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ManMythLegend 12-18-2007 04:07 PM

lost power to 1 thing in 4 different places...
Somebody help me please...I'm so frustrated...

I was updating all the light switches and receptacles in my 60 year old living room after a new paint job. One of the light switches was a double switch in a single switch box. I think it was called a combination device.

I wired the new switch exactly as the old one had been wired. It didn't work. I tried and retried wiring the switch in every combination that I could. Obviously I'm not a skilled electrician, but I believe this was my first mistake. The whole time I was trying these different combos I didn't realize that my bathroom exhaust fan, front doorbell, and laundry room light no longer worked either.

I tried killing power to all my circuit breakers and turning them on one by one, labeling what they actually went to, and found 2 circuit breakers that lead to nothing. I replaced these 2 breakers with brand new ones and still nothing.


I think I found the right wiring combination to the combination switch, but I don't know how to get power back to it or the other items....No other power is lost to anything else...Any ideas...please please please help!!!!

220/221 12-18-2007 04:44 PM

How many wires do you have?

Are both switches single pole (do they say on/off)?

Best case= you have 3 wires. On hot, the other two to the seperate lights.

The hot wire will go on the side of the switch that has a jumper between the terminals. The other two will go to the terminals on the other side of the switch.

Worst case you have a 3way,two 3 ways, a suicide switch or combination of these.

RichyL 12-18-2007 04:55 PM

When you installed the new receptacles did you wrap the wires around the screws or stab them in the slots in the back? Sometimes stabbing them doesnt make a good connection or the wire could come loose. See if you can find out where the wire goes from the panel (circuit breaker) to the first connection in the circuit, try and verify you are getting power there first and check the connections. Work your way down the circuit away from the breaker box checking connections along the way. Another possibility is that you may have tied in a switch wrong with a switched hot, where instead of a hot and a switchleg for a switch, you have a feed in and feedout to the rest of the circuit that is giving it power when the switch comes on.

Are there any switched plugs on this circuit?

220/221 12-18-2007 05:03 PM

Hopefully he simply got his hot and a switch leg mixed up. I bet when he turns the switches on, the power will be restored.

ManMythLegend 12-18-2007 05:17 PM guys are fast..thanks

I wrapped the wires around the screws. The switch belongs to a ceiling fan. I believe this is how it goes. The fan wire is black, red, white, bare. The wire from the house is black, white, bare. I have the switch wired as so: White wires are wire nutted together. None on switch. The exact same goes for the bare wires. On the side with the jumper is the black wire from the house. On the side without the jumper the red wire is on the bottom and the black wire on top.

As far as the other things in the house do you think I could have shorted it or anything?

ManMythLegend 12-18-2007 05:20 PM

The box the switch came in says

Decorator Combination
2 Single Pole Switches

220/221 12-18-2007 05:23 PM

Sounds like correct wiring.

Are you SURE there are no other wires in there?

Do the fan and light work?

You say the switch belongs to the CF. What is the other sw for?

ManMythLegend 12-18-2007 05:25 PM little electrical checker thing tells me that no power is coming to the switch.

One switch is to the fan and the other is to the light kit on the fan.

There are no other wires in the box by the way...I just checked again..

I'll never claim to be an electrician...

220/221 12-18-2007 05:35 PM

This could be a wild goose chase.

#1 I need to know what kind of tester you used and how you used it.

I don't know if I have the patience but I'll try. ONE wrong step and the diagnosis goes out the window.

Some things don't add a 60 YO house with ground wires?

220/221 12-18-2007 05:40 PM

I will post this ASSUMING there is no power at the sw box.

Look at the last logical outlet BEFORE the sw box. The circuit runs from outlet to outlet, many times THRU the recepticales. When you replaced them you likely saw 4 wires at some receps, 2 wht and 2 black. If the circuit come loose at any one of these points it can't continue to the next.

The recep itself may work but the circuit out of it may be interrupted.

RichyL 12-18-2007 05:41 PM

Do you know for a fact that there are some things on that circuit that ARE working? Or is the entire circuit dead?

ManMythLegend 12-18-2007 05:54 PM

I have living room outlets that are on 3 different breakers, and my washer and dryer breaker also runs my dining room lights. I'll be happy to take a picture of my circuit breaker panel to show you all the work I've done chasing these breakers. They're all labeled neatly now, but no rhyme or reason... None of the breakers match up.

One more reason why I'm so frustrated. I don't know if my bathroom fan, laundry room light, doorbell, and living room light/fan are on the same breaker because none work. It wouldn't surprise me in the least though.

I do know that the electrical outlet 4 feet away from this switch can be turned off by one breaker that doesn't seem to control anything else.

ManMythLegend 12-18-2007 05:58 PM

the tester also is nothing more than two wires with metal ends and a light.

220/221 12-18-2007 05:59 PM


I do know that the electrical outlet 4 feet away from this switch can be turned off by one breaker that doesn't seem to control anything else

Well duh....pull that outlet and take a look. It is NOT going to be all by itself.

And now I am frustrated with you. HOW did you use it? did you test to the bare wires ? They may not be actually hooked up in your 60 YO house. You may have power but lost the neutral. You need to test from the HOT (black)to the NEUTRAL (white) to determine if you have power at the sw box.

Sorry I'm being a ************. If you answer all the questions it will make this much easier.

ManMythLegend 12-18-2007 06:10 PM

I will pull the outlet and take a look.

I did test bare wires, but I did so while it was attached to the switch. Should I disconnect all the wires and test them seperately?

No need to apologize for anything. This is more help than I've gotten from anybody. Again though...I'm not an electrician so I don't understand how a lot of this works. Thanks for the help...

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