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AZWildcat24 11-22-2010 12:40 PM

Tried installing a dimmer, but now other lights dont work
 
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I am trying to install a new Leviton Decora CFL dimmer. When I removed my current switched I noticed that it had two wires going inside the switch at the back panel (top and bottom) and then 2 separate wires wrapped around the screw terminal. I did not see a ground wire. My new switch had 2 red wires, a black and a green. I couldn't figure out what would go where on the new switch, so I aborted the project and put the wires back on the original switch.

My problem is now other lights (pantry, garage) don't work unless this switch is in the on position. I thought I put everything back the way I found it, any ideas what I may have done wrong?

McSteve 11-22-2010 01:11 PM

You mixed up one of the wires between the top & bottom of the switch. One wire will be the incoming power, and one wire will be the power going out to your garage and pantry lights. Those two wires should be together, on one side of the switch. The other two wires will be two switched lights, or whatever was controlled by that switch. They should be together on the other end of the switch.

Once you get this figured out and working the way it was, I can tell you how to install the dimmer, too.

AZWildcat24 11-22-2010 01:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by McSteve (Post 538749)
You mixed up one of the wires between the top & bottom of the switch. One wire will be the incoming power, and one wire will be the power going out to your garage and pantry lights. Those two wires should be together, on one side of the switch. The other two wires will be two switched lights, or whatever was controlled by that switch. They should be together on the other end of the switch.

Once you get this figured out and working the way it was, I can tell you how to install the dimmer, too.


Thanks for your input. Yes, this switch controls lights in a living room. I took the picture right after I unscrewed the terminal screw with 2 wires wound around it. OK, so if I switch the wires on the the back of the switch, top and bottom I should be back to square 1, right? Can you walk me through how to install my Leviton Decora CFL dimmer?

Thank you

McSteve 11-22-2010 01:24 PM

Yes, that sounds right. Though I just re-read your first post, and I'm a little confused about your dimmer. Do you have the model number so I can try and look up the instructions?

AZWildcat24 11-22-2010 01:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by McSteve (Post 538762)
Yes, that sounds right. Though I just re-read your first post, and I'm a little confused about your dimmer. Do you have the model number so I can try and look up the instructions?


Sure, it is the Leviton Decor CFL slide dimmer, 6673

I think you can find an online manual here: http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/ibcGe...minisite=10021

I think my issue is what to do with the 2 wires that were attaches to the terminal screw on the side? Why use the terminal screw AND the quickwire slots at the bottom of the switch?

I appreciate your help, thanks again

McSteve 11-22-2010 02:00 PM

Okay, the reason someone used the terminal screws and backstab holes was to avoid pigtailing the wires together with a wire nut. I've seen it done a lot, I don't like it because I try to avoid using those backstab holes at all.

That aside, once you have the wires figured out so the old switch works and all lights work the way they did before, it should be simple.

Look at step 5a in your dimmer instructions. Use a wirenut to connect the black wire to the wires from the top of the old switch. Identify the two red wires; one should apparently have an "insulating label" on it, and should be left alone. The other red wire goes to the wires from the bottom of the old switch. Note that the wirenuts which came with the switch may not be big enough for 3 wires.

If there's no ground wires at all in the box, and it's a plastic box, then you're on your own with the green wire. Either run new wiring with a ground, or leave it disconnected...


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