Latest Discussions : Electrical & Lighting

morceau

10:44AM | 10/27/05
Member Since: 10/26/05
2 lifetime posts
I put in a dimmer in my dining room (just off the kitchen), and now the light over the sink doesn't work. Could there be some kind of loop that I interrupted by putting in the dimmer? There seemed to be a few extra wires in the switch box........ by the way, this is a newer house, built in '95.

househelper

10:57AM | 10/27/05
Member Since: 03/31/05
265 lifetime posts
You probably disconnected the power out wires at the switch box with the dimmer. Can you put all the wires back together as they were BEFORE you installed the dimmer?

morceau

05:57AM | 10/28/05
Member Since: 10/26/05
2 lifetime posts
Unfortunately, it was quite some time ago, and I can't recall how they were. I'm sure I'll learn from this, but in the meantime....


JonathanGennick

07:07AM | 10/28/05
Member Since: 11/02/02
69 lifetime posts
I recently used the continuity test function on my multitester to sort out some wiring. I had been replacing some three-way wall switches, and I had neglected to take note of the travelers when pulling out the old switches. Oops! To sort that out, I disconnected all the wires in the switch boxes, and in the ceiling box to which the light fixture was attached. Then I tested the continuity across each combination of wires from the two wall-switch boxes. When I had continuity, I knew that I had a wire that ran from one wall box to the other (i.e. a traveler).

You might be able to do the same sort of thing to sort out those "left over" wires in your wall switch box.

Be sure to cut the power first. And be sure to disconnect all the wires that you are testing. I wouldn't leave them connected to the switch, because if your switch is on that could throw off your results.

When you disconnect wires in a box containing LOTS of wires, it helps to label them so that you know how they go back together. That is how I kept my ceiling box sorted out. That box had two pigtails in it, with four wires each. All the wires in one pigtail, I flagged w/green tape, and I used yellow tape to mark those in the other. I also marked separatly the two wires that went to the light fixture. I should have done the same thing in the wall boxes, but I wasn't thinking, I guess, and that's why I ended up having to sort out the travelers as I've just described above.

Jonathan Gennick
" target="blank">http://gennick.com




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