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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a box that has 4, single pole switches (living room lights, porch lights, fan 1, fan 2). I would like to replace one of the switches with a dimmer switch.

I purchased a single pole dimmer switch and attempted to replace the standard switch with it. I thought this would be easy, but the wiring inside this box is confusing to me. I copied the wiring on the original switch. Now, the dimmer and lights work, but none of the other switches on the circuit work!

I put the original switch back, and all of the switches work again. This circuit is difficult for me to understand. In the box, all of the white wires (neutral?) are tied together and are not connected to any switches, the switch side terminals are all connected together with red insulated wires that is connected to one of the incoming black insulated (hot?), and the bare grounds are all tied together in the box.

I'm replacing a single pole switch with another single pole switch (dimmer) and wiring it identically, so I don't understand what is wrong.
 

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5 white wires tied together? 4 blacks coming off the switches going out to the lights and fans? 1 white coming in with the black that's connected to the reds? Am I getting this right?

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A single pole switch has two wires + maybe a ground. The only two wires you need to touch are the two on the switch. If you messed with any of the other wires, then put them all back where they were before.
 

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If that's how it's set up, I'm not sure why the dimmer wouldn't work. As long as the red wires are all touching each other. Did you attach both red wires to the dimmer switch or forget one? Did you try the dimmer on the other light switch, doubt it would work on the fan

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks for the help! I didn't describe what I have going on very well. I drew my box below and I am attempting to install the dimmer switch in the location labeled "Dim".

With the new switch, I hooked the green wire to red, black to black, and black to black. The dimmer switched worked perfectly, but none of the other switches functioned anymore.
 

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Connect one of the dimmer blacks to the red and the other black to the black going to the fixture. the green is a ground. If I understand your 2nd dwg correctly I doubt that's how your circuits are connected. The dwg has both hot and neutral going directly to the fixtures and the switches daisy-chained together but not part of the circuits.

If you connected the ground (green) to hot I'm surprised anything is still working.

As briefly mentioned above, if the 'dimmer' is intended for one of the fans, it won't work or won't work for long. Fan motors required a specific controller that look a long like dimmers and are often displayed together at many stores.
 

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Yep green should be to the grounds, one black to your hot and the red, and the other black to the black that goes to your light. Should be good then. Not sure if that's code though.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you all for the help. Everything is working properly now. I thought that the black and red wires on the "dim" switch were on different terminals, but I did a continuity check on the old switch and it turns out that the side and back terminals are connected internally.

This is how the dimmer switch is connected now:
black - red/black (3 wires connected with wire nut)
black - black
green - ground

I was getting confused before because the red wires connecting all of the switches were on the side terminals where I would think ground would normally go (from wiring diagrams I found online).
 
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