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Blew up dimmer. Now light won't work...

10693 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  QCKiwi
Hi, I have 2 lights in my bathroom that are on a 3-way circuit. One of the switches had a dimmer. I purchased two new recess lights and went about installing them. You can see these in the pic. Please ignore all the wires in the closest one - I was testing a different fixture/bulb to see if it was the wiring or the fixture that was faulty.
Initially, I installed the closest (#1)one successfully and set about installing the second (#2). The screws holding the metal box in place were stripped, so I had a nightmare of a time trying to remove it. I attached the wires to the new junction box that came with the light fixture and left it to the next morning to attack the metal box again. I figured that this would be fine, but while using the bathroom this morning, the #1 light went out. I flicked the breaker and it worked again, but when I flicked the dimmer switch off and on again, there was a spark and the dimmer switch and close light ceased to work.
I set about installing the far light (#2), managed to remove the metal box and successfully installed it. I put the old 3-way switch back in place of the burnt-out dimmer, and it works, but only light #2 now works. Light #1 seems to be broken somehow. I tested the new recess fixture and it works when attached elsewhere. I then attached an old fixture to the outlet of #1 and tried several bulbs, but nothing seems to work. Is it possible that I have fried the wiring for this outlet? Wouldn't that render the entire 3-way circuit useless though, not just one of the two outlets?
Most importantly, how can I fix this?? Unfortunately I don't have a voltage tester, so I can't check if there is a current from the outlet wires.
Thanks for your help![email protected]/23346248681/in/dateposted-public/
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Well, dimmers blow if there's too much current being drawn through them. My house has few recessed lights, the light switches typically control outlets and they had dimmers (against code, dimmers are not supposed to control outlets). My wife unplugged the light and plugged in a vacuum cleaner into the dimmer controlled outlet and that fried one dimmer. The other was the bathroom had a little lamp on a dimmer on an outlet, my dad unplugged the light, plugged in a power tool and that fried another dimmer. They can only handle something like 600 watts and then fry. If yours fried, more than 600 watts was drawn through it.

It goes back to the light that fried the dimmer. You also have to watch out for metal boxes, sometimes a screw won't be tightened and because of the wires in the back and dimmers take up so much room they can sometimes twist a little bit and the screw will make contact with the metal sides. I hate when others say it, but I think we need to see a diagram of how you wired it. Do it in Paint, no thrills.
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