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Old 08-10-2008, 07:13 PM   #1
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Single pole with white on the switch


Hey everyone, i searched for this but didn't find a definite answer.

I am replacing a bathroom fan, in the process of wiring at the fan with the switch off I got shocked , so i turned off the power at the panel and wired it up, the fan works fine. Obviously i thought i was safe with the switch off. Anyway, looking at the switch my white wire from the panel is on the bottom of the switch and the white from the fan is on the top, the black is straight connected and not switched.

My basic understanding is that the black should be the hot wire and if so even with the switch off the fixture would still have power and i likely shocked myself by completing a circuit with the ground wire. Does this sound like the problem?

Also should i switch this around so the black wire is switched and not the white? i dont think anything else is on this circuit, but im not 100% sure.

I hate screaming like a little school girl.

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Old 08-10-2008, 07:21 PM   #2
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Single pole with white on the switch


If (big IF) the wires are used correctly, then, yes, the blacks should be switched, and the whites wired through.

Do you have a voltage tester? If so, with the switch on, check the voltage from black to ground, and the white to ground. If the readings are 120 volts (or so) from black to ground, and 0 volts from white to ground, the switch is wired incorrectly.

You have discovered why we wire switches by controlling the hot, not the neutral (return). It works either way, but leaves power at the controlled device when the switch is off.

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Old 08-10-2008, 07:26 PM   #3
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Single pole with white on the switch


i have done that and exactly as you said i get 120 between the black and the ground nothing between the white and the ground. I was wondering if i had a hot ground wire at first but i tested the wires off the switch with one of those circuit testers with the three lights, it indicated no problems.

so i wonder should i rewire the switch, i guess its "safe" as long as you dont try to work on it with only the switch off.
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Old 08-10-2008, 07:36 PM   #4
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Single pole with white on the switch


checked again and for sure i get 120 black to ground, but i get 0.1v between white and ground, im not sure if that means anything.
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Old 08-10-2008, 07:56 PM   #5
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Single pole with white on the switch


Quote:
My basic understanding is that the black should be the hot wire and if so even with the switch off the fixture would still have power and i likely shocked myself by completing a circuit with the ground wire. Does this sound like the problem?
Yes I agree with that.

Quote:
Anyway, looking at the switch my white wire from the panel is on the bottom of the switch and the white from the fan is on the top, the black is straight connected and not switched.
Also should i switch this around so the black wire is switched and not the white? i dont think anything else is on this circuit, but im not 100% sure.
Yes....It means they are switching the neutral after the light (load). Big NO NO !!
Take the whites off and put them into a wire nut. Then take the blacks apart and connect them to each screw on the switch.
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