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LWagner0222

12:25PM | 06/07/08
Member Since: 06/06/08
9 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
I have a switch box with 2 - 3 gang toggle switches (for a total of 6 switches controlling 4 seperate bathroom lights, an exhaust fan and ceiling heater. I am replacing them with 2 new 3 gang rocker switches. The old 3 gangs switches have a brass screw on each individual switch for L1 and L2 wires (total of 6 screws). The new 3 gang rocker (Leviton Combination 3 switches) have 3 brass screws for L2 (or out wire to the light source), but only one black screw on the other side marker "Common" for the Live wire. It also has a green screw for a ground wire (which the old switches didn't have. The set up was with the old: blue and white wire into the box. White wire in joining 3 white going out, twisted with a wire nut and pushed in the back (which I won't need to touch). The In Blue wire comes in, wraps around each of the 3 screws (wire stripped only at each screw) of the first 3 gang and into a wire nut. From the wire nut a new blue wire continues to the 2nd 3 gang, wrapping around each of the 3 brass screws (again, wire stripped only at the screw point) before continuing out and up into the wall. All light sources worked perfect... Until I switched the old for the new. I followed the same set-up with the new, only covering all but 2 areas of the blue wire with electrical tape, connecting the blue wire at a the stripped point with Common Screw of each of the 2 new Gang Switches. I also added 2 green pigtails wires to ground each switch to the METAL box. This didn't work. Hit the power at the electrical box and something caused the switch at the main box to trip (a short somewhere). I consulted an electrician friend and he said to replace the old blue wire a few inches from where it comes IN (removing the section of the blue wire that had been stripped to accommodate the 6 screws on each of teh 2 - 3 gangs. I did this and still the switch at the main box tripped as I pushed it back to ON. BOTTOM LINE: Each switch as a wire leading out to the light source/fan or heater. Each has a ground wire from the switch to the box and each of the two gang switches has a live wire connected from the Blue wire IN and continuing out.

Any help, advise, suggestion would GREATLY be appreciated.

Your Truly,

Re-Wired in Chicago

LarryG

04:56PM | 06/07/08
Member Since: 07/22/04
530 lifetime posts
could be that you had a short before that you didn't know about.

try disconnecting the new pigtail grounds (temporarily)and see if it stops tripping the breaker,then post back and tell me what happened when you did.

LWagner0222

05:59PM | 06/07/08
Member Since: 06/06/08
9 lifetime posts
Thanks for your quick response. I really appreciate it. However, I disconnected the pigtail grounds and went back to the electrical box to hit the power, and got the same response from the switch - it goes on, but trips. I've since tried several runnings of the blue wire, as I read other hints from similar frustrated people as me on similar matters. But nothing. The main box switch keeps tripping when I go back to resupply the power.

Any additional suggestions are welcome.

LarryG

03:44AM | 06/08/08
Member Since: 07/22/04
530 lifetime posts
start from scratch.take the switches out. leave the wires disconnected.then engage the breaker.see if it stays untripped.if it does then turn it off.then using a continuity tester see if any of the outgoing wires to the lamps,fan,heater is giving zero ohms to ground.

also another thought is are you sure the new switches a 3 single pole and not a three way device? this i doubt but it's a possibility of a bad switch also.

post back.

LWagner0222

08:28AM | 06/08/08
Member Since: 06/06/08
9 lifetime posts
I disconnected the switches, as you suggested and hit the main power. The main switch again tripped. And, yes the new 3 rocker switches are single pole (Leviton Combination 3 switches - item 1755: http://www.amazon.com/Leviton-004-1755-a-Three-Rocker-Switches/dp/B0006DNQWA)

This URL shows the switch on amazon (although I bought them at Home Depot)

I can't understand why this one "simple" project has gone wrong. I've installed the new rockers switches elsewhere in my new home without any trouble. This one switch box with 6 switches has stumped me.

I've attached a photo (if it comes thru) of the current hook up. In this it shows the box and wires with the switches removed - although pictured next to the box. What you're seeing is the blue wire coming in from the bottom left, a new blue tied into a wire nut and stripped at one point for the switch before reaching another wire nut. The next piece of wire continues for the 2 switch (again stripped at one point) before connecting to the out wire leading up and out top right. I've also tried pigtailing 2 new sections of blue wire at the entry point wire (3 wires with wire nut) with each separate piece of wire to each individual switch before connecting to the out piece of wire with another nut. The green wires are the new pigtails I added to connect to the green screw on the new switches.

Any additional thoughts? Thanks again for your continued help.
8229-still_trippin

LarryG

08:35AM | 06/08/08
Member Since: 07/22/04
530 lifetime posts
seperate the incoming and outgoing blue and see if that changes anything.

LWagner0222

08:42AM | 06/08/08
Member Since: 06/06/08
9 lifetime posts
Disconnected the blue in and out wires at the middle nut, hit teh switch at the main again and still trippin.

LarryG

08:44AM | 06/08/08
Member Since: 07/22/04
530 lifetime posts
do you feel comfortable with removing the cover of the breaker panel?

LarryG

08:57AM | 06/08/08
Member Since: 07/22/04
530 lifetime posts
are you sure it's tripping and not just failing to reset?

LWagner0222

09:01AM | 06/08/08
Member Since: 06/06/08
9 lifetime posts
the switch moves to the on position, but then clicks half way back.

And, yes I am ok with removing the panel. What am I looking for?
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