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Old 03-29-2010, 09:45 PM   #1
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Connecting Decora Switch


I have two switch board. One has decora switch and the other is regualr. My electrician did change all the switches to Decora except this one..

So I thought I would go ahead and change this one.. I opened the existing switch and I see all three black wires connected to this switch.. I did the same way to decora switch.. did not work out.. Not only this switch and couple of other switches are also not working..

Then I opened the existing Decora switch and it is connected with only one black and one white (Neutral).. White is on top and Black is at the bottom.
See the pic:
http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/v...h/P3290170.jpg

See these pics, where I have three black wires.. How do I connect them ? which black one one should go to bottom ? doesn't need white (Neutral) ? Why the other two switches stopped working ? are that serially connected to this one ? How do I identify that ?

Also I am connecting on the side but not on the top because I see a broken piece on one of the top slot.. I don't know how to take that out..hence I am connecting to the side.. Does that make a differrence ?

Any help on this one will be appreciated.

http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/v...h/P3290171.jpg
http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/vv352/Forex101/Electrical%20Switch/P3290172.jpg
http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/vv352/Forex101/Electrical%20Switch/P3290173.jpg

Last edited by cprao; 03-29-2010 at 09:49 PM.
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Old 03-29-2010, 10:09 PM   #2
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those wires you disconnected are feeding power to the other switches. When you disconnected those wire, the power to the other switches went. If you look on the side of the switch, where the 2 copper screws are, it should say beside one of the screws "common". Connect those 3 wires to the "common side", that wire that's connected to the other copper screw, just leave it their.
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by humberguy View Post
those wires you disconnected are feeding power to the other switches. When you disconnected those wire, the power to the other switches went. If you look on the side of the switch, where the 2 copper screws are, it should say beside one of the screws "common". Connect those 3 wires to the "common side", that wire that's connected to the other copper screw, just leave it their.
Thank you for your reply.. But I am little confused here.

I have not able to locate any "Common screw" over there..

I have connected 2 black wires to both the side copper screws.. Due to which the switch started working .. But the other switch still not getting power .. and one wire is left out.. Now I am not sure where do I connect the third balck wire..

After connecting 2 wires, here are the pics. One wire is dangling.. don't know where to connect.. Help appreciated..
http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/v...h/P3290177.jpg

http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/v...h/P3290176.jpg
http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/v...h/P3290175.jpg
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:42 PM   #4
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first off anytime you take out a device you should double and triple check to see how it was hooked up before. Was it a three way switch or a single pole. Most likely if it was a single pole one of blacks was the switch leg one was the feed the other is the feed for other devices. Without marking them at the time of taking them off the original switch there's no way to find out which is which other than test them. The other switch having a white on it means nothing...as you can see it's marretted with a black which means it's carrying power and not a neutral wire. so first find your feed. then find which wire controls the lights that need to be switched. Marrette the wire that feed the other switches with the feed and leave a pig tail to wire to your new decora switch. tie the wire that controls the lights into the other screw on the switch. Install switch with screws to the right. Done deal . unless of course it was a 3 way before then it's a whole different ballgame.
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew79 View Post
first off anytime you take out a device you should double and triple check to see how it was hooked up before. Was it a three way switch or a single pole. Most likely if it was a single pole one of blacks was the switch leg one was the feed the other is the feed for other devices. Without marking them at the time of taking them off the original switch there's no way to find out which is which other than test them. The other switch having a white on it means nothing...as you can see it's marretted with a black which means it's carrying power and not a neutral wire. so first find your feed. then find which wire controls the lights that need to be switched. Marrette the wire that feed the other switches with the feed and leave a pig tail to wire to your new decora switch. tie the wire that controls the lights into the other screw on the switch. Install switch with screws to the right. Done deal . unless of course it was a 3 way before then it's a whole different ballgame.
Thank you Andrew. It is not a 3 way switch. I can tell you that. In fact when we took it off.. we saw how they are connected but since all three are black.. I guess we are confused.. and made a mistake in connecting back..

