dimmer switch caused other lights not to work

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  #1  
Old 01-08-03, 01:38 PM
J
jpettibon
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Unhappy dimmer switch caused other lights not to work

I have a light in my dining room controlled by one switch in a two-switch box. The other switch in the box controls another light in a stairwell which is also controlled by a second switch. Both of these share a breaker with a porch light, a light in the living room and some outlets in the living room.

I decided to install a rotary-push switch for the dining room light. The existing switch was a standard on-off with two hot wires and a ground. The ground was connected by a side-mounted screw terminal and the hot wires were in push-to-release connectors. The dimmer switch has two hot (black) wires and one ground (green).

After turning off the breaker I connected the three sets of wires with twist-on wiring caps. Then I turned on the breaker. The porch, stairwell, and dining room (with dimmer switch) all worked, but the outlets and light in the living room would not come on. I checked connections and everything seemed okay. I decided to go back to the original switch...

After putting the original switch back in, all lights and outlets worked fine. Any ideas as to why the dimmer switch would cause this problem? Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 01-08-03, 01:52 PM
G
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Is there a possiblity the other devices are controlled by that switch? Turn the switch off and test the receptacles and see if they work on both the upper and lower ports.
Was the old switch a standard switch (meaning two terminals for the hots) or was there more terminals?
 
  #3  
Old 01-08-03, 03:17 PM
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jpettibon
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Thanks for the reply! The switch only controls the overhead light in the dining room; the other light has its own switch and the outlets are non-switched.

The old switch has two push-to-release sockets and two side-mount screw terminals. The hotwires were attached to the push-to-release sockets and the ground wire was attached to one of the screw terminals. I am attaching a crude drawing of the back of the old switch. You have to push something into the rectangles (I used a knife tip) to release the hotwires from the circles (holes). I hope the attachment works!
 
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Old 01-08-03, 03:18 PM
G
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You said "The hotwires were attached to the push-to-release sockets and the ground wire was attached to one of the screw terminals"
What colours are these wires? Are these lights you put the dimmer to controlled at any other place? Are you sure the wire you are calling ground really was a ground and not the hot to the rest of the circuit? (What colour was it? Bare?)
 
  #5  
Old 01-08-03, 04:49 PM
J
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I think GARD is correct. The wire you think is the ground is not feed to the recepticles. Was the screw it was under directly beside on othe push in wires? If it was then you need to connect this wire with the one that was in the push in and one of the dimmer wires. Connect the other wire to the dimmer and cap off the ground or connect it to eh box if it is metal.
 
  #6  
Old 01-08-03, 04:52 PM
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jpettibon
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Unfortunately, all of the house wiring has black insulation. I only assumed that the wire attached to the screw was the ground since the other two were hooked up to the same type of connector. I assumed there were two hot and two grounds. Would that be correct??

joed, are you saying that I should just not have a ground? Just cap it off?
 
  #7  
Old 01-08-03, 05:00 PM
G
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What he is saying you may not have a ground in there insulated wires are rarely grounds except if conduit was used. Older homes in many cases did not have grounds in many places especially switches. check the other wires that you say you had and see if you have continueity from it to a receptacle that is not working. That wire may of been the feed for the section that does not work. In that case it will have to be pigtailed to the source power for the dimmer.
 
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