Latest Discussions : Electrical & Lighting

ARiche503

12:15PM | 07/20/09
Member Since: 07/19/09
8 lifetime posts
I'll make this as simple as possible. I wanted to take the light switch on the left (pictured below) and replace it with the one on the right. This switch controls both the light and the fan but they never operated separately and both would come on with the flip of the switch...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v730/ck_503/1.jpg

I started to connect the new switch. Inside the wall, all of the wire, neutral wires are tied together. There are some black wires bundled together too but there's one black wire that is loose from the bundle for attaching to the switch. The copper wires are bundled the same as the black.

This leaves me with 2 black wires, a copper ground wire, and a red wire which I don't know if it's a hot wire or a traveler.

I started to connect it as shown below and have tried many different combos but nothing seems to work. Any suggestions is GREATLY appreciated as I have a wife nagging me to get this done. Please use laymen's terms when describing what I need to do.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v730/ck_503/2.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v730/ck_503/3.jpg

ARiche503

12:16PM | 07/20/09
Member Since: 07/19/09
8 lifetime posts
let's try the pics again...
8660 pics

ARiche503

12:17PM | 07/20/09
Member Since: 07/19/09
8 lifetime posts
here's how I wired it.
8661 pics

ARiche503

12:18PM | 07/20/09
Member Since: 07/19/09
8 lifetime posts
last pic from other side.
8662 pics again

doug seibert

03:37PM | 07/20/09
Member Since: 08/10/02
842 lifetime posts
It looks like you have purchased a "special" combo switch.......A Combination 3-way and single-pole switch

The Combo you wanted was TWO single-pole switches.......

You may be able to use what you have....

The Power Feed (Black)is attached to the side with the jumper....your pic 3

The remaining Red and Black return power to the fan/light.....each gets connected to One screw in Pic 2

(On the top three-way switch you'll have to determine which of the two screws to use to get the switch to work.......the other screw will remain empty)

And a comment on workmanship.....don't leave excess bare wire exposed.....clean and tight

"......measure Once.....cut Twice....

throw that one away and cut a new one...."

ARiche503

04:25PM | 07/20/09
Member Since: 07/19/09
8 lifetime posts
First off, there are 2 black ones...one leads back to a cable that the red wire is coming from so I'm assuming that's the fan's cable. The other black wire runs back to a set of bundled wires which leads back to a cable that has the white neutral wires also bundles on it so I'm assuming that's the hot wire.

I took the hot black wire and attached it to the top "common side" screw of the switch as you said.

I then took the red wire and black wire (which both come from the same cable inside the wall) and attached them both to the top screw on the opposite side of the screw.

It still doesn't come on though.

The ground, copper wire is also attached at the bottom of the switch where needed but I'm wondering if it's not connecting.

There are 3 ground wires bundles together with a wire nut but when I took the nut off, I noticed that they don't twist together like normal wires do because of their thickness. You can see in the pic that they are just pushed together closely when the nut goes on....is that enough to actually help bring current for the ground wire? Do I need to twist them together at the bundle?
8664 update

doug seibert

05:14PM | 07/20/09
Member Since: 08/10/02
842 lifetime posts
It all sounds good until:

""I then took the red wire and black wire (which both come from the same cable inside the wall) and attached them both to the top screw on the opposite side of the screw."" see pic

If YOU have it wired this way and we Ass-U-me everything-else was connected as my post......the fan vs light would alternate ON when the top switch is moved L and R......Fan ON Light OFF/Fan OFF Light ON......Is that what is happening ?

"......measure Once.....cut Twice....

throw that one away and cut a new one...."

ARiche503

05:27PM | 07/20/09
Member Since: 07/19/09
8 lifetime posts
no, I have it wired just as shown in the pics above and nothing is happening...not a light flicker nor the sound of the fan working at all.

I'm wondering if it's the copper ground wires like I mentioned above.....

doug seibert

06:01PM | 07/20/09
Member Since: 08/10/02
842 lifetime posts
Do you have a tester......VOM ?

For NOW....Leave out the switch......just wirenut the two Black wires and the Red and restore the power??????????Talk to us.....

...light and fan should be operating.....

At the moment.....the ground wires are not needed to operate the devices

Your handiwork is extremely sloppy....keep the wires under the screws.....no copper showing.....

This is the bathroom.....does a GFCI feed this ?

"......measure Once.....cut Twice....

throw that one away and cut a new one...."

ARiche503

07:42PM | 07/20/09
Member Since: 07/19/09
8 lifetime posts
Yes, it is a GFCI unit.

That's nice and all about the wires but I'm looking for a solution. I'm keeping the breaker off until I get this working.

Can you tell me if I at least did the configuration right minus the copper showing on the wires?

doug seibert

02:29AM | 07/21/09
Member Since: 08/10/02
842 lifetime posts
""Can you tell me if I at least did the configuration right""

.....NO it is WRONG....

I suggested a safe TEST to determine IF the wiring (without switches)was set-up as we ASSUMED and WORKING !

DO YOU HAVE ANY TEST EQUIPMENT .....VOM.....neon test light ???

IS the Fan and Light in the same unit?

(1)...Switches Make/Break the HOT wire....

(2)...Devices feed from a GFCI must be "neat" ......any mis-wire or Ground to neutral contact and the GFCI will trip or fail to reset....

(3)...IF as you say.....NOTHING works when the circuit is energized "as-is".....then you have NO POWER supplied to the swithes at the moment ....that's why we test......

(4)..."Electricity is an Equal-Opportunity Killer"

"......measure Once.....cut Twice....

throw that one away and cut a new one...."

LarryG

01:46PM | 07/21/09
Member Since: 07/22/04
649 lifetime posts
unbelievable

ARiche503

05:46PM | 07/21/09
Member Since: 07/19/09
8 lifetime posts
Do you realize that is was the previous occupants who wired this and not me?

I would like help/suggestions without all of the negativity please.

doug seibert

06:08AM | 07/22/09
Member Since: 08/10/02
842 lifetime posts
Thanks for all the kind words.....hmmm!

Troubleshooting is difficult from here....with a tester in Venice it could be determined in about 10 seconds.....

We KNOW how the switch should be wired....

Look at the new switch....it's actually two separate switches with the right jumper the only COMMON.....the HOT connects to the right.......each switch Top and Bottom...has it's own output....RE: Red wire top/Black wire bottom

opps, you bought the wrong combo switch .....you can make this work but it will require testing to determine which one of the top screws to use.......

BUT that's not the problem here.....you have no power at the box....if you did SOMETHING should have worked in the last picture......so the upstream GFCI is a likely culprit......MAYBE it's all the sloppy wiring causing the GFCI to trip/or in the case of ground/neutral fault.....the GFCI will fail-to-reset....Na-Da

Nork Safe....work neat....be nice...come back

"......measure Once.....cut Twice....

throw that one away and cut a new one...."

LarryG

01:39PM | 07/23/09
Member Since: 07/22/04
649 lifetime posts
or got it working.

at any rate he never thanked anyone for their free help.

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mcg122

04:01PM | 01/01/16
Member Since: 01/01/16
1 lifetime posts
WOW!
I was just looking for some info on wiring a bathroom fan and came across this. Whenever the poster said "that's nice and all about the wires" and then again when he pointed the finger at the former owner, I figured that you guys were going to let him have it when I went to the next page. It's very nice to see the professionalism, patience, and kindness you displayed eve though he was being a jerk about it! Nicely done! I'll be sure to check back here when I have DIY questions!!


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