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cdale600 01-18-2009 11:27 PM

Weird problem replacing dimmer switch
I installed a Lutron dimmer in my dining room to dim my chandelier about 6 months ago. About a week ago the chandelier lights stopped coming on but the nightlight inside the dimmer was still working and my breaker wasn't tripped. I figured its a bad dimmer so I picked up a new one today. However when I installed it the chandelier is still not coming on. The new dimmer doesn't have a nightlight so I don't know if its getting power. I don't have a current tester. My switch box has 2 black wires and a ground. The ground is connected to my new dimmer and it doesn't matter if I switch the black wires on the dimmer. So either 1) My old switch broke and the new switch I bought is defective (crazy unlikely but technically possible) 2) ?????? I'll get a current tester tomorrow to check that the switch wires are seeing power. Any other thoughts in the meantime?

buletbob 01-19-2009 02:38 AM

Broken conductor under the wire insulation could be one cause.

J. V. 01-19-2009 10:25 AM

Check for power with a meter or wiggy. Sounds like you do not have power to the switch. It does not matter how the two black wires are connected.
Since you have two blacks in the switch box, it is most likely being fed from the light box in the ceiling. So, you may have to take down the light. Sorry but thats the way it goes.
Also, do not think you have a circuit if you read voltage at the switch when testing to ground. You very well may have an open neutral. Thats why you will need to follow the circuit back until you find the problem. Good luck.

rgsgww 01-19-2009 10:27 AM

Have you ran space heaters on this circuit? Any big load? Its possible that the damage is more extensive than you think. Loose splice burned up?

cdale600 01-19-2009 04:55 PM

No space heaters. Load is 8x60w candelabra bulbs.

Only had a minute today but I confirmed there is no voltage across the two black wires. I've flipped all my "light" breakers and none of the others are tripped.

rgsgww 01-19-2009 05:34 PM


Originally Posted by cdale600 (Post 215778)
No space heaters. Load is 8x60w candelabra bulbs.

Only had a minute today but I confirmed there is no voltage across the two black wires. I've flipped all my "light" breakers and none of the others are tripped.

Any other work being done in the house?

Your going to have to check each junction on this circuit.

cdale600 01-19-2009 05:36 PM

Nada. Went ahead and cycled every breaker in the box. Guess I need to get an electrician in.

wire_twister 01-19-2009 08:00 PM

does anything else not work?? I have seen circuit breakers be in the on position and still not allow any current flow. Get a wiggy or meter and test at the breaker, then test at the switch between each black wire and the ground. An easy test is to put the two wires in the switch box together, if the light lights, then the problem is the switch, if not look for an open hot or neutral wire. Beware if the ground wire is not hooked up at the panel you could read zero volts on the tester and still have a live wire in the box, BE CAREFUL!!!

PaliBob 01-19-2009 08:37 PM

1 Attachment(s)
The most basic Electrical Tester is Cheap
HF Non-Contact Voltage Tester

It is not visible in the pic, but the nose of the tester is covered in plastic. So there is no metal to metal contact as in most testers. This non-contact sensor works because it detects the electrical field around a current carrying conductor.

This type if tester will find your fault without disconnecting the switch.
1) Remove the switch wall plate
2) Push slider up to max
3) With AC Power on check the two black wires
4) Both should indicate Pwr.
5) If Chandelier is OFF then check the other side of the wire nuts (Loose wirenut?)
6) If only one black wire shows PWR then input is OK but no output from switch

.Let us know what happens

HouseHelper 01-20-2009 08:31 AM

Look for two white wires joined with a wirenut in the switch box. Check this connection.

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