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Old 08-24-2012, 11:37 PM   #1
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Fixing a Dim Bulb


Hi all,
I have two lights on one switch, and both bulbs are very dim.

I have a feeling that they are wired in series. If I remove one light and connect the wires, the remaining light goes to full brightness. I've tried a few things (mostly ending with a tripped breaker), and I'm not sure what to do now. Is it possible to run them in parallel without crawling up into the attic? Any ideas on how to fix this?

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Old 08-24-2012, 11:46 PM   #2
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Fixing a Dim Bulb


It does in fact sound like they are in series.

Not sure what your doing wrong to trip the breaker.....just wire them in parallel.

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Old 08-24-2012, 11:47 PM   #3
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Fixing a Dim Bulb


This is how they are wired now.
Fixing a Dim Bulb-bridged-wires.jpg

Last edited by w.black55; 08-24-2012 at 11:48 PM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:12 AM   #4
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Fixing a Dim Bulb


Your sketch does not make sense....any chance of posting some actual pics of the setup?
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:18 AM   #5
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Fixing a Dim Bulb


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Originally Posted by w.black55 View Post
Hi all,
I have two lights on one switch, and both bulbs are very dim.

I have a feeling that they are wired in series. If I remove one light and connect the wires, the remaining light goes to full brightness. I've tried a few things (mostly ending with a tripped breaker), and I'm not sure what to do now. Is it possible to run them in parallel without crawling up into the attic? Any ideas on how to fix this?

Do you understand the word " switch loop " ?

One thing when you bridged the black et white on incomming power side you will trip the breaker no question asked.

So let start here .,

Which spot where the power is comming in and where is the switch is located ?

What colour you have at the switch itself is black et white or two blacks or what ??

At the luminarie first thing at the first luminarie when you got it run full brightness that part you will wired in parallel not in series.

So let me post a photo what it look like to give you some idea.



Now that photo is for single luminarie for two luminaries just run black to black on second luminarie while white luminaire to white conductor to second luminaire

If you are not sure you can post your photo here we can assit you on that one.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 08-25-2012, 08:56 AM   #6
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Fixing a Dim Bulb


Did you install those wires yourself? Or were they already that way when you moved into the house?
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:38 AM   #7
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Fixing a Dim Bulb


What you are describing is the bulbs wired in series. You want them wired in parallel, which is the way 99% of line voltage electrical wiring should be.

Forgive my drawing of egg looking light bulbs. The ground wire was eliminated from the pic to lessen confusion and details.

The purple arrows show the flow of electricity. It flows through the hot, and returns through the neutral. Therefore, when you remove the one bulb in the series example, the other goes out. This is because the power has nowhere to flow. Another example would be a Christmas light stand. Remove one bulb, the rest goes out, or at least half the strand depending on the length. This is due to the bulbs being around 1.5-3v each. Adding all the bulbs in series causes them to be equal, and allow them to run on 115v-120v if wired with the correct voltage and amount of bulbs.

In the parallel picture, which is how it should be, each bulb is independent. It flows through its own hot, and out through its own neutral, eventually going back to the "main" hot and neutral.

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Old 08-25-2012, 11:57 AM   #8
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Fixing a Dim Bulb


Wow guys thanks for all the replies. Here are some pictures to lessen the confusion. This is the way I found the wires when i bought the house.
I dont know if you can tell from this picture but there are three sets of wires entering in
Fixing a Dim Bulb-light-one.jpg
This is the second light fixture. Just one wire.
Name:  light two.jpg
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And this is how the switch is wired.
Name:  light switch.jpg
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Size:  19.5 KB
Thanks in advance for all your help. You are men among men.
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:31 PM   #9
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Fixing a Dim Bulb


that first box is ugly in the worst sense of the word. Also i think i see aluminum and copper mixed which is also ugly and a fire hazard. I don't see where the first light and the second light have a wire between them, the wire types don't match up. I think there's a junction point somewhere along the way. Probably buried in the attic.
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Old 08-25-2012, 02:25 PM   #10
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I pulled it all apart and identified the hot wires, but im not seeming to get anywhere.
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Old 08-25-2012, 04:02 PM   #11
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Fixing a Dim Bulb


in your switch, can't see what the jacket is on the wire coming in the right hole, but I'm guessing its the same jacket as the wires in the old light box. The wire coming in the left side of the switch box has the same jacket as the blue box wire, if this is true then from what I can see the wire from the blue box drops into the switch, which originally was a "switch loop" as described in another post. If you tie the white to the black in the blue box the light on the old box works .... correct? (careful, if what I'm thinking is true then the white wire in the blue box is hot)

BTW good photos
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Old 08-25-2012, 04:29 PM   #12
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Fixing a Dim Bulb


I don't see any way for the two lights to work correctly with the wires as is.

Last edited by Gac66610; 08-25-2012 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 08-25-2012, 05:41 PM   #13
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Fixing a Dim Bulb


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Originally Posted by Gac66610 View Post
I don't see any way for the two lights to work correctly with the wires as is.
Ok so i guess i need to fix it. This is an image that i took from the internet and edited. Does this work? I used to think I was pretty good at electrical work for a regular guy, but this... i dunno.
Name:  2-lights-1-switch.jpg
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Old 08-25-2012, 06:10 PM   #14
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Looks good from this angle, Just need a piece of black tape to re-identify the white wire at connection to feed (power) and one at the switch
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:00 AM   #15
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Fixing a Dim Bulb


Just one more thing. If this was wired in series, removing a lamp from either fixture would turn off the other lamp.

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