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Old 01-18-2011, 01:43 PM   #1
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Two Lights, Two Switches Headache


Ok,

So our new house we've lived in for just over a year now and I wanted to replace the light fixtures on the back porch to something that looked nicer and get rid of the boring stock fixtures that were there from the builder. There are two lights and both worked perfectly before this snafu.

Ok so there were two lights with a single bulb in each and my new fixtures have two bulbs in them but they are already pre-wired and ready to go with one black and one white quick connectors for easy hook-up. There are two switches on the the circuit which turn both lights on or off depending which room you are in. Anyways, I removed the first lights and there were 2 black wires and 2 white wires and the ground. I twisted the two black wires together and then hooked them up to the black wire of the light fixture and did the same with the white wires and flipped teh breaker and everything works great! I went to put the second light up and in this panel there was only one black wire and one white wire and when I hooked them up I get nothing. Tested the old light to make sure the fixture wasn't faulty and still nothing. The panel isn't getting any power.

My first thought was that I wired the first light wrong but I don't think I did. My send thought was when I was opening up the panel to the second light...the circular plastic housing was kind of off center from the hole cut in the drywall and I couldn't access the metal bracket to remove it to hang the new light. So when I moved it about an inch I hear a small thud in between the two lights and I'm wondering if I knocked something loose?

I really don't want to go up in that crawl space if I don't have to but you guys have any ideas? Also, there is an empty ceiling fan panel in between the lights with capped wires.

Please Help!

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Old 01-18-2011, 02:33 PM   #2
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Two Lights, Two Switches Headache


Does the first light still work? If it does then check the connection again in both lights. One of the wires might not be in the wire nut properly.

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Old 01-18-2011, 02:40 PM   #3
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Two Lights, Two Switches Headache


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Does the first light still work? If it does then check the connection again in both lights. One of the wires might not be in the wire nut properly.
The first light as in the fixture or the first light meaning the one I installed?

The first light I installed still works 100%. When I flip the switch the light comes on just not the second light. I can dim it up and down and turn it off and on just fine.
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:45 PM   #4
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Two Lights, Two Switches Headache


The first light you changed. I would be looking at the connections in the first fixture. I have seen wires that appeared to be nutted together that were not connecting.
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:48 PM   #5
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Two Lights, Two Switches Headache


If the two lights are controlled by two switches in different locations then you have 3 way switches. The lights are daisy chained or in other words switched power feeds one light then goes on to the second light. If the one light works and turns on and off from both switches then the wire(s) from the working light to the non working are open/broken. You said you checked the old fixture and it didn't work either so that eliminates bad bulbs or new bad fixture.

It sounds like you wired the first working fixture correctly unless you have a bad connection in one of the wire nuts. I'd redo those connections then test for voltage between the black and white wire at the non working fixture box.

You need a voltage tester .. a simple inexpensive one will do like this .. below. If there is no voltage at the old fixture then something has gone awry with the wires between the lights. It doesn't make any sense that a ceiling fan would be on the same switched circuit with the lights.


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Old 01-18-2011, 02:59 PM   #6
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If the two lights are controlled by two switches in different locations then you have 3 way switches. The lights are daisy chained or in other words switched power feeds one light then goes on to the second light. If the one light works and turns on and off from both switches then the wire(s) from the working light to the non working are open/broken. You said you checked the old fixture and it didn't work either so that eliminates bad bulbs or new bad fixture.

It sounds like you wired the first working fixture correctly unless you have a bad connection in one of the wire nuts. I'd redo those connections then test for voltage between the black and white wire at the non working fixture box.

You need a voltage tester .. a simple inexpensive one will do like this .. below. If there is no voltage at the old fixture then something has gone awry with the wires between the lights. It doesn't make any sense that a ceiling fan would be on the same switched circuit with the lights.


Thanks for the info this is what I was starting to suspect. I don't think the fan is on the circuit I was just trying to give as much info for you guys as possible. I'm electricly challenged. I'll monkey with it when I get home and post what I find out.

Thanks!
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:00 AM   #7
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Ok so I did some more messing around last night but didn't really get time to actually fix the problem but I learned more.

It's not on a three way circuit after all. There are two switches but one switch has to be on in order for the lights to work and the other switch can control off and on as long as that other switch is on. Strange.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:33 AM   #8
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Two Lights, Two Switches Headache


Sonds like a misswired 3 way switch to me.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:41 AM   #9
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Ok so I did some more messing around last night but didn't really get time to actually fix the problem but I learned more.

It's not on a three way circuit after all. There are two switches but one switch has to be on in order for the lights to work and the other switch can control off and on as long as that other switch is on. Strange.
\

Separate issue related to miswired three way switches.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:13 PM   #10
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Two Lights, Two Switches Headache


You mentioned a dimmer .. did you install a dimmer and is it a 3 way dimmer ?


This doesn't solve the other issue but we need to know what you have changed.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:26 PM   #11
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You mentioned a dimmer .. did you install a dimmer and is it a 3 way dimmer ?


This doesn't solve the other issue but we need to know what you have changed.
Yes there is a dimmer on the circuit. It's a three way...it's the one at the link below and was installed a year ago and have never had a problem with it. Both lights worked just fine until I tried putting these new fixtures up.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_314820-1571-...7C1%26page%3D3
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Old 01-21-2011, 09:19 AM   #12
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Two Lights, Two Switches Headache


Fixed it! The copper had broken off in one of the black wires but the sheath was intact so I didn't see the break. Cut back the wire and stripped new copper and whammy, we got a hot wire again. Thanks everyone!
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Old 01-21-2011, 10:52 AM   #13
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Fixed it! The copper had broken off in one of the black wires but the sheath was intact so I didn't see the break. Cut back the wire and stripped new copper and whammy, we got a hot wire again. Thanks everyone!
I had that on a test for a job one time.
Good job finding the problem.
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Old 01-21-2011, 11:47 AM   #14
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I had that on a test for a job one time.
Good job finding the problem.
Thanks and thanks for the help. I was two shades shy of running new nomex because I just couldn't figure it out. After I got the lights up I made some HDMI runs through the crawl space and out to our back porch for our new outside LED TV mounted on the wall. Back porch is coming along! Now my next project which I will be making a post about very soon......Sofit LED or Halogen lighting

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