dimmer hookup


Old 06-03-04, 06:57 AM
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dimmer hookup

When I tried to hook up a dimmer, the connections were not the same as what was pictured in the instructions so I need some help. In the current circuit, I have a blue wire (I assume is the ground). I also have 3 black wires that are all connected and capped. The ground is connected to one end of the switch and one of the black wires is stripped in the middle and connected to the other end of the switch. What kind of dimmer do I need (single pole or 3 way)? I tried connecting a single pole and never got it to work. How do I connect this wire setup to the dimmer?
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Old 06-03-04, 07:09 AM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 5,599
The blue is NOT the ground. Green or bare is ground. Blue is the power out to the fixture. You need a single pole dimmer. Connect the blacks from the existing switch to one terminal and the blue to the other terminal. Leave all the other wires in the box alone. You don't need to change any them.
Old 06-03-04, 07:43 AM
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I'm not sure what to do with the black wires. One of the blacks is stripped in the middle and goes around one end of the existing switch. That wire continues and joins with 2 other black wires coming out of the wall --so all 3 black wires are then capped. Do I connect just the one black wire that is stripped to the dimmer and leave the other 2 black wires capped OR connect all 3 blacks to 1 wire from the dimmer??
Old 06-03-04, 08:23 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
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All of the black wires in the box are connected together, so you are attaching one side of the dimmer switch to all of the blacks. However, it is not allowed by code or even possible to put three wires under one screw terminal on a switch. (You might be able to physically put two wires under a screw terminal, but even that is difficult, and against code.

Two techniques are used. The easiest technique is to put the wires together with a wire nut and using a short piece of wire (called a pigtail) that is connected with the wires in the wire nut. This pigtail is connected to the screw terminal of the device. The other technique is what you have, where one of the wires has an exposed area that is attached to the screw terminal.

If your dimmer has screw terminals then connect the stripped portion of the one black wire to one screw terminal and the bblue wire to the other terminal. If your dimmer has wires coming from it then connect one of the wires to the blue wire with a wire nut. You will then have to connect the other wire to the black wires. You could do this at the stripped portion of the one black wire, cutting it there and installing a wire nut over all three ends, or you could replace the existing wire nut joining the three black wires with a larger one and add the dimmer wire. You will have to shorten the black wire that is stripped to eliminate the stripped portion.

it does not sound like your junction box has ground wires. perhaps it does and you didn;t mention them. If your junction box contains ground wires (bare copper wires) then connect the ground terminal of the dimmer to these ground wires.

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