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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
I had to remove a switch for a new one for led lights and found a mess of wires in there. To keep it simple, I just undid all of them found the hot and tied them all together to test and it shorts out the circuit. I thought all I was doing was removing a switch that had no effect on the other switches, but now it doesn't work right. I have a 12/2 that's hot on the circuit. A 12/3 for a fan with light (although the red doesn't seem to power anything) and another 12/2 that I thought powered high hats. Both the fan and hats are on separate switches. The hot 12/2 to the 12/3 works. The fan and light work and they are on two separate switches. All good there. When I tie the other Romex in (presumably the high hats) - specifically the neutral, it shorts. This 3rd Romex has to be the high hats as they don't work now. I know this might be hard to follow, but can anyone explain? Attached a picture. The exposed wires are dead and guessing they are for the high hats
 

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The wire that you believe is neutral ?
May not be so, white is not always neutral
it could be part of a switch loop
How many things did this switch bank control ?
How many of these are working correctly ?
What isnt working ?
And how many wires cannot be accounted for ?

In future always take a photo of the wiring set up
before you touch anything.
it saves many headaches
 

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A "Handy Husband"
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Why is there no electrical box in the wall?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for replying. To explain further. I have a wall with 3 switches. one for the fan, one for the light on the fan, one for a bank of high hats. this hole in the picture housed a switch for some pucks that didn't work and was wired illegally from the previous owner. I am putting in new LED pucks with a new dimmer switch. I wasn't expecting to have other things powered on this switch (i.e the fan and high hats) when I removed it. the switch I removed had no effect on the high hats or the fan. anyway, as you see the picture. there is 12/3 romex that is tied into 12/2. the 12/2 was the feed from the circuit board. as hooked up, the fan and fan light work. the high hats don't. when I touch the neutral of the loose wires to the other neutrals that are pigtailed, it shorts the circuit. when I touch the black loose to the other blacks, nothing happens with the high hats. tried the black loose to the red. nothing. yes, I should have taken a picture, but it was a mangled mess and I had to undo stuff to even get it all out
 

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A "Handy Husband"
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The reason it shorts out when you touch the loose white to the neutral bundle is that the white is not a neutral, it is a hot feed for a switch loop. You are over your head, get an electrician.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
there was a box, I removed it to sort out the wires. and obviously I'm over my head otherwise I wouldn't be posting for suggestions. I plan to call an electrician, but if it was obvious what I was not doing correct, I thought someone could point that out
 

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the 12/2 was the feed from the circuit board.
What does that mean?
when I touch the neutral of the loose wires to the other neutrals that are pigtailed, it shorts the circuit.
To me that implies that cable is probably a switch loop, the white being the hot form the fixture. I would guess from the puck lights.

Since you have muck this up, you should go to the canopy of the fan/light and make sure that the 3-wire cable does indeed go to the fan/light. Determine if the red is being used or not. If being used determines why it is not functioning.


Then go to the puck light and see how the 2-wire cable is being used. As stated it is probably a switch loop. In other words the hot from the puck light goes to the switch on the white and come back on the black.

You do know what a switch loop is don't you?
 

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I had to remove a switch for a new one for led lights and found a mess of wires in there. To keep it simple, I just undid all of them found the hot and tied them all together to test and it shorts out the circuit. I thought all I was doing was removing a switch that had no effect on the other switches, but now it doesn't work right................
For anyone in the future reading this, the opposite is true. The worst thing you can do is take everything apart. I really have no idea why people do this so often.
 

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I had to remove a switch for a new one for led lights and found a mess of wires in there. To keep it simple, I just undid all of them found the hot and tied them all together to test and it shorts out the circuit. I thought all I was doing was removing a switch that had no effect on the other switches, but now it doesn't work right. I have a 12/2 that's hot on the circuit. A 12/3 for a fan with light (although the red doesn't seem to power anything) and another 12/2 that I thought powered high hats. Both the fan and hats are on separate switches. The hot 12/2 to the 12/3 works. The fan and light work and they are on two separate switches. All good there. When I tie the other Romex in (presumably the high hats) - specifically the neutral, it shorts. This 3rd Romex has to be the high hats as they don't work now. I know this might be hard to follow, but can anyone explain? Attached a picture. The exposed wires are dead and guessing they are for the high hats
Really sorry I removed your picture but the phone numbers on the open internet is not a very safe idea.
 
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