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scatpack 07-25-2012 01:01 PM

Help: Replacing old dimmer with new switch - extra leads

Im replacing an older 'dimmer' switch with a standard 'flip' switch. This dimmer was being used to control a ceiling fan w/light. I've replaced the fan and now I want to eliminate the dimmer and just go with an on/off switch.

The challenge I have is the dimmer has three wires on it. 2 black, 1 red. There are three wires in the box- Black/White/Red.

Of course the new switch only has two connections on it. It is NOT a three way switch. This is the only switch for the light/fan.

So where does the white wire go? (or the others as well I guess)

In the photo below, the dimmer is the one on the left. (the other two have already been replaced with a 3way (center) and a standard 2way switch)

The old dimmer has three wires. 2 black, one red.

The ceiling fan box only (ceiling) only has two wires.

Any help would be appreciated!


JulieMor 07-25-2012 03:58 PM

At first I was thinking the fan dimmer was connected to switch legs for a fan and a light. Since I can't see the face of the dimmer, I assumed it had two controllers. After reading your entire post I was wondering if the dimmer was a 3-way but you said there is no other switch controlling the fan.

If I am understanding your post correctly, at the ceiling is only a fan with no light. Do you know there is no unused wire at the ceiling box location? Do you know there is no unused wire at some other switch box location? Maybe one that is blanked off or has a switch that doesn't work?

On the other hand, someone could have disconnected a 3-way and used the box to install a switch for something else, like a receptacle. When I see cloth insulated wire, I know anything is possible.

scatpack 07-25-2012 06:17 PM

Good questions.

The dimmer is a single controller. On/off and turn to dim knob.

There wer no extra wires in the box that I recall. I'm fairly certain of it. The old and new ceiling fan bith are fan and light combo units. The old fan was controlled by pull chains. The new fan has a remote. (I moved this fan from another room)

There is actually no other switch in this room. There is a dead switch upstairs in a gang of switches but I'd be surprised if controlled the light in the room below it. Illtake the plate off it later tonight.

And if you look closely at the photo you can see the rightmost switch is a very old ceramic type... So I wouldn't be surprised about anything.

So the big question is... How should I mount the ne w flip switch?

JulieMor 07-25-2012 07:59 PM


Originally Posted by scatpack (Post 974178)
So the big question is... How should I mount the new flip switch?

You need to test the wires you have in the switch box. Get a voltage tester and one by one take the wire nut off a termination. Then test that to ground. Start with the dimmer switch off and test each termination. The one that reads live is your hot. Then, testing the other two, find out which one turns the power on and off when you turn the dimmer on and off. Those are the two wires you will connect the toggle switch to. Cap off the third wire.

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