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Old 09-03-2007, 07:48 AM   #1
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New light switch burns out


I recently installed a new ceiling light. The old wiring has different colors and I accidentally wired it incorrectly. When I flipped the breaker it made a wierd fizzing noise and I quickly turned it off. After I wired it correctly, the light worked, but the light switch would not turn it off. I installed a new light switch and the same thing happened. Please help...

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Old 09-03-2007, 08:31 AM   #2
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New light switch burns out


How old is the house?

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Old 09-03-2007, 08:37 AM   #3
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New light switch burns out


What were the colors? Black, white? Black, white, red?

How many of each?
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Old 09-03-2007, 12:41 PM   #4
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New light switch burns out


It sounds to me like the black, or hot wires are wired to gether and that you are switching the comon wire. The reason it is staying on is because the common wire is connect to other comon wires in the circuit and that is completing the circuit. The switch isn't really doing anything.

Last edited by sluggermike; 09-03-2007 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 09-03-2007, 04:15 PM   #5
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New light switch burns out


The house was built in 1905. The wiring I'm dealing with appears to be a lot newer than some of the other wiring in the house that I've encountered. The wire colors are red (1) and white (1). I connected the white wire from the light fixture to the white in the ceiling and the black to red (opposite on the first try). There is an additional white and red wire connected in the ceiling box that go to a different light and they are all wired to the correct wires (that light works as well).

On the light switch I connected the red to the top screw and white on the bottom...should they be switched around? I'm not sure what I'm doing differently now that wasn't done already when the switch and old light were working. I really appreciate the response so far...thanks.
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Old 09-03-2007, 08:42 PM   #6
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New light switch burns out


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On the light switch I connected the red to the top screw and white on the bottom
YIKES...go downstairs (or wherever) and turn that breaker off NOW...then come back and read on.

The switch should only break the red wire. If the white (nuetral) wire is in the box at all, the incoming and outgoing wires should just be wirenutted together, and allowed to pass on thru the box, undisturbed.

BTW: This is the only switch for that light, correct? If there are more than one, don't do anything yet...come back and someone will help you further.
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Old 09-03-2007, 10:27 PM   #7
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New light switch burns out


Ok, the breaker is off and will be until I figure this out. There is only one switch for the light.

This might be relevant...the power source, I believe goes directly to the ceiling box and then is directed to another light outside. The person who installed the wiring put the wiring for the switch in some kind of metal casing and tacked it to the ceiling and on down the wall to the switch. I guess that was easier than fishing it through the ceiling and down the inside of the wall. As I mentioned before, inside the switch box is a red and a white wire and currently both are connected.

I'll wait for further advice...thanks again...
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Old 09-03-2007, 10:51 PM   #8
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New light switch burns out


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As I mentioned before, inside the switch box is a red and a white wire and currently both are connected.
If it's a single pole switch (the only switch controlling that light), then my first post applies.

Second thought...maybe it does. It could be a switch loop (an improperly marked switch loop, but a switch loop just the same).

Right now there is only one cable, with one red and one white conductor...right?

Is it possible for you to take the light down and see what color, and number of conductors are up there? Need colors, and quantities of each color.

Last edited by jproffer; 09-03-2007 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 09-04-2007, 03:19 PM   #9
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New light switch burns out


Can you test to see which is hot? (normally Red or Black, but in some remodeling they are not. Is there any tape or other markings on the wires like liquid paper or paint; those might indicate a change in color)...
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Old 09-04-2007, 08:14 PM   #10
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New light switch burns out


Alright, I'm back after a long day. This response should reply to each of you who were kind enough to provide feedback and ask follow up questions.

I took the light fixture down to examine the wires in the ceiling. There are four wires in a cloth casing coming out of the ceiling, two connected to a red wire, and two connected to a white wire (6 wires). The red is then connected to the black wire from the light fixture and the red wire going to the switch. The white is connected to the white from the fixture and the white to the switch. The ground wire from the light fixture is connected to the metal box. That's all of them.

There is only one switch for the light fixture. I disconnected the switch and turned the power back on - red wire has power and the white does not. As far as I could tell, the wires were all solid colors except for the one's in cloth and they didn't have a color.
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Old 09-04-2007, 09:01 PM   #11
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New light switch burns out


Quote:
The red is then connected to the black wire from the light fixture and the red wire going to the switch. The white is connected to the white from the fixture and the white to the switch.
Hopefully I'm understanding correctly. I think I'm following ya.

The two red wires with the pigtail (where it turns to one wire) should be connected to the white switch wire. Then the red switch wire should be connected to the black wire from the fixture. The two (now one, pigtail) white wire should be connected directly to the white wire on the fixture...just that one, no switch wires included.

The light won't go off because you're not really switching it. Connecting the two original red wires, the red from the switch and the black from the light ALL together was simply making a direct connection to the light, with an extra wire in there that did nothing. That's also why it's hot down at the switch, and the white wire isn't.

Basic switching is this: (assuming new, black/white conductor service with no downstream devices, for clarity) The white wire is connected to the white on the fixture, period...thats it, the white wire is done. The black is connected to one side of the switch loop, and the return side of the loop is connected to the black wire on the fixture.

Last step, open the switch box one more time and color that white wire black with a marker or black electrical tape.

OH, btw...if that's the same switch that you shorted the circuit with the first time around, I would spend the extra $0.84 and replace it.

Last edited by jproffer; 09-04-2007 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 09-04-2007, 09:36 PM   #12
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New light switch burns out


Ok, this seems to make sense to me. I'll give it a try tomorrow night and let you know how it turns out.
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Old 09-05-2007, 07:34 PM   #13
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New light switch burns out


Works great. Thanks for your assistance...

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