1. We strive to be a place where there can be honest discussion, debate and fellowship. The rules are few so you can speak your mind. We know we are living in tough times and we hope to share answers and help with each other. Please join us.
    Dismiss Notice

Electrical help

Discussion in 'Creative, Hobby and Skills Forum' started by CTZonEdit, Nov 27, 2006.

  1. CTZonEdit

    CTZonEdit Site Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    293
    Any one here good with home wiring?

    Need help installing a new light switch and confused about what wires go where.
     
  2. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    1,556
    Gender:
    Male
    Complete from fuse box or just new switch? If switches single pole (one switch for one light) or double poll (two switches for one light)?
     
  3. CTZonEdit

    CTZonEdit Site Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    293
    Replacing existing switch.

    And I believe its a 3 way. The light is being controlled by a switch and a dimmer one on each side of the room.

    We are redoing the room and I want to upgrade the switches. So may need help replacing the dimmer as well.

    I can take pics and post If you need.
     
  4. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    1,556
    Gender:
    Male
    No. The principal is the same.

    First, only use the dimmer on one end. Not both.

    With older wiring you cannot trust the color coding. I learned that the hard way.

    Remove each plate and pull each switch out of the box without detaching any wires.
    Compare the wire connections of the old switch to the new. If lucky they will have the saem config, as in the always separate ground, hot on top and two colds on bottom, same or opposite sides.

    If you find that you have it made. Just swap the wires over in eactly the same config. Note: If the only difference is the colds are together instead of side by side, it doesn't matter, they can be inverted to each switch. The hot is what counts.

    If a confusing change, isolate the hot. Do that by disconnecting the one you think is hot, one end. Only that one wire. Test both ends. If nothing, that is the hot and goes on the single poll end, usually top. If you get one setting that has light, then it is a cold.

    Put the wire back and keep trying until you find the hot. Mark that wire. Repeat on other end.

    That is about it.

    Just make sure you get the right switches. A single poll switch won't work. You need double.

    I like the paddles for the reg switch. And you might want to consider a lighted one as a night lght. Runs around 8 bucks here.

    Hope that helps.

    If you need pics, do some Googling. There has to be a good pic site out there.
     
  5. CTZonEdit

    CTZonEdit Site Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    293
    Only one dimmer in the circuit yes. But will be upgrading to a new one. So one switch and one dimmer.

    The colors of wire in each switch right now is 2 blacks and a red. On the existing switch, there is a pole labeled 'Common' with a black wire in it at the top. The bottom poles have a red and a black, neither labeled.

    And will have to buy a new switch since I bought a single pole.

    Confusing because I am used to seeing a black, white and ground.
     
  6. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    1,556
    Gender:
    Male
    This ain't electronic. Don't trust the color coding.

    The one common at the top should be the hot. Make sure it goes back on top.

    Remember, the dimmer needs to be double pole as well.

    It should have been red hot and the two blacks returns/cold. But I have seens whites and blues hot in the past.
     
  7. CTZonEdit

    CTZonEdit Site Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    293
    OK.

    The dimmer may be a whole nother can of worms.

    Dont remember off hand but I think there were 3 reds coming out of it a one black. But not sure.

    Will get one working first then the other.
     
  8. Jessie

    Jessie Pro Poster

    Messages:
    394
    you can get a tester to see which one is hot.

    the other 2 should be grounds. (from my husband)

    he said its just safer to get a tester, and make sure only one is hot.
     
  9. CTZonEdit

    CTZonEdit Site Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    293
  10. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    1,556
    Gender:
    Male
    All you are concerned about is the wires that actually connect to the switch. Leave any other capped off connections alone. Forget about them.

    You are making it too complicated. It is an established circuit. You are only replacing an element of it.

    Just replace the connections one for one, old to new. Top to top and bottoms to bottoms.

    The common is always part of the circuit. The bottom is the actual switch. Inside the switch it is either touching wire one or wire to. If both switches touch wire one, you have a circuit. If both touch wire two, a circuit. If one touches wire one and one wire two, you have no circuit.

    Three wires run the circuit. A complete circuit requires the common plus the same other wire. Otherwise you have one complete wired and one incomplete wire, by design.

    Circuits spider web from you breaker box throughout the house. Rarely does plug and light wires go soley to one light. Each light circuit normally splices into the main power supply line.
     
  11. CTZonEdit

    CTZonEdit Site Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    293
    OK. Finally got the new 3 way switch.

    Made all the connections and its working fine.

    Thanks for the help so far. Next is to get a new dimmer and try that.
     
  12. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    1,556
    Gender:
    Male
    If you got the one the other will be no problem.
     
  13. Jessie

    Jessie Pro Poster

    Messages:
    394
    :yowza:
     
  14. CTZonEdit

    CTZonEdit Site Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    293
    OK got the new dimmer and swapped it out no problem. The instructions for it were well written which makes all the difference. So now everything is changed out and working good!
     
  15. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    1,556
    Gender:
    Male
  16. CTZonEdit

    CTZonEdit Site Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    293
    OK. Got another question.

    Can you upgrade an old outlet to a GFCI outlet simply by swapping them out?
    Or does the circuit need to be rewired first?
     
  17. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    1,556
    Gender:
    Male
    You want the wire to be copper, not aluminum. Aluminum is not good for any circuit.

    And since the GFCI is larger, you have to see if it will fit your existing box. If not, then you have to replace the whole box as well, which means altering your wall.

    Just make sure the hot wires connect to the line terminal(s).
     

Share This Page