Hard To Fit Duplex Switch And Dimmer In 2 Gang. Please Help - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:16 AM   #1
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hard to fit duplex switch and dimmer in 2 gang. please help


Hi everyone. in need of some help. I have a 2 gang box. but the box is nailed to the side of the stud, metal and its the original box from the house back in 1955.

It originally had 2 single pole switches. Now i just installed recessed lighting and added the dimmer. so what i did was put the original 2 single pole switches on one duplex switch like below. and on the empty spot on the right i added a lutron dimmer.

my problem is that the both switches are bulky and wide and the left switch (duplex) black screw is touching the side of the metal 2 gange box because the box is like the smallest 2 gang box in the world. obviously thats not good because it will make contact and spark and the breaker will trip... so how can i get to fit these in with some confidence that it will touch and cause a problem? slimmer dimmer? slimmer duplex? i really dont want to replace the box and start ripping things apart.

below is the duplex switch, and the next pic is the lutron dimmer but that is on the left of the pic. that pic is not mine set up. i have a 2 gang. just wanted to show you how wide these suckers are. please help. living with the breaker off now lol. thanks




fabian
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:54 AM   #2
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In some cases you have to break off the Alum heat sinks on one side of the dimmer
In extreme cases you need to break off both

Keep in mind breaking these off reduces the watts that a dimmer can handle

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If you snap off the tabs on both sides of the heat sink a 600 watt dimmer becomes a 400 watt dimmer
I have seen outlets & switches in older metal boxes with tape wrapped around the sides to prevent touching metal/grounding hots
Not sure if that is the only fix or of there is a better way



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Old 01-17-2010, 10:19 AM   #3
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can you a one mre single gang box to the two existing and move everything to that side then blank it off or use to singlesvs duplex?
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Old 01-17-2010, 11:26 AM   #4
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Dimmer switches, by nature and design, are physically larger than normal toggle light switches. This makes it harder to add one of today's newer, more modern, dimmer switches to an existing/older outlet box. I, personally, do not recommend adding electrical tape to any device within an electric box to prevent contact(s). IMO, the solution to your problem would be to remove the existing metal box and replace it with an "old work" three-gang plastic box. This will allow you to utilize the two switches you need and the dimmer switch you want. You state that you are installing the recessed lighting, and are installing the dimmer switch. This tells me you are also running the wiring for the recessed lighting. So--you should be capable of changing the boxes out. Removing the old box is not hard. Turn off the power to all circuits within the box, with the faceplate removed, look to see which side is nailed to a wall stud, insert a hacksaw blade (either a mini-hacksaw, or blade covered with tape on one end for a handle) and cut the nails. Remove the old box, determine the cut-out for the new "old-work" box, (this box should have the two "tabs" which will hold it in place when the screws are tightened), insert the box while pulling in all wiring. Once all wiring is in, tighten the box into place and proceed to fit your switches into the box. It's a little more detailed than that, but that should guide you. Good Luck, David
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Old 01-17-2010, 11:28 AM   #5
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fabian,

if you can't configure the wiring & switches to fit properly in the box you have than your left with the decision to ether change the box to a larger plastic one (old work). or maybe put the lighting that's controlled by the stack switches and put them on one single pole switch ( considering there on the same circuit).that way you eliminate the bulky stack switch. myself i would change the box and be done with it. it fairly easy.shut the power off and cut the nails on the box and take it out. if you decide to go that route make sure you mark you wires as not to end up in another jam good luck!!

Last edited by richgriffith; 01-17-2010 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 01-17-2010, 03:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richgriffith View Post
fabian,

if you can't configure the wiring & switches to fit properly in the box you have than your left with the decision to ether change the box to a larger plastic one (old work). or maybe put the lighting that's controlled by the stack switches and put them on one single pole switch ( considering there on the same circuit).that way you eliminate the bulky stack switch. myself i would change the box and be done with it. it fairly easy.shut the power off and cut the nails on the box and take it out. if you decide to go that route make sure you mark you wires as not to end up in another jam good luck!!
thanks guys for the replies and advice. Rich. My switches are for this. One for outdoor entrance light. One for an outlet. And last is a dimmer for recessed lights I just installed last night. Are you saying wire it up so I use a single pole switch and have that switch turn on the outside light and the outlet? This will allow me to use a single pole which is much slimmer than the duplex. Which of course will provide enough space for screw to box clearance. I don't think I mind having one switch work the outside light and outlet. The outlet most of the time is just used for vacumming as if now. Seems like a good idea. Am I on the same page? I could also try to remove it and insert a 3 gang plastic. Mmmmm
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Old 01-17-2010, 04:37 PM   #7
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yes that's what i meant control both light & plug with one single pole switch. that way you don't have the bulky stack switch to deal with. should free up some space. also if you go that route rap electrical tape around the device screws to keep them from touching the metal box.
good luck. let us know how that works out. P.S always shut the power off before doing any electrical work.
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Old 01-17-2010, 05:08 PM   #8
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Ty rich.
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Old 01-17-2010, 05:26 PM   #9
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your very welcome, good luck!!
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Old 01-18-2010, 07:54 AM   #10
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Did you use the backstab hole on the back of the devices and not screw the screws into the device? Mounting holes are spaced the same on new boxes as old so you should not be having an issue. Perhaps you just need to shift the devices on the mounting screws.
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