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Old 02-11-2010, 11:07 AM   #1
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HALP! Master/Remote Dimmer troubles!


Hello All!

I have 5 75W cans in my Master Bath controlled by 2 switches. I purchased a Master/Remote Dimmer combo (Pass & Seymour/legrand Leandro series - 600W) to replace these two switches, so when I get up at night to do my bidness I don't feel like I'm walking on the surface of the sun.

When I pulled the existing switches, each one had a Black (hot - common), a Red (traveler?) and a White wire, which appears to be colored black (or the insulation somewhat darkened toward the switch - does this indicated that it too is a traveler?) - along with grounds. On one switch, the Red and Black are on the same side of the switch. On the other switch, the Red and Black are on the opposite side (which I would expect, making me think this circuit is wired with power through the lights, something like this:

http://www.homeimprovementweb.com/in...ch-option4.htm


Someone feel free to tell me if I'm wrong about that.

Here's where I'm getting confuserated: The Master Dimmer has 4 wires: Black, Red, Yellow, and a Ground. The Remote Dimmer also has 4: Black, Grey, Yellow and a Ground. Here is the schematic I received with the Dimmer Kit (there are no white wires with these dimmers: I'm assuming that's a low-voltage application, or inductive load or something):



So far, I have only succeeded in making the Master Dimmer responsive: the Remote has done nothing. What is the right way to wire these dimmers with the circuit I have?

The Master Dimmer works when I attach the Black Dimmer wire to Black (hot); the Yellow to Red (traveler?); the Darkened White (also a traveler - hot?) to Red, and the Ground to Ground....but:

I also have to have the Remote wired (Remote wire color mentioned first): Black to Black and Darkened White; Yellow to Red, Grey and Bare Ground to Ground. Configured this way, the Remote does nothing - though, if I disconnect the Darkened White from Black (hot), the Master no longer works either.

I cannot figure out where I'm screwing up. Here is a picture of each location (you can see the dimmers in the background, with grounds attached):

Chosen Master Dimmer Location:


The wires have quite a bit of paint on them, but the white one has definitely been "Sharpied" with a black coating.

Chosen Remote Dimmer Location:


In this picture, the Sharpie Blackened White wire is on the left; the Black is toward the rear, and the Red is foreground right. Who can tell me exactly what wire is supposed to go where?

Thanks!

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Old 02-11-2010, 12:59 PM   #2
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HALP! Master/Remote Dimmer troubles!


Given an original 3 way switch setup, it is typical for the white wire in a threesome to be either a traveler or the hot feed. For both of these situations each end should be darkened with Magic Marker or have a band of red or black tape put on it.

When changing over to a master slave switch setup, the white wire is disconnected from both switches and turned into a neutral by having the end where the power feed is located connected to the power feed neutral there.

Take away botn old switches before connecting up the new dimmers.

Try connecting the black wire to the black pigtails coming out of both dimmer switches and also to power.

Connect the red traveler to the yellow pigtails coming out of both switches.

Connect the red pigtail coming out of the main dimmer to the light (black wire).

Connect whites excluding the darkened one together at the main dimmer box.

Connect gray to both the ground coming out of the switch and the cable ground wire at the remote dimmer box.

From the looks of the instruction diagram, you don't need to use the blackened white traveler. Tape both ends and carefully curl them up at one side of the box.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-11-2010 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 02-11-2010, 03:51 PM   #3
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HALP! Master/Remote Dimmer troubles!


AllanJ: thank you for such a prompt response! A couple of follow up questions:

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Given an original 3 way switch setup, it is typical for the white wire in a threesome to be either a traveler or the hot feed. For both of these situations each end should be darkened with Magic Marker or have a band of red or black tape put on it.

When changing over to a master slave switch setup, the white wire is disconnected from both switches and turned into a neutral by having the end where the power feed is located connected to the power feed neutral there.
I'm confused (again) by this statement, particularly in context with what you mention last (which is that the white wire is not needed, and that I should cap the ends and curl them up in the box). The only white wires in this project are the blackened ends coming from the box. Are they to be capped, as you mention at the end, or is it to be turned into a neutral - and if so, how can I tell which end is the power side? Based upon the circuit diagram in my link, am I correct in saying that 3-way switch #2 is the side to which AC is delivered? Can this only be determined with a voltage meter?

