What did I do wrong?

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  #1  
Old 07-17-04, 05:39 PM
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What did I do wrong?

Just finished wireing four sets of lights into a 4-gang switch box. Switches are all dimers rated for the box. I screw in a few bulbs and everything works fine.
Here is the problem. I used my ticker to make sure there was power to each fixture. My ticker ticked indicating that there was power. This would be fine except that the switch was off. The bulb is off but the ticker indicates power is present.

The power feed goes to the switch box and I wired it as follows:
All grounds wired together.
All neutrals wired together.
One black from each switch wired to the incoming power.
One black from each switch wired to a lighting circuit.

What did I do wrong? Or is my ticker just ticked.

DavidJ
 
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  #2  
Old 07-17-04, 05:45 PM
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By "ticker", do you mean a non-contact voltage tick tester?
 
  #3  
Old 07-17-04, 05:50 PM
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Yes.
I would call it a proximity tester since you toudh the cable and it indicates if power is present. If you have wires running close together it usually cannot distinguish between them. The wires I am concerned about are far enough apart. I'm going to dig out my volt meter and determine the voltage coming through the wire. Is it possible for dimmers to 'leak' voltage when they are turned off?

DavidJ
 
  #4  
Old 07-17-04, 05:55 PM
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Did you turn the dimmer off, or did you just dim it all the way down? But it might be true that the magnetic field that the tick tester is detecting can detect whatever the dimmer leaves on the line.
 
  #5  
Old 07-17-04, 06:04 PM
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I think you may have it!
The dimers have a toggle switch built into the bottom so there is still power passing through the switch when the dimmer is 'off' but the switch is still on. However I read about 50V across the black & white with the dimmer switch turned off. This doesn't seem right.

DavidJ
 
  #6  
Old 07-17-04, 06:09 PM
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There's two problems with trying to take a voltage reading here. The first is that digital multimeters are subject to being fooled by phantom voltage (capacitive coupling). And the second is that they can only accurately read voltage with reading a true sine wave, and the dimmer messes up the sine wave. Your 50 volts is probably the first of these problems.

In general, digital voltmeters are more misleading than helpful in home wiring. The only thing they're really good for is figuring out whether you have 120 volts or 240 volts.
 
  #7  
Old 07-17-04, 06:13 PM
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OK, Multimeter won't help.
But, should the tick tester still read a magnetic field when the dimmer switch is off?
DavidJ
 
  #8  
Old 07-17-04, 06:42 PM
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Beats me. I'm not sure how those dang things work anyway.
 
  #9  
Old 07-17-04, 09:33 PM
just_me2004
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hello, I just read your messages...one thought came to mind, check to make sure your hot (black) wire is truely hot and that the neutral (white) wire has no voltage. Maybe your lines could have been previously swapped. Just a thought...hope it helps...
 
  #10  
Old 07-17-04, 11:43 PM
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Thanks for the help.

I'm going to check the connections to make sure the neutral is continuous and then call it good if I can't find anything.

DavidJ
 
  #11  
Old 07-19-04, 06:57 AM
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You might just check what your voltage is from Neutral to Ground. (it should be 0 volts, or VERY close to 0 with the lights ON)
 
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