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Old 10-07-2011, 10:40 AM   #1
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mobile home self contained light switch


I am attempting to replace a self contained lightswitch in a 2000 Redman mobile home with a single toggle switch and am having problems. When I pulled the box from the wall there are 3 bundles of wires (each with a black, white, and ground) attached. One bundle looks to come from the floor and the other 2 go toward the ceiling. I know that one of the bundles going to the ceiling is for the light, but I can not figure out what the other is for. When I wire the switch and turn it on, it blows the breaker. Any suggestions?????

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Old 10-07-2011, 12:02 PM   #2
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mobile home self contained light switch


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I am attempting to replace a self contained lightswitch in a 2000 Redman mobile home with a single toggle switch and am having problems. When I pulled the box from the wall there are 3 bundles of wires (each with a black, white, and ground) attached. One bundle looks to come from the floor and the other 2 go toward the ceiling. I know that one of the bundles going to the ceiling is for the light, but I can not figure out what the other is for. When I wire the switch and turn it on, it blows the breaker. Any suggestions?????

Make sure you know which of the two feeders going "up" from the junction box powers your light fixture. The second feed is probably powering downstream fixtures/receptacles (you should be able to tell which ones by what stops working when the breaker is off).

Typically, you need to bond all grounds together, and all neutrals (white) together (two separate bonds). The black wire feeding from your circuit box should be pigtailed to the feeder *not* going to the light fixture, and to one terminal on the switch. The black wire from the feeder to the light fixture should connect to the other switch terminal.

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Old 10-08-2011, 12:17 PM   #3
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mobile home self contained light switch


Just because it hasn't been mentioned; if the switch you're replacing is one of the totally enclosed type installed in the wall without a box around it, you'll need to install a box for the new switch.

Get an "old work" or "remodel" box, which will have tabs that swing out and tighten against the back of the hole. You'll probably have to cut the existing hole out a little larger for the new box to fit.

I've done way too many of these trailer switch & outlet replacements, and it's usually not too hard as long as there's enough slack in the wall.

Here's how to sort out which cables are which: As you surmise, one of the cables to the ceiling should be for the light. With the power off, get all the wires from each cable separated, make sure they're not touching at all. Cap the ends of the hot wires with wire nuts if you've got 'em. Turn the power back on and use a non-contact voltage detector to see which hot wire has power. That cable is your incoming power. Turn the power back off, and label the cable.

If incoming power was one of the cables from the ceiling, than the other cable from the ceiling is your light, and the cable from the floor is downstream loads, probably the receptacles in the room.

If incoming power was the cable from the floor, than you'll have to do one more test: Use a couple wire nuts to connect the incoming power to one of the other cables. Hot to hot, neutral to neutral, don't worry about ground for a brief test. Turn the power on. If the light is now on, you're connected to the light cable. Turn the power off, label the cable. Label the remaining cable as "power out". If the light did not come on, then you've connected to the downstream loads. Turn the power off, label the cable you connected to as "power out", label the other cable as "light".

If you're still with me so far, the rest should be pretty easy per clashley's second paragraph.
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Old 10-09-2011, 07:55 PM   #4
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mobile home self contained light switch


I have done your suggestions and as expected, the extra wire was a feeder line to another room downstream. When I connect the line from the circuit box to the line for the light and pigtail it to the switch I can control the light from the ceiling light. As soon as I turn the switch to the "on" position the circuit breaker flips and I lose power to the room. As of right now I have all the wires connected without the use of the switch and have power. How do I connect the switch and get it to work?!?
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Old 10-09-2011, 07:58 PM   #5
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mobile home self contained light switch


First, all bare ground wires should be connected together, along with a pigtail to the green ground screw on the light switch. Second, all the white wires should be connected together. Then, the black wires from the incoming power and downstream loads should be connected together, along with a short pigtail connected to one of the two terminals on the switch. The remaining black wire, going to the ceiling light, should be connected to the remaining terminal on the switch.
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:23 PM   #6
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Got it! Thanks so much for all the help!!!
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:25 PM   #7
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mobile home self contained light switch


No problem, glad you got it working.
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Old 06-09-2012, 12:25 AM   #8
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mobile home self contained light switch


I am replacing my switch with a dimmer and am having the same problem.... i did everything exact way you said and i cannot get it to work... if i do the way you said to then the light comes on and stays on and the dimmer doesn't work...... any suggestions?
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Old 06-09-2012, 01:13 AM   #9
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I am replacing my switch with a dimmer and am having the same problem.... i did everything exact way you said and i cannot get it to work... if i do the way you said to then the light comes on and stays on and the dimmer doesn't work...... any suggestions?
Start a new thread for yourself.

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