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Old 12-28-2010, 08:54 PM   #1
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Home lighting switch installation help needed ...


Ok so I thought this would be easy ... take out one switch and put in another ... but surprise surprise not so.

Here is what I have currently ...



The switch on the right is the one I want to replace with a 600watt rated dimmer for the pot lights in my tv room. The baffling thing is that the switch has 4 wires coming from it and I dont know how to rewire.



It seems as if the 2 black wires at the bottom of the right switch is a bridge of the black into the switch then out again to the switch on the right.

The dimmer I am installing is this http://www.levitonproducts.com/catal...P.htm?pid=1208

Now I am a real rookie home electrical wiring DIY'er but I am a pretty seasoned car stereo installer so I get power and ground etc I just cant figure out where these wires go to and from in order to mess around with the installation.

Again the intended result is to have a dimmer on the left and leave the middle and right power unchanged. My instinct is to disconnect both black wires at the bottom of the left switch and move the bridge to the bottom of the middle switch (under the assumption that this is simply a power bridge to get power to the right switch so it would matter which switch its bridged off of). That reduces the left switch to a simple 2 wire setup that should power and control only the pot lights that I want on the dimmer and remove any dependencies from the bridge.

Thoughts ???

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Old 12-28-2010, 08:57 PM   #2
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Home lighting switch installation help needed ...


........

Never mind, just looked at the link.
Follow Joed advice!

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Old 12-28-2010, 09:06 PM   #3
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Home lighting switch installation help needed ...


I think when you say "The switch on the right is the one I want to replace" you really mean the one on the left.

It's hard to tell, but it looks like a 3 way switch. Get your meter, and see if this is right:
Two blacks on bottom are always hot no matter which way switch is.
One black by itself is hot, then not hot, when switched.
One red is hot opposite the above wire (that is, red hot = black cold, red cold = black hot).

If this is the case, it is a 3-way switch, and there is another switch somewhere that controls the same light. You need to buy 3-way dimmers, which are not cheap. (I think you can do one dimmer and one regular switch, but I've never tried that.)

And yes, it looks to me like they're jumping the hot because they've got enough wires under that wire nut, it's a fairly common practice. It's just to get power fom the one switch to the other.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:10 PM   #4
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Home lighting switch installation help needed ...


The doubled up black wire is the COMMON. Remove it from the screw. Move the loop to the other switch and use the single end to connect to your new dimmer. Connect the other two wires to the remaining two screws.

LEAVE EVERYTHING ELSE ALONE. DO NOT CHANGE ANY OF THE OF THE WIRES.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:15 PM   #5
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Home lighting switch installation help needed ...


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
The doubled up black wire is the COMMON. Remove it from the screw. Move the loop to the other switch and use the single end to connect to your new dimmer. Connect the other two wires to the remaining two screws.

LEAVE EVERYTHING ELSE ALONE. DO NOT CHANGE ANY OF THE OF THE WIRES.
Um, Joed- what's he supposed to do with extra wires? I don't think he's got enough screws to put it all back the same way.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:18 PM   #6
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Home lighting switch installation help needed ...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Merk13 View Post

Now I am a real rookie home electrical wiring DIY'er but I am a pretty seasoned car stereo installer so I get power and ground etc.............
Just a quick note since the others here have you covered.

Forget what you know about car stereos.
Home AC wiring is another world entirely. Comparing it to car wiring is like comparing plumbing to car wiring.
I can tell you this from experience being pretty proficient at one and a professional at the other.

If you start using the same ideas and mentality for both you WILL wind up messing something up.
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:04 PM   #7
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Home lighting switch installation help needed ...


Quote:
Originally Posted by JPraski View Post
Um, Joed- what's he supposed to do with extra wires? I don't think he's got enough screws to put it all back the same way.
Huh????
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:05 PM   #8
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Home lighting switch installation help needed ...


Quote:
Originally Posted by JPraski View Post
Um, Joed- what's he supposed to do with extra wires? I don't think he's got enough screws to put it all back the same way.
What extra wires? The old switch has three wires(one of them looped). If he doesn't have enough screws then he has the wrong switch. Dimmers often don't have any screws. They often have wire pigtails.
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:08 PM   #9
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Home lighting switch installation help needed ...


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
The doubled up black wire is the COMMON. Remove it from the screw. Move the loop to the other switch and use the single end to connect to your new dimmer. Connect the other two wires to the remaining two screws.

LEAVE EVERYTHING ELSE ALONE. DO NOT CHANGE ANY OF THE OF THE WIRES.
Thanks all for the advice, Joedto be sure I understand you, you are suggesting ...
1. remove the doubled black wire from the switch on the left to the switch on the right (same lower corner position).
2. take the single black form the switch on the right and move it to the left
(basically swap the dual on the left for the single on the right ) ?
3. use remaining black and red wires on left to hook up dimmer ?

And it seems that JPraski may be right, there is another switch on the other side of the room that controls the same lights, does that present a problem with using a dimmer on only one switch ? Can I avoid using an expensive 3 way dimmer by disabling the switch on the other wall entirely ?
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:12 PM   #10
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Home lighting switch installation help needed ...


Yes just swap the two connections you have now to end up with three wire ends to connect to your replacement switch instead of two singles and the double.
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:22 PM   #11
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Home lighting switch installation help needed ...


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
Yes just swap the two connections you have now to end up with three wire ends to connect to your replacement switch instead of two singles and the double.
I don't think he understands it yet...................
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:26 PM   #12
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Home lighting switch installation help needed ...


Quote:
Originally Posted by brric View Post
I don't think he understands it yet...................
Agreed!
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:33 PM   #13
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Home lighting switch installation help needed ...


Remove the looped wire from the switch on the left. Cut the removed wire at the loop giving you two wires. Strip these two wires about 1/2". Using the black wire on the dimmer, wire nut it to the two stripped wires. The other two wires still attached to the old switch then are wire nutted to the red wires on the dimmer, one old switch wire to one red wire then the other old switch wire to the other red wire of the dimmer.
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:46 AM   #14
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Home lighting switch installation help needed ...


Yes, pigtails instead of screws probably, thanks.

The extra wire- single pole switch would have 2 wires. or 1 + the looped common = 3. This one also has a red wire hooked to it. As you've said, if he doesn't have enough pigtails, he's got the wrong switch, and I think that is exactly the problem.

I guess I'm not too good at getting my thoughts understandable on this forum. Without checking I don't want to say for sure, but it looks to me like that is a 3-way switch, and sounds to me like he's having trouble because he's replacing it with a single pole dimmer.

If that's correct, and a 3 way dimmer is used, then brric has the right way to wire it.
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:53 AM   #15
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Home lighting switch installation help needed ...


Leviton Sure-slide dimmers can be used as sinngle pole or three ways.

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