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Old 11-08-2010, 02:53 PM   #1
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Help with simple dimmer switch install


I bought a dimmer switch today for my living room light. I installed it and the lights and dimmer work. The problem is, the light also has another switch that controls it from the kitchen. Now the switch in the kitchen has to be on in order for the dimmer switch to turn on and off the light and dim them. Also, the lights make a slight buzzing sound when they are on now that they did not make with just the normal switch. Both the old switch and the dimmer switch are 3 pole switches. I have the dimmer set up with the black wires on the top right, white on the bottom right, and red on the bottom left (when looking at switch on wall). Did I do something wrong? Will it just not work because of the second switch connected to that light in the kitchen?

Is it a fire hazard because of the buzzing noise its making at the lights? Note: Its a ceiling fan also but the fan has a separate switch and only one.

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Old 11-08-2010, 04:41 PM   #2
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Help with simple dimmer switch install


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Originally Posted by nikeman View Post
I bought a dimmer switch today for my living room light. I installed it and the lights and dimmer work. The problem is, the light also has another switch that controls it from the kitchen. Now the switch in the kitchen has to be on in order for the dimmer switch to turn on and off the light and dim them. Also, the lights make a slight buzzing sound when they are on now that they did not make with just the normal switch. Both the old switch and the dimmer switch are 3 pole switches. I have the dimmer set up with the black wires on the top right, white on the bottom right, and red on the bottom left (when looking at switch on wall). Did I do something wrong? Will it just not work because of the second switch connected to that light in the kitchen?

Is it a fire hazard because of the buzzing noise its making at the lights? Note: Its a ceiling fan also but the fan has a separate switch and only one.
it is known as a 3-way switch, not a 3 pole switch. When you removed the old 3way switch, what color was on the black screw? That black screw is your 'common'. the brass screws are the 'travelers'. On your 3way dimmer, you should have 2 reds and 1 black. The black is your 'common'. the reds are the travelers. Sounds like to me that you mixed up the common for a traveler. In the switch box, the 14/3 wire...that black and red of the same cable are your travelers. Hook 1 up to one red and the other to the other red. The other wire goes to the black wire (common). You say the lights are buzzing...what kind of lights are they (high hats, fan light kit). If the light bulbs are low voltage, this will cause the lights to buzz on a dimmer unless you get a magnetic low voltage dimmer. Lights do have a tendency to hum a little while dimmed.

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Old 11-08-2010, 05:39 PM   #3
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Help with simple dimmer switch install


When I took off the plate and first went to remove the original switch it was wired with the black wire on the black screw, then white on the gold screw on the right and red on the gold screw on the left. Thats how I hooked up the new dimmer switch also. Should I swap the black and white wires? There is only 1 red one in the group..
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Old 11-08-2010, 05:41 PM   #4
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Help with simple dimmer switch install


Does ur new dimmer have wire leads or terminal screws? Ur black wire will go to the black screw or wire lead. The white and red go to brass screws or red wire leads. Unless u accidently mixed up the black for the white, then no. The light worked from both locations previous to the dimmer install?
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Old 11-08-2010, 05:45 PM   #5
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Help with simple dimmer switch install


yes, the light worked from both switches no matter how the opposite one was left I could still turn the light on and off by both switches, if that makes since. I will check to see if I didn't put the black wire on the black screw
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Old 11-08-2010, 05:49 PM   #6
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Help with simple dimmer switch install


If now u can only turn the dimmer on with the other switch in a certain position, that's a mis wired 3way where the common is mixed up with a traveler
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:02 PM   #7
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Help with simple dimmer switch install


Here are some pictures of the wired up dimmer switch. There is no black screw, just a gold one and 2 copper ones.. lol

Last edited by nikeman; 11-08-2010 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:03 PM   #8
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Help with simple dimmer switch install


Reverse the black and white and it'll work
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:34 PM   #9
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Help with simple dimmer switch install


that worked.. the lights still buzz but I am assuming that is normal. They are just regular bulbs and you can't hear the buzz unless you stand right under the fan or its quiet so no biggie!

Thanks!
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:35 PM   #10
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No problem
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:10 PM   #11
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Help with simple dimmer switch install


Just want to pass the tip along the way if you still hear the buzzing from the indentscent bulbs some case it will solve by get diffrent brandname bulbs that useally clear up in most case.

Merci.
Marc

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