Now my switch works.. does that mean the 2 wires that I connected correctly are right ? Can I assume that ? If that is the case, I can connect the 3rd wire to the other side of the screw ?
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Now my switch works.. does that mean the 2 wires that I connected correctly are right ? Can I assume that ? If that is the case, I can connect the 3rd wire to the other side of the screw ?
That's right, Now connect the 3rd wire where you connected the 2nd wire on the same screw.
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by humberguy View Post
That's right, Now connect the 3rd wire where you connected the 2nd wire on the same screw.
Two conductors under one screw would be incorrect. A pigtail would be the proper way to connect two conductors using one screw.

To the OP, what you probably had was a power in, a power out, that were joined, and the switched power out.

You just need to connect the 3rd wire to the black that is hot all the time. Once you figure out which one is hot join it to the unused black with a short length of wire. Attach the other end of the pigtail to the screw on the switch.

Whites attached to a regular switch would not be a neutral. This would be part of a switch loop and would be providing power to the switch.
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Old 03-30-2010, 11:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
Two conductors under one screw would be incorrect. A pigtail would be the proper way to connect two conductors using one screw.

To the OP, what you probably had was a power in, a power out, that were joined, and the switched power out.

You just need to connect the 3rd wire to the black that is hot all the time. Once you figure out which one is hot join it to the unused black with a short length of wire. Attach the other end of the pigtail to the screw on the switch.

Whites attached to a regular switch would not be a neutral. This would be part of a switch loop and would be providing power to the switch.

Sorry not being familiar with electrical stuff, I am confused.

When I opened this I don't see a pigtail.. I did understand that connecting 2 wires to one screw is not a proper way.
What I understand is one balck wire gets connected to the switch and another 2 balckwires (one should be always hot) should connected to pigtail. Is this right ? then what goes on the 2nd screw ? Confused?

Can you please provide step--wise instrcutions ?
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Old 03-30-2010, 11:18 AM   #9
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sorry let me clarify. By pigtail i mean to take both the "hot" wires. and marrette them together with a small piece of wire that will go fromm the marrette to the switch. the added wire will get attached to one screw on the switch. The third black wire that runs the lights that you want the switch to control will go on the other screw of the switch. Doesn't matter what screw you attach to with a single pole. Install with the screws to the right(this assures that your "on" and "off" are oriented right). So in the end you will have the feed, the continuing feed, and your 6 inch piece of black wire in a marrette. The other end of the 6 inch piece will get connected to the switch along with the "switch leg".
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Old 03-30-2010, 11:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew79 View Post
sorry let me clarify. By pigtail i mean to take both the "hot" wires. and marrette them together with a small piece of wire that will go fromm the marrette to the switch. the added wire will get attached to one screw on the switch. The third black wire that runs the lights that you want the switch to control will go on the other screw of the switch. Doesn't matter what screw you attach to with a single pole. Install with the screws to the right(this assures that your "on" and "off" are oriented right). So in the end you will have the feed, the continuing feed, and your 6 inch piece of black wire in a marrette. The other end of the 6 inch piece will get connected to the switch along with the "switch leg".
Ok.. I am sure.. you must be feeling.. how difficult it is to teach a dummy, right ?



Finally, I followed the below steps.. All went well.. It is back to normal.

In fact the initial setup was not right. There was no piglet. They connected one black on the side and another black from the top.. I guess this is not in line with the code. I am glad,, now I have added piglet with your help..

Thank you very much for all your help..Appreciated.


Steps.

1. Get another new piece of wire.
2. Get a piglet
3. Connect two wires out of 3 existing wires along with new piece of wire with a piglet
4. The other side of the new wire goes to one screw of the switch
5. The 3rd existing wire will go to the other side of the switch..
6) And I am done.

Please confirm.

Last edited by cprao; 03-30-2010 at 01:35 PM.
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