Quote:
Take away botn old switches before connecting up the new dimmers.

Try connecting the black wire to the black pigtails coming out of both dimmer switches and also to power.
This too throws me. Isn't it the black wire that is the power wire? Which one would it be if not the black wire?

Quote:
Connect the red traveler to the yellow pigtails coming out of both switches.

Connect the red pigtail coming out of the main dimmer to the light (black wire).

Connect whites excluding the darkened one together at the main dimmer box.
OKAY: here's the disconnect. I don't have a white wire anywhere, except the darkened white one (which appears on both ends of the circuit).

Quote:
Connect gray to both the ground coming out of the switch and the cable ground wire at the remote dimmer box.

From the looks of the instruction diagram, you don't need to use the blackened white traveler. Tape both ends and carefully curl them up at one side of the box.
I hope you can bounce back to me with some clarification, as - due to the fact that there is no white wire to be found - this can't be how it's hooked up.

HALP!

Last edited by Confuserated; 02-11-2010 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:28 PM   #4
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HALP! Master/Remote Dimmer troubles!


Something tells me you might be unable to hook up this dimmer kit. You need both a hot and a neutral in at least one of the switch boxes to make the dimmers work and when you said there are no whites besides the one with the blackened ends, that means there might be no neutral at either of the switch boxes.

Are there any other wires in the boxes besides those shown in your pictures?

Can the remote dimmer control do everything that the "master" control can do? If so here is one possible solution to not having a neutral at either switch. Install the master unit in the ceiling next to the light and use two remote units, one at each switch box.

Detail: When I said take away the old switches, put a label on each wire end so you can reconnect it the way it was if need be.

About the black wire that is the power, a 3 way switch setup must have two black wires at at least one of the boxes, one to bring the power in and the other to go between the switches. The second black is typically in the same cable in a red-black-white combination.

About curling up the ends of the white wire with blackened ends, that version of the hookup does not need to use that wire at all.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-11-2010 at 06:36 PM.
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:54 AM   #5
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HALP! Master/Remote Dimmer troubles!


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Something tells me you might be unable to hook up this dimmer kit.
I think you may be correct. I would think some 3way Dimmer Kits could utilize existing 3 way wiring, though - right?

Quote:
You need both a hot and a neutral in at least one of the switch boxes to make the dimmers work and when you said there are no whites besides the one with the blackened ends, that means there might be no neutral at either of the switch boxes.
I got the Master to work on the circuit - but the Remote had to be hooked up a certain way, and it was unresponsive (other than the fact that the dim red LED was lit up on it).

Quote:
Are there any other wires in the boxes besides those shown in your pictures?
Nope.

Quote:
Can the remote dimmer control do everything that the "master" control can do?
No. I cannot change the preset dimming levels from the Remote; I can only "one-click" to arrive at the preset level. The preset needs to be programmed at the Master.

Quote:
If so here is one possible solution to not having a neutral at either switch. Install the master unit in the ceiling next to the light and use two remote units, one at each switch box.
Meh. Fugly. lol

Quote:
Detail: When I said take away the old switches, put a label on each wire end so you can reconnect it the way it was if need be.
I got pics!

Quote:
About the black wire that is the power, a 3 way switch setup must have two black wires at at least one of the boxes, one to bring the power in and the other to go between the switches.
My understanding is that either the blackened white wire served that purpose, or the red wire did.

Quote:
The second black is typically in the same cable in a red-black-white combination.
I can't tell what wire combinations are sheathed together, unfortunately.

Quote:
About curling up the ends of the white wire with blackened ends, that version of the hookup does not need to use that wire at all.
Unless the blackened white wire can serve as the "traveler" hot black wire, I thought.

