a couple of these wires. It's fairly easy to do, especially as your new switch may not have connections at the same place as the old one.

To fix this, you can try just switching the wires around. (There's only about 3 or so possibilities to try.) Or the proper way to do this is to actually identify the wires. Start by looking at the cables that come into the box. There are probably 3:

- the incoming power cable.

- a cable going thru the switch and out to the light.

- a cable (unswitched) going out to the outlets in the room.

Identifying the incoming power should be easy -- disconnect all the wires, and it's the one where the black & white wires light up your tester. Once you've identified that, it should be easy to identify the others -- connect them one at a time to the power wire, and see what then becomes powered.

Note -- this assumes all the wires on your switch were black. If not, don't do this -- you have a different circuit. Post here again, giving more details about the cables coming into the box, and the colors of the wires involved.


09:29AM | 05/15/08
Member Since: 07/07/06
75 lifetime posts

Thanks so much for your help. Before going to work I changed the wire from the lower side screw to the upper side screw and I managed to get the bedroom lights back on and the wall plugs. The closet light is still out. The only i can thing to do is switch the postion of the stabbed wires . I see a visit from my electricasn in my future. thanks T


04:23PM | 05/22/08
Member Since: 07/07/06
75 lifetime posts
I still can get the closet lights .

I correct the problem of the closet switch opening the main lights.

Any idea how to fix this



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