12:39PM | 05/29/04
Member Since: 05/28/04
4 lifetime posts
Well, at least it's challenging to me. I've been doing simple electrical projects for years now (moving an outlet, adding a switch, etc.), and I have yet to burn down my house, but this one has me stumped.

I just finished installing some undercabinet xenon lights, and I wanted to tap into some nearby switches for power. The two existing switches were installed when my home was built in 1997, and control a ceiling fan and a ceiling fan light. They function normally. My intent is to leave the ceiling fan light switch alone, and install a new switch in place of the switch that controlled the ceiling fan that will control both the ceiling fan and the xenon lights (the fan and the xenon lights will be controlled separately as there are two rocker switches on this new switch).

Okay, hang with me here. Including the new wire I just installed, there are four wires coming into this switchbox. Since I can't draw a picture here, I will do my best to describe with words. Wire 1 has three wires coming out of it -- Red, Black (that appears to have been painted white), and White. We will call those 1R, 1B and 1W. Wire 2 has three wires -- 2B (which I have confirmed is hot), 2W and a ground wire, 2G. Wire three has 3B, 3W and 3G, and Wire 4 has 4B, 4W and 4G.

All ground wires are connected to a wire nut, WN3, and there is a pigtail going from WN3 into the ground pole on the new switch that I'm installing.

1R goes to the top pole of the ceiling fan light switch. 2B goes to the bottom pole of this same switch, and then goes on to a wire nut, WN1. More on what else goes into WN1 later.

1W, 2W, and 3W all are connected together in a wire nut, WN2.

1B (remember, it looks like it might be painted white) I have connected into the non-power side of the new switch. Lets call that Switch2A.

I have 4W connected to the other non-power side of the switch on that same new switch. Lets call that Switch2B.

This means that 1B and 4W are connected to two logically separate switches.

4B is connected to one of the power poles on the right hand side. Both of these are connected together as they have a tab spanning them. From the other power pole, I have a wire going to WN1. Into WN1 I also have 3B, so in all, WN1 has three wires coming into it.

Connected in this fashion, the ceiling fan, and the ceiling fan light work just fine (as they did before), but the new xenon lights don't work at all.

While it is possible that the xenon lights don't work, it is doubtful. They are brand new. Also I have these wired correctly -- white to white, black to black and ground to ground.

Can someone please help me with this challenging problem?


01:15PM | 05/29/04
Member Since: 05/28/04
4 lifetime posts
Oh, one more thing. I did try to connect WN2 to the Switch2B (in addition to having 4W connected to Switch2B), and that was not a good idea. It tripped my main breaker.

Thanks in advance for your help.


03:18AM | 05/30/04
Member Since: 05/28/04
4 lifetime posts
$20 via paypal if someone can help me resolve this problem today (5/30/04).


06:41AM | 05/30/04
Member Since: 05/28/04
4 lifetime posts
I figured it out on my own. Had to sit down and slowly trace each circuit, but I figured it out. Thanks.
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