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Old 11-10-2011, 04:46 PM   #1
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Which wire to use


I am changing out a light switch. I removed the old switch but did not mark the wires. The new switch has two posts plus a green screw. I cannot determine coloring of wires because builder painted them all white. I have tried every combination of the three screws and the three wires. The light being controlled by the switch works fine. However, 5-6 plugs in the general area now do not work. The switch I changed seems to be part of a series because the white wires are all connected inside the receptical.
Do not know if I messed up the other 5-6 plugs or a separate breaker is now bad. Do not know how to tell which breaker controls which plugs.

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Old 11-10-2011, 05:18 PM   #2
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Which wire to use


Leaving out any green screws, how many and what colors of screws did the old switch have? How many does the new switch have?

You can probably scratch the paint off the wires with your fingernail.

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Old 11-11-2011, 03:29 PM   #3
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I cannot determine coloring of wires because builder painted them all white. I have tried every combination of the three screws and the three wires.
All six combos?
If you label each wire to avoid duplications and run some simple tests I'd think you can fix this in one or two steps. You may need to plug a lamp into one of the outlets and you need a tester.
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Old 11-11-2011, 04:41 PM   #4
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After spending a day and a half on it, I called an electrician. Fixed $89.00 later.
Thanks
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Old 11-11-2011, 04:52 PM   #5
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Which wire to use


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After spending a day and a half on it, I called an electrician. Fixed $89.00 later.
Thanks
You got away very cheap, I could not get an electrician to make a house call for that little.

But a lesson to you and all other would be DIY electricians in training, mark the wires as you disconnect. It will save you time and money.
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:33 PM   #6
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Did you see how he fixed it? What instruments if any that he used? As a paying customer I'd think you are entitled to that info.
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:43 PM   #7
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After spending a day and a half on it, I called an electrician. Fixed $89.00 later.
That is a good deal! Around here everybody charges $100 just to knock on your door!

But anyway simple problem for electrician, then cost low...
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:51 PM   #8
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Yes I watched. He used a current tester and gloves that allowed him to work with the wires without having to make 2 dozen trips to breaker box.

Hot on one post. Cold on other post. These are for switch. Other wire attaches to hot post so continue the circuit. What thru me was the green screw which the newer switch had and older switch did not. I did not know whether or not to use it. Also old switch required you to stick wires into holes. New switch only had screws.

Electrician did give us a good deal. We had used him before. Said we were good people.
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Old 11-11-2011, 07:10 PM   #9
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I wouldn't be surprised if the newer switch had holes also, but it's always recommended not to use them. You can get a tighter, more reliable connection by putting a hook in the wires and torqueing down the screws on them.
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Old 11-12-2011, 10:52 AM   #10
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After spending a day and a half on it, I called an electrician. Fixed $89.00 later.
Thanks
I am sorry you had to spend any money to fix this most simple repair. My wife could have fixed it this using this forum.

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You got away very cheap, I could not get an electrician to make a house call for that little.
But a lesson to you and all other would be DIY electricians in training, mark the wires as you disconnect. It will save you time and money.
That is the truth. How many times do we help someone who takes wires loose and makes no notes or does not mark the wires or both. Seems common sense would prevail, but it doesn't.

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Did you see how he fixed it? What instruments if any that he used? As a paying customer I'd think you are entitled to that info.
Instruments?

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I wouldn't be surprised if the newer switch had holes also, but it's always recommended not to use them. You can get a tighter, more reliable connection by putting a hook in the wires and torqueing down the screws on them.
I agree the back stab method is not very popular. But if you ever had to install 100 devices, I bet you would back stab too.
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Old 11-12-2011, 12:21 PM   #11
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I hope that there is only one wire under each screw head. If there are two wires it is improper and should be fixed by pigtailing.

As far as entitled to the information, does anyone think if you had surgery the surgeon would teach you how to do the operation yourself? The HO paid for the problem to be fixed, nothing more.
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Old 11-12-2011, 01:06 PM   #12
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Which wire to use


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...As far as entitled to the information, does anyone think if you had surgery the surgeon would teach you how to do the operation yourself? The HO paid for the problem to be fixed, nothing more.
I have read quite a few medical books about doctors/surgeons and their going through medical school. And actually some surgeons are quite nasty and do not even teach the medical students! One insulted the students constantly and never tried to teach them a thing. But other doctors are quite helpful and do a lot of teaching.

Like the excellent book: "The Making of a Woman Surgeon"
http://www.amazon.com/Making-Woman-S.../dp/039912361X

So far as electrical, when I was a kid and they were building a house or whatever nearby, I would go and watch. I especially liked to watch the electricians work. Some electricians did not want to be watched and would be quite nasty - say "Get out of here kid!" But others would let me watch. Some would even tell me a little about what they were doing and encourage me to ask questions.

Later in life... I remember those experiences. If a young person is interested in learning, I try to do all I can to teach them what I am doing and will go out of my way to do so...

...but with that said, sometimes I need to "think" about a problem. Sometimes this takes my total concentration. When I do this I totally block out anything anyone says to me. Or I might be real busy and not have time to explain things. Would prefer to be left alone. But I explain that to the person wanting to learn. Then later I will explain what I was doing.
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Old 11-13-2011, 12:35 PM   #13
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Like the excellent book: "The Making of a Woman Surgeon"
http://www.amazon.com/Making-Woman-S.../dp/039912361X
It's interesting that you post this and that you see a connection between this thread and this book. I think you are tapping into something that has not yet been said outright but is present nevertheless.

Lemme' do the Cliff's Notes version of what I think is in this book.
Some doctors correctly perceive that a capable person, in this case of the wrong gender, will damage their self-esteem.
What they don't ever do is to investigate why their self-esteem is so fragile or why it is even connected to what other people know.
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Old 11-13-2011, 01:17 PM   #14
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I agree the back stab method is not very popular. But if you ever had to install 100 devices, I bet you would back stab too.

not a chance. Theres been many times that ive installed over 100 devices in a day and never once in my career have i even thought of using back stabs
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Old 11-13-2011, 02:25 PM   #15
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Which wire to use


I agree that wiring in a lot of devices with 12g wire is a major pain. Maybe if I were better at it. But still, won't use the back holes.

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