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Old 10-11-2008, 06:50 PM   #1
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Help with dimmer switch and ceiling fixture


I blew my dimmer switch while changing the ceiling fixture.

Now I have replaced with a new dimmer switch, and wired it just as the old one (one black wire to the black, one black wire to the red) and it won't work.

What am I doing wrong?

I shorted it changing the light fixture, but have reworked the light fixture, which was working when I flipped the breaker but wouldn't turn off, so I figured the problem was with the dimmer, right?

Help!
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Old 10-11-2008, 07:05 PM   #2
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Help with dimmer switch and ceiling fixture


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Originally Posted by Janice MacDonald View Post
I blew my dimmer switch while changing the ceiling fixture.

Now I have replaced with a new dimmer switch, and wired it just as the old one (one black wire to the black, one black wire to the red) and it won't work.

What am I doing wrong?

I shorted it changing the light fixture, but have reworked the light fixture, which was working when I flipped the breaker but wouldn't turn off, so I figured the problem was with the dimmer, right?

Help!
Did you by chance happen to buy a three way dimmer instead of a single pole dimmer? By the way... that circuit shouldn't have been hot when you were working on it...
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:00 PM   #3
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Help with dimmer switch and ceiling fixture


No, it's a single pole dimmer.

BTW, it wasn't hot when I was working on it...it shorted when I threw the breaker.
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:11 PM   #4
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Help with dimmer switch and ceiling fixture


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Originally Posted by Janice MacDonald View Post
No, it's a single pole dimmer.

BTW, it wasn't hot when I was working on it...it shorted when I threw the breaker.
When you say you reworked the fixture, do you mean that you found the short and cleared it, or do you mean that you changed the wiring in the light box? Tell us what you have as far as wiring in the ceiling box and the switch box.
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:21 PM   #5
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Help with dimmer switch and ceiling fixture


I was changing the light fixture. I took out the old chandelier, and was wiring in the new fixture, but screwed up.

I wired white to white, black to black and then couldn't figure out what the red wire was. The diagram showed the grounder wired to a grounding wire coming out of the ceiling, so stupid me, I figured that was it...I wrapped it around the grounding screw, and then twisted it up with the red wire.

I went down to throw the breaker.

My husband heard a loud pop and then smelled ozone, and the lights went off.

I shut off the breaker.

Someone told me, oh no, wire the red wire to the black fixture wire, and white to white.

I did that.

The lights came on when the breaker went on, but we couldn't turn them off at the switch, leading me to believe I'd fried the dimmer.

So I went and bought a new, single dimmer, put it in just like the old one had been wired up (black to black and black to red) and replaced it.

When the breaker was put on, the light won't turn on at all.

And that's where I'm at now.

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:28 PM   #6
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Help with dimmer switch and ceiling fixture


I think something is wired wrong at the light box. You say you have a red wire in the light box? Take the switch out, and wire the two wires going to the switch together. If the light works, you know you have a bad switch. If it still doesn't work, then you have to change something in your box wiring.
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:37 PM   #7
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Help with dimmer switch and ceiling fixture


okay...tomorrow, I hook the black wire to the red wire in the switch box, and then go and flip on the breaker, and if the lights go on, then there's something wrong wiht the new dimmer I bought, but if they don't go on, then there's something wrong with the wires themselves?...oh lord.

Thank you.

can an electrician fix that, if that's the case? Or have I just screwed the entire dining room for light?
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:43 PM   #8
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Help with dimmer switch and ceiling fixture


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Originally Posted by Janice MacDonald View Post
okay...tomorrow, I hook the black wire to the red wire in the switch box, and then go and flip on the breaker, and if the lights go on, then there's something wrong wiht the new dimmer I bought, but if they don't go on, then there's something wrong with the wires themselves?...oh lord.

Thank you.

can an electrician fix that, if that's the case? Or have I just screwed the entire dining room for light?
Yes an electrician can fix it, but what I mean is, if you have changed how any of the wires were attached to each other somewhere, then you could have caused the problem. But the wires themselves aren't likely to be damaged. Let's start at the switch. Try bypassing the switch tomorrow, then we'll know more.
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:46 PM   #9
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Help with dimmer switch and ceiling fixture


Thanks so much...

You know, I called my father-in-law in Alabama today for advice. I guess somehow I knew advice would be available from around there!

g'night!
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Old 10-12-2008, 09:39 AM   #10
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Help with dimmer switch and ceiling fixture


Well, I took off the dimmer and put the red and the black together, but nothing happened.

Now what?

I am thinking...the dimmer is fine.
The light fixture is fine (it was on but unable to turn off, when the old blown dimmer was still hooked up).

Something in the way I am wiring the new dimmer is off?
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Old 10-12-2008, 09:44 AM   #11
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Help with dimmer switch and ceiling fixture


Quote:
Originally Posted by Janice MacDonald View Post
Well, I took off the dimmer and put the red and the black together, but nothing happened.

Now what?

I am thinking...the dimmer is fine.
The light fixture is fine (it was on but unable to turn off, when the old blown dimmer was still hooked up).

Something in the way I am wiring the new dimmer is off?
Look inside the switch box and describe exactly what you have in there. Tell us what wire comes from what cable and how they are connected.
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Old 10-12-2008, 09:47 AM   #12
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Help with dimmer switch and ceiling fixture


By light box, you mean the outlet on the ceiling?

Or the switch?
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Old 10-12-2008, 09:51 AM   #13
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Help with dimmer switch and ceiling fixture


There are three white wires, twisted together and capped off.
There is a copper wire on its own at the back of the box.
There are three black wires, capped with a small stretch of single black wire coming out to meet the dimmer wire.
There is a single red wire, which was also attached to a black dimmer wire.
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Old 10-12-2008, 09:58 AM   #14
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Help with dimmer switch and ceiling fixture


Quote:
Originally Posted by Janice MacDonald View Post
There are three white wires, twisted together and capped off.
There is a copper wire on its own at the back of the box.
There are three black wires, capped with a small stretch of single black wire coming out to meet the dimmer wire.
There is a single red wire, which was also attached to a black dimmer wire.
It sounds to me like your light at the ceiling box needs to be connected to a white wire and a red wire. Ok, so what wires do you have in the ceiling box? And do you have a meter for testing voltage?
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Old 10-12-2008, 10:02 AM   #15
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Help with dimmer switch and ceiling fixture


in the ceiling box there is a white wire, a black wire and a red wire.

There is no grounding wire.


IN the light fixture, there is a white, a black and a grounding wire.

At first I accidentally attached the ground wire to the ceiling red wire, and that's what caused all the problems.

I have since attached white to white, red to black fixture, ground wire to grounding screw, and capped the black wire in the ceiling and left it alone.

Thing is...it seems to me all three (black and white and red in the ceiling box) were attached to the previous light fixture, but that light was so old it didn't have black and white wires at all....just two gold plastic coated wires, and one uncoated wire. So I don't know.
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