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Old 09-12-2013, 05:20 PM   #1
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Single pole switch with too many wires.


Hey everyone,

I'm in a bit of a pickle here.

I bought a dimmer to install in one of my rooms. The room has a single lightswitch which is controlled by a simple on/off switch. This switch controls a single light mounted on the ceiling.

Now, I've replaced light switches with dimmers before and never had any problem. This one is proving much more complicated.

When I inspected the wires on the back of the original switch there was a bare copper ground on the left side, two black wires under screws on the right side and then a third black wire going into a backwired hole next to the top screw on the right.

Here is a photo for clarity. You can see the backwired and screwed blacks to the left, the single black on the right, and the ground in the back right:


When installing the dimmer I tried combining the backwired black and the top black into the dimmer and the single bottom black wire into the other black on the dimmer. This resulted in the dimmer not controlling the light (which would not turn on), but instead all of the electrical sockets in the room!

I've tried every combination possible and can not figure this out. Please help!
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Old 09-12-2013, 05:40 PM   #2
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Single pole switch with too many wires.


That second wire carries power to the outlets and is basically getting power from the same power wire that powers the switch. Find the wire that controls the outlets and pigtail it with the power wire going to the switch. The remaining wire will be for the light

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Old 09-12-2013, 05:40 PM   #3
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Single pole switch with too many wires.


Look on the switch, notice there's no words saying on and off?
Looks like it's a 3 way switch.
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Old 09-12-2013, 05:43 PM   #4
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Single pole switch with too many wires.


Also, when you put your wires on your screws, put a loop in them and hook them clockwise around the screw. Avoid back wiring holes if possible
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Old 09-12-2013, 05:53 PM   #5
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Single pole switch with too many wires.


@joecaption: the switch does say "on" and "off". It is indeed a single pole switch. Your snarky comment really makes a man feel welcomed.

@Romex: You nailed it. I must have somehow mixed up the wires when I was removing the original switch. One wire is essentially piggy backing the power to the outlets. As per your suggestion I found the wire that powered the outlets and pigtailed it with the wire going to the switch. Both work fine now. Thank you, Romex. You saved me a night without lights or AC.
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Old 09-12-2013, 07:20 PM   #6
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Single pole switch with too many wires.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mdalbasi View Post
@joecaption: the switch does say "on" and "off". It is indeed a single pole switch. Your snarky comment really makes a man feel welcomed.
That was not in ANY way even slightly snarky.

You'd be surprised what simplistic questions we get from folks that have absolutely no clue what they are doing.
Electrical is no place to assume someone is experienced enough to know better.
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Old 09-12-2013, 08:41 PM   #7
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Single pole switch with too many wires.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
That was not in ANY way even slightly snarky.

You'd be surprised what simplistic questions we get from folks that have absolutely no clue what they are doing.
Electrical is no place to assume someone is experienced enough to know better.
Exactly. If they were experienced enough, they wouldn't be asking simple questions on this forum

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