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Old 03-08-2013, 09:11 AM   #1
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Bathroom lights not fully powered


I am working on a relatives bathroom and I am having some problems with the electrical. There is a 20 amp breaker in the breaker box, a 12-2 wire comes off to a combination switch in the bathroom. From there it goes to a recessed light with a 30 amp bulb, then to another recessed light with 30 amp bulb, then to a 30 amp light with a exhaust fan above the shower and then to two 60 amp light bulbs in the middle of the bathroom. The old switch that was in the bathroom worked fine, but I took it out and replaced it with a new combination switch and now the bulbs are all dim and the fan will start up and then shut off. The lights will brighten a little and then go dim and keep cycling like that over and over. I am not sure if it is just too much hooked up. Is there something that I can do without running all new wires? Thank you for your any help.

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Old 03-08-2013, 09:54 AM   #2
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Bathroom lights not fully powered


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Originally Posted by tcfls2 View Post
I am working on a relatives bathroom...
The old switch that was in the bathroom worked fine,
but I took it out and replaced it with a new combination switch and now...
Start by going back and UN-doing what you've done.

In the course of that note how the the room has (had) DIFFERENT wires (14ga) at that old switch and old light compared to what is at the receptacle.

Look for how the power for that old light comes to the fixture
and NOT the switch (as it will in 99,875% of old homes); and how the
"switch leg" is what you have at the switch itself.
---

Then look into how the exhaust fan/light was powered.
This is the likely gremlin depending on how competent the installer was.

The fan/light should ALSO be on the 15A (14g) lighting circuit but often isn't. It can be on the 20A (12ga) receptacle circuit (if wired correctly) but the two circuits should never be mixed as you have probably have with the "combination" added.

That should keep you busy for a while.

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Old 03-08-2013, 10:34 AM   #3
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Bathroom lights not fully powered


The power does come from the box straight to the switch, because I have tested it. The light fan combo is just fed off of the second recessed light. They are all just connected to the last switch and I was suspecting it is pulling too much power and is just killing the rest of the lights. Will I have to run another line from the breaker box to a switch and then to the fan light combo in the shower?
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Old 03-08-2013, 10:35 AM   #4
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Bathroom lights not fully powered


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Originally Posted by tcfls2 View Post
I am working on a relatives bathroom and I am having some problems with the electrical. There is a 20 amp breaker in the breaker box, a 12-2 wire comes off to a combination switch in the bathroom. From there it goes to a recessed light with a 30 amp bulb, then to another recessed light with 30 amp bulb, then to a 30 amp light with a exhaust fan above the shower and then to two 60 amp light bulbs in the middle of the bathroom. The old switch that was in the bathroom worked fine, but I took it out and replaced it with a new combination switch and now the bulbs are all dim and the fan will start up and then shut off. The lights will brighten a little and then go dim and keep cycling like that over and over. I am not sure if it is just too much hooked up. Is there something that I can do without running all new wires? Thank you for your any help.
How many cables are in the combination switch box ? You seem to know which 12/2 is coming from the breaker panel. So you have the incoming power cable and ..... ????

As you know you have made a wiring error at the new switch you installed, this is assuming you didn't do anything at the light fixtures.

BTW the bulbs are watts not amps .....
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Old 03-08-2013, 10:40 AM   #5
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Bathroom lights not fully powered


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Originally Posted by tcfls2 View Post
The power does come from the box straight to the switch, because I have tested it. The light fan combo is just fed off of the second recessed light. They are all just connected to the last switch and I was suspecting it is pulling too much power and is just killing the rest of the lights. Will I have to run another line from the breaker box to a switch and then to the fan light combo in the shower?
OK ... you are now confusing me .... Lets us know everthing you did with the lights. Sounds like you rewired everthing and maybe new fixtures also ??

Or was there a problem your trying to figure out ? You said everthing worked until you replaced the combination switch.

Is this a switch and receptacle combination or is the switch two switches ?
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Old 03-08-2013, 10:43 AM   #6
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There is the wire coming from the breaker box and the wire going to the first recessed light. That is all that is in the switch box. On the switch I have both neutrals going to the silver screw, I put two pig tails on the black(hot)cable, one is going to the brass screw and the other is going to the black screw for the recepticle on the combo switch, and the black cable going to the light is on the other black screw. I did break off the tab, so that I could have constant power going to the outlet. I am not sure how the old switch was hooked up, but I did see he had a wire connecting the neutral and ground together, I am not sure why it was like that. I haven't messed with any of the light fixtures. Sorry I meant to say watts on the bulbs.
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Old 03-08-2013, 10:54 AM   #7
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Bathroom lights not fully powered


You didn't need to break the tab but since you did .. connect the two hot pigtails to the black screws and the switched hot to the light on the brass screw leave the whites but you should only have one white wire under the screw so a pigtail will work. See if this helps you ....

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Old 03-08-2013, 11:39 AM   #8
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BTW you should consider not working on other peoples wiring relatives or not....
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:25 PM   #9
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Bathroom lights not fully powered


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I am working on a relatives bathroom and I am having some problems with the electrical. a recessed light with a 30 amp bulb,
I am not surprised your having problems !
30 amps at 120v = 15600W.
Thats not a light, thats a light house !


I hope you mean 30 w bulb ?
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:24 PM   #10
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Bathroom lights not fully powered


A bathroom outlet without a GFI. Hmm.
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:39 PM   #11
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Bathroom lights not fully powered


This is a DIY site, but sometimes DIY'ers need to have basic knowledge to do tasks....

I should add that if you don't own the house, you should not be doing electrical work........but, that is your decision and call, your liability. I know I would wire my grandmothers house myself before I let her touch the wiring.

Electrical can cause devastation and fires......vs. plumbing that can can just make it a little wet........
Have fun with plumbing, try it yourself.......but electrical, you should be 100% sure what your doing before attempting......

I do suggest you.............
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:39 PM   #12
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Bathroom lights not fully powered


Sorry I did mean to say 30 watt light. It is actually my mother-in-laws house. I was just wanting to help her out, because the person who did it also connected a new front loading dryer with a 12/2 wire to a 20amp breaker. He connected the black and white to the hot and the ground to the neutral. The black wire melted at both ends. I know a couple electricians that work for the same company as I do, so I am going to give them a call to look at it. Thanks for the help.
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:01 PM   #13
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Bathroom lights not fully powered


Did you get the problem sorted ?
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Old 03-08-2013, 10:37 PM   #14
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Bathroom lights not fully powered


No I have tried it the ways that were suggested but the lights just stay really dim. I am going to just get an electrician. It just bugs me because I am sure it is something simple that I am missing that will end up costing me. Thanks for all the help.
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Old 03-08-2013, 10:49 PM   #15
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Bathroom lights not fully powered


What do you have in the way of test equipment ?
Do you have a non contact tester ?
Better still a volt meter ?
Have you tested the voltage on the hot line
at the switch ?
What does it read with the light on ?

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