Here is advice I received from another source - tell me what you think:

Quote:
The red wire is your remote signaling wire. It will run between the two yellows just as you have it. The black wire coming into the master needs to be a hot leg at 120V. It sounds like it is but you might want to check it. Now here is where your install goes downhill. The red on the master needs to connect with the black wire AT THE LIGHT. The red wire is the on/off power for the light. You can't tie them both together at the black wire on the remote. The black wire on the remote wants a 120V hot leg just like the master did. In your configuration you cut the power to the remote every time you turn off the light. The remote might work to turn the light off in its current configuration, but you'll never be able to turn it back on from the remote because there will be no 120V at the black wire at the remote any more.

Ok, the bad news is to make this work you have to take the light down and you NEED TO KNOW which 3 wire comes from which switch up at the light.
To fix this:
1. Turn off power at the breaker.
2. At the light, take the white wire from the 3 conductor cable from the master and connect it to the black wire for the light. The white wire that goes to the slave should be left unconnected and capped off. We don't need it.
3. At the light, Take the black wire you disconnected from the light in step 1 and connect it to the same wire the black wire in the 3 conductor cable from the master switch is connected to. (You should end up with three black wires connected together, the 120V feed coming into the light and a black wire in each of the two 3 conductor cables.)
4. Optionally you can go back to the slave and disconnect and cap off the white wire.
5. You're done.


I highlighted in red the sentence that confused me. I'm assuming he means that I have to pull down the first can in the series in my ceiling, and change the circuit to essentially be a single pole circuit controlling 5 cans, and turn the second switch location into 1 hot black wire, and one travelling wire to the Master (so that the Remote Dimmer is literally just a Remote Control for the Master, I suppose). Do I have that correct?

This strikes me as a major PITA. Isn't there a Dimmer Kit that simply works on the existing 3 way wiring in place?
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:46 AM   #6
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HALP! Master/Remote Dimmer troubles!


Given exactly three wires coming into each switch box ...

The cables from each switch box go up to one or more of the light boxes as described in the fine print you quoted.

Are you sure there is nothing but red, yellow, black, and ground coming out of the master dimmer? Is the ground a bare wire or a screw?

You will need to find out up at the light box which 3 wire cable goes where. Also, you need to find out whether the 3 wire cables connect to the light. If the red, white, and black of two three wire cables are connected to nothing except each other respectively, then they just pass through the light box and you don't want to touch them. Go to a different light box where the 3 wire cable ends connect to other things and do your connection work there. Again, label each wire or take a picture before disconnecting anything.

Choose your master dimmer location.

About what you quoted in red, "The red on the master needs to connect with the black wire AT THE LIGHT."

This means that the red wire coming out of the master dimmer needs to connect with the black wire going into the light (other black wires may be tied to the lattter too). Use the black wire in the 3 wire cable for this (what you quoted in fine print suggests using the white wire which is not recommended).

Up at the light box connect the two red wires going to the switch boxes to each other with to nothing else. This becomes the signal line that the yellow wires on the master and remote connect to. (Caution, there may be other red wires in the box too thus the need to know where each cable is going.)

Up at the light box there is only one wire remaining going to the master dimmer. It is white. Connect it to the black going down to the remote dimmer and also to the power (red or black not connected to the light fixture).

The white wire going to the remote dimmer has not been connected so far. It is not needed. Tape the ends and curl them off to the side of the box.

Connect the grounds as described in the instructions (at the remote dimmer connect the gray to the ground too.)
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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-12-2010 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 02-12-2010, 10:03 AM   #7
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HALP! Master/Remote Dimmer troubles!


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Given exactly three wires coming into each switch box ...

The cables from each switch box go up to one or more of the light boxes as described in the fine print you quoted.

Are you sure there is nothing but red, yellow, black, and ground coming out of the master dimmer? Is the ground a bare wire or a screw?
The wire configurations for both switch boxes are identical: one black, one red, one blackened white, and a bare copper grounding wire. My goal now, it appears, is to locate the can that the main power feed enters, and splits. I then have to turn this circuit from a true 3 way configuration into a single pole switch, with a remote attached to it. That remote requires 3 wires if I'm not mistaken: (1) Black (always hot); (1) traveler/signal wire from the Master Dimmer, and (1) Ground.

Quote:
You will need to find out up at the light box which 3 wire cable goes where. Also, you need to find out whether the 3 wire cables connect to the light. If the red, white, and black of two three wire cables are connected to nothing except each other respectively, then they just pass through the light box and you don't want to touch them. Go to a different light box where the 3 wire cable ends connect to other things and do your connection work there. Again, label each wire or take a picture before disconnecting anything.

