Too many fixtures on one switch

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  #1  
Old 10-20-02, 04:34 PM
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lwagner
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Too many fixtures on one switch

While replacing wall sconces and installing a chandelier in the dining room of my newly-purchased 70-year-old bungalow, I discovered that the switch in the dining room controls not only the chandelier and sconces but the bedroom, bathroom, and living room light fixtures. The previous (ugly) sconces had pull switches, but the new ones and the chandelier do not. Problem is, I cannot turn off my chandelier and sconces without also turning off the lights in the other rooms! Is there anyway to remove the other fixtures from the switch (they all have their own switches also) without tearing into the walls or undertaking a major electrical project?
 
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  #2  
Old 10-20-02, 05:38 PM
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Did you replace the switch? It would seem that if the switch remained, or you replaced the switch wire for wire and terminal for terminal, the chandelier would be switchable from the switch and the sconces and remaining lights would remain on. Is that the case?
 
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Old 10-20-02, 06:44 PM
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There are two main possibilities: (1) You replaced the switch, and did not recombine the wires properly, or (2) You disconnected more wires than necessary at the light fixtures, and did not put them back correctly. When changing a light fixture, you must be careful not to perturb any of the connections already in the box.

If you replaced the switch, tell us all the wires that are in the switch box.

If you did not replace the switch, tell us all the wires in each of the light boxes. With three lights, it will be a bit of trouble to sort it back out again, but we can do it with enough information.

As to your last request, it seems that you want the switch to control only the chandelier and not the sconces. Is this correct? Did the switch control the sconces before you changed things? If not, then we can put it back the way it was without any changes in the wall. If it did, we may still be able to make the sconces work independently of the switch -- we'll know after you give us the information requested above.
 
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Old 10-22-02, 06:40 PM
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lwagner
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Too many fixtures on one switch

I replaced the switch as it did not work. There was a plastic red wire coming into left of switch and a cloth red wire coming into right side. I used the same configuration with the new switch. The new switch is a dimmer switch and now dims all aforementioned fixtures. Switch box itself has three "feeds" coming into it. One at the bottom of the box (from the circuit breaker I would assume) has a reddish and whitish wire coming out of it. Each of these wires leads to a capped splice. The white wire splices with two other white wires (both of which go up and out through each of the other "feeds" at the top. The red wire goes to a capped splice containing four wires. Again two of these wires branch off to the other two holes at the top of the box. I assume that these two pairs of wires feed the other fixtures and outlets that turn off with the chandelier. The other red wire from the four wire splice goes to the switch (this wire is plastic coated and appears newer than the others). The other wire from the switch goes up into one of the holes at the top of the outlet box.

The chandelier box was wired with three sets of wires-two sets of three and a single wire. One set of three form a circuit with both the single wire and other group of three. All wires are cloth-covered old wires. Chandelier is wired now to the 2 sets of 3 wires with a single wire simply capped. (Attaching the single wire with group of three that do not form circuit caused the circuit to blow.)

I would like switch to control only the chandelier with other lights always getting power regardless of chandelier.
 
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Old 10-23-02, 09:35 AM
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It's possible the chandelier is controlled from 2 switch locations. Such a connection uses 3-wire cables and switches with 3 terminals.I suggest you remove the chandelier from the ceiling box until this problem is solved.Test the final connections at the ceiling box with a simple test-lamp socket before re-hanging the chandelier.We'll need an exact and accurate description of the wire connections in both the ceiling box and the switch box.It's important to distinguish between "cables" and "wire". "Cables" contain 2 or 3 "wires' and the individual wires (we hope) can be distinguished by color.--For example---if, at the ceiling box you see 3 wires "circled" by an "opening" into the box and 2 wires "circled" by another "opening" into the box, then you have a "3-wire" cable and a "2-wire" cable connected together in the box. The colors for any "3-wire" cable should be Black-Red-White and the colors for any "2-wire" cable ,Black-White.If you think you understand the "cable"-"wire" difference as described, please attempt to describe the connections the ceiling/switch outlet boxes. I well understand this is not an easy task----If your initial "report" is not accurate, maybe we can "fine-tune' it.-----Good Luck!
 
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Old 10-23-02, 04:49 PM
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lwagner, I believe you may have messed this up too badly for remote diagnosis. It may be time to call in someone with some test equipment to sort out all those wires.

If you wish to continue anyway, I have some further questions:

(1) You didn't identify any of the wire colors in the ceiling box. Please do so.

(2) You didn't say what was previously where the chandelier is now. Please provide this information and say how it was connected. It sounds like you altered the wiring in the ceiling.

(3) The description of the switch box was clear. But I suggest that you put back the original switch until we clear up the other problems.

(4) You did not directly answer my eariler question about whether the wall sconces were previously controlled by the switch.

Do not make any assumptions about the wires without testing. For example, you assumed that the wires into the bottom of the switch box are from the circuit breaker. Such assumptions are unjustified and can lead to trouble.

I suggest that you also go buy a multimeter. We'll tell you what to do with it later. This isn't going to be that easy to sort out.
 
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