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Old 11-08-2011, 11:00 PM   #1
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Changing A Double Switch to a single pole switch and a dimmer switch


Hello,

I'm trying to change out a single pole double switch (the kind with two horizontal switches, one above the other), to a regular single pole switch, and a single pole dimmer switch.

The situation I had to start with was follows:

I had a double gang box next to my kitchen sink with a single pole double switch on the left, and a regular single pole switch on the right. The top of the double switch controls a light above the sink, and the bottom controls 3 outlets located inside the upper kitchen cabinets, which feed under-cabinet puck lights. The switch on the right controlled the garbage disposal.


My goal was to accomplish the following:

1. Wire an outlet under the sink for the garbage disposal (currently hardwired).
2. Eliminate the garbage disposal switch, and make the outlet always on, then install a push-button garbage disposal switch (the kind that plugs into an outlet, then goes to a switch by the sink, then feeds the disposal) next to the faucet.
3. Replace the double switch with a regular switch for the light above the sink, and add a dimmer switch for the outlets controlling the under-cabinet lights.

Here is how things were wired before I started:

1. Power flowed into the box for the light above the sink, where the hot (black) wire was connected to a white wire going to the hot side of the double switch (aren't white wires supposed to be marked with black tape/marker in these cases? This one wasn't), and the black wire from the top of the other side of the double switch came back into the box to power the light above the sink when the switch was turned on.
2. The switched side of the bottom part of the double switch was wired to the black wire that runs to the 3 outlets for the under-cabinet lights.
3. Power flowed into the double gang box to the switch for the garbage disposal, where the hot (black) wire was on one side of the switch, and the black wire going to the garbage disposal was on the other side of the switch.
4. 3 White wires were capped together, the two wires for the garbage disposal (incoming and outgoing), and the white wire for the outlets for the under-cabinet lights.
5. That's a total of 4 14/2 wires coming into the double gang box.
6. All the ground wires were capped together.
7. Neither of the two switches had a ground wire attached.

My thinking was I needed to:

1. Install the outlet for the garbage disposal push button switch.
2. Wire the two black wires for the garbage disposal together (the incoming and outgoing), removing the switch entirely.
3. Pigtail the hot (white) wire from the box above the sink, with one wire going to the one side of a single pole switch (the other side of the switch hooked to the black wire going back to the light box), and the other wire going to one side of the dimmer switch (the other side of the switch hooked to the black wire going to the outlets for the under-cabinet lights).

I did this, and checked my garbage disposal outlet, and it was good (on all the time). The under-cabinet lights didn't work though. I checked them with an outlet tester and they appeared to be on. I then checked them with a multi-meter, using a lead in each side of the outlet, and I got nothing. I touched one lead to the small side of the outlet, and the other to the ground wire on the outlet, and it read between 80 and 90 volts.

I thought this was odd, so I checked the garbage disposal outlet, and it read similarly. I then plugged a light into that outlet to test it, and it didn't work.

I thought it was odd that the white wire for the outlets for the under-cabinet lights would be hooked in with the garbage disposal wires, so I removed that from the other two, and tested the garbage disposal outlet again, and this time it read on the meter fine, and powered the light fine.

The outlets for the under-cabinet lights remained the same (with no where to connect their white wire now).

My questions are:

A. Was this setup correct to begin with?
B. Is there a way I can make everything work as described?

Thanks in advance.
-James

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