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Old 08-29-2012, 05:03 PM   #1
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Help! Door jamb switch saga continues!!!


The door jamb switch saga continues. You all helped me sort out a ground problem on a fluorescent fixture last night (Thanks!!). So, of course, I decided to also replace the switch this morning, and have more weirdness.


The Gardner Bender switch I am trying to install is arcing – a slight light blue/green flash you can see through the plastic switch body - about every fifth time the plunger on the switch is depressed. It is a 16 amp 125 v switch. I called Gardner Bender and the guy was helpful, but indicated my wiring sounded so weird I should be tripping breakers.


So I need you guys again. Here is what I have:

1) A single romex cable going into the switch box. When the switch is “out”, my current sensor shows nothing on either the black or white wire I have connected to the switch (just like I found it) and the light is on. Depress it, the light goes out and the sensor shows hot on the black wire in the switch box.



2) Two romex cables go into the light fixture. White are nutted together. Ground are also nutted together. I added a ground to the light fixture last night based on your advice.


3) In the light fixture, one black is tied to the black wire in the fluorescent light (this was the way I found it when I removed the old light - I marked it and used the same one). This black goes to the ballast, and is showing hot on the sensor whether the switch plunger is depressed or not.


4) The other black is tied to white in the light fixture (again, the way I found it). This black only shows hot with the plunger depressed, and the light out.


The Gardner Bender guy indicated I should see two black wires going to the switch. And that because there is a white neutral involved, I am seeing arcing. Again, it does not arc every time, and just does a faint flash every fifth time or so the plunger is depressed.


Any thoughts or help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks folks!


(You all helped me figure out an open neutral last week:

Light only works when lead is wired to ground?

....really hoping this is not something similar!)


Last edited by dhartlein; 08-29-2012 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 08-29-2012, 05:15 PM   #2
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Help! Door jamb switch saga continues!!!


With only one cable at the switch you need to wire it as a switch loop. The black incoming power at the fixture needs to splice to the white going to the switch. The incoming white goes to the white from the ballast. The black returning from the switch goes to the ballast black.

The white should be re-identified as a hot with black tape or magic marker.

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Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.

Last edited by Jim Port; 08-29-2012 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 08-29-2012, 05:20 PM   #3
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Help! Door jamb switch saga continues!!!


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Old 08-29-2012, 05:24 PM   #4
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Help! Door jamb switch saga continues!!!


Jim and Joe, that makes sense to me. Thanks, I will wire it up that way in the morning, and really appreciate the help. How in the world has it been working like this for 10 years? Can you all make sense of the wiring that is there? Thanks!

Last edited by dhartlein; 08-29-2012 at 06:43 PM.
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