Choose your master dimmer location.

About what you quoted in red, "The red on the master needs to connect with the black wire AT THE LIGHT."

This means that the red wire coming out of the master dimmer needs to connect with the black wire going into the light (other black wires may be tied to the lattter too). Use the black wire in the 3 wire cable for this (what you quoted in fine print suggests using the white wire which is not recommended).

Up at the light box connect the two red wires going to the switch boxes to each other with to nothing else. This becomes the signal line that the yellow wires on the master and remote connect to. (Caution, there may be other red wires in the box too thus the need to know where each cable is going.)

Up at the light box there is only one wire remaining going to the master dimmer. It is white. Connect it to the black going down to the remote dimmer and also to the power (red or black not connected to the light fixture).

The white wire going to the remote dimmer has not been connected so far. It is not needed. Tape the ends and curl them off to the side of the box.

Connect the grounds as described in the instructions (at the remote dimmer connect the gray to the ground too.)
Okay - so it appears that my impression as written above is correct then - right?

I'll keep you posted. Either that, or look for news stories of a deep fried homeowner.
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Old 02-12-2010, 10:53 AM   #8
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HALP! Master/Remote Dimmer troubles!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Confuserated View Post
I then have to turn this circuit from a true 3 way configuration into a single pole switch, with a remote attached to it. That remote requires 3 wires if I'm not mistaken: (1) Black (always hot); (1) traveler/signal wire from the Master Dimmer, and (1) Ground. :
Yes.

The master has three wires,
1. Red from the box connected to yellow of the dimmer for traveler/signal,
2. Black from the box connected to red of the dimmer to feed the lights, and
3. White (blackened) from the box connected to black of the dimmer for power.
Plus ground.

The remote has the following,
1. Red from the box connected to yellow of the dimmer for traveler/signal,
2. Black from the box connected to black of the dimmer for power (always hot),
Plus ground connected to gray of the dimmer also.

Caution: If you make an incorrect connection up at the light, you probably won't end up with deep fried homeowner but you can end up with deep fried dimmer.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-12-2010 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:37 PM   #9
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HALP! Master/Remote Dimmer troubles!


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Yes.

The master has three wires,
1. Red from the box connected to yellow of the dimmer for traveler/signal,
2. Black from the box connected to red of the dimmer to feed the lights, and
3. White (blackened) from the box connected to black of the dimmer for power.
Plus ground.

The remote has the following,
1. Red from the box connected to yellow of the dimmer for traveler/signal,
2. Black from the box connected to black of the dimmer for power (always hot),
Plus ground connected to gray of the dimmer also.

Caution: If you make an incorrect connection up at the light, you probably won't end up with deep fried homeowner but you can end up with deep fried dimmer.
LOL - I got it working. Here's the insanely irritating thing: I had it wired correctly the very first attempt I made. The Remote Dimmer, though, didn't do anything at first, and I can only guess that the preset dimmer level at the Master was so low that I didn't see anything happen when I clicked the Remote at first. Clicking it twice brought it up to full. Apparently I don't have to screw with any connection at the cans, which would have been a huge PITA, and made me itchy from the insulation.

I can now fully control the circuit from both locations. Praise da Lawd, and thanks for your persistent help, Allan!!
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Old 02-12-2010, 03:30 PM   #10
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HALP! Master/Remote Dimmer troubles!


This is what I think you had up in the ceiling.

Reds to both switch boxes were a traveler, works perfectly well as the signal line for the yellow leads of both dimmers.

Blacks to both switch boxes were a traveler, works perfectly well as the power source for the black leads of both dimmers.

White (blackened) at the master box feeds the lights, you connected it correctly to the red lead of the master dimmer.

White (blackened) at the remote box is the power source, when connected to the black, it feeds power to both dimmers.

If somebody else eavesdropping has a similar setup, he cannot rely on the color matching here because the red, white, and black wires in his setup may be assigned/used differently. It is even possible for one traveler to be red at one end and white at the other end, for example.

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