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Old 03-10-2010, 06:09 PM   #1
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Trying to figure out some confusing wiring


I'm thinking about putting some lights down in my basement and I wanted to put a dimmer switch on the swich panel in question. I've never known what "switch a" does and when I opened the panel up and checked out the wiring I was more confused. I recognize that "switch b" is a two way switch but what is the purpose of "switch a"?
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Old 03-10-2010, 06:18 PM   #2
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I'm thinking about putting some lights down in my basement and I wanted to put a dimmer switch on the swich panel in question. I've never known what "switch a" does and when I opened the panel up and checked out the wiring I was more confused. I recognize that "switch b" is a two way switch but what is the purpose of "switch a"?
Right now it controls nothing, there are no wires connected to it. Possibly half switched receptacles in the living room?????? Exterior light fixture?????

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Old 03-10-2010, 06:49 PM   #3
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Trying to figure out some confusing wiring


Looks it might have been connected to the red and black at one time. Is there a ceiling fixture in the room. Could be the unused control for a future fan light combo. The switch was put in as a blank filler.
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:31 PM   #4
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There's no ceiling fixture. Guess I can use that spot for a dimmer then.
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:44 PM   #5
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Trying to figure out some confusing wiring


my guess is it was a switched outlet at one point on a 3wire to that outlet. It has since been replaced and the black now feeds the whole outlet making the red wire worthless. Make sure to remove that black pigtail.
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:49 PM   #6
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[quote=Eric123;412855]There's no ceiling fixture. Guess I can use that spot for a dimmer then.[/quot
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:57 PM   #7
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Trying to figure out some confusing wiring


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There's no ceiling fixture. Guess I can use that spot for a dimmer then.
No. You don't use a dimmer and regular (toggle) switch. The Dimmer replaces the switch. One word of caution, however. With a dimmer switch, you can not use any inductive load. Meaning a ceiling fan or fluorescent lights. Including CFL. If you DO try to use, you're risking a fire! the only lights you can use are; Incandescent bulbs or Halogen!!
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:58 PM   #8
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Trying to figure out some confusing wiring


Senice the OP mention no ceiling luminaire at all so I am more leaning toward to switched receptales the sure fire way you can tell is go to the nearest recetpale { turn off the breaker on this one } and pull it out but DO NOT discoonect any wire but look inside if you do see red wire hook up or not.

If red wire is there then a good chance you have switched receptale.

Merci,Marc
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:07 PM   #9
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Let me explain from the beginning. The first floor of my house only extends to within about 6 feet of the back wall. So there is an overlook down into my basement. I've been planning on extending the floor to the wall to gain some square footage. I want to install recessed lighting in the basement where the newly installed floor/ceiling will be. I was thinking of running wires up from the switch panel and distributing lines to several recessed lights. Thats why I want a dimmer switch there. That's also why I was trying to figure out what that switch was for. If it does nothing then I guess I can simply take the switch out, connect the red and black wires together, and run another line up the wall and over the basement?
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:10 PM   #10
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By the way, I'm taking it slow and planning on getting a permit for all this. I'm just in the planning stage.
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:19 PM   #11
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if you dont know where that line goes, its prolly not a smart idea to make that a permanently hot line. If nothing is losing power with it being disconnected, remove the black and leave the red.
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:23 PM   #12
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Were the wires connected to the switch when you removed it from the switch box?
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:25 PM   #13
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if you dont know where that line goes, its prolly not a smart idea to make that a permanently hot line. If nothing is losing power with it being disconnected, remove the black and leave the red.
Remember that the red wire is hot. What would be the proper way to cover up an unused hot wire in an electical box?
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:27 PM   #14
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Were the wires connected to the switch when you removed it from the switch box?
Yep. they sure were.
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:30 PM   #15
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Were the wires connected to the switch when you removed it from the box?
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