Lost Connection

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  #1  
Old 08-02-04, 10:42 AM
Big Buddy
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Lost Connection

I have a ceiling junction box that has circuit running into it from the house electrical panel. It has a white, black and ground wire. From that junction box, I want to attache a ceiling light that will be controlled from a dimmer switch on the wall. I also want to run power to 2 wall outlets from the same junction box but they would not be controlled by the same dimmer switch (in other words the 2 outlest would be "hot" all the time). How do I do this?

TIA.
 
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  #2  
Old 08-02-04, 10:48 AM
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Are you saying that you want to run the recepticle outlets from the ceiling junction box, or from the junction box where the dimmer is located?
 
  #3  
Old 08-02-04, 10:52 AM
Big Buddy
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I want to run the outlets from the ceiling junction box.
 
  #4  
Old 08-02-04, 11:00 AM
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Run a cable from the ceiling box to the first outet. This cable connects directly to the incoming power.

Make a switchloop to switch. Connect the switched hot and the netural to the light.
 
  #5  
Old 08-02-04, 11:12 AM
Big Buddy
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Thanks for your speedy response. YOU GUYS ARE GREAT!!! But I didn't explain myself well enough I guess. The ceiling junction box had already had a light fixture attached to it as well as all of the other wires running to the 2 receptacles. I was attempting to replace the ceiling fixture with a new one. When I undid the wires that were attached to the old ceiling fixture, I lost track of how everything had already been connected. I need to reconnect everything the way it was. One additional item - when I undid the wire connections, I noticed a short piece of wire in the junction box. I now know that that wire was a pigtail but I don't know where it came from or how to put another one in to make the connections the way they were before.
 
  #6  
Old 08-02-04, 11:42 AM
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Now you know the importance of making detailed notes of existing wiring before starting something.

There are several ways this could be wired. How it was wired before depends on how many wires are in the ceiling box.

Please provide detailed information on the cables present in the box and the number and color of wires in each cable.

Do you know for sure that the power comes into the box first?
 
  #7  
Old 08-02-04, 11:57 AM
Big Buddy
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I hope the following answers all of your questions:

1. Yes, power does come to the box first.
2. There are a total of 4 cables connected to the box.
2. The power line coming into the box has 3 wires: a black, white and ground wire.
3. The other 3 cables coming into the box come from each of the outlets for a total of 2 and 1 from the box where the dimmer switch is.
4. All 4 cables have the same wires in them: 1 black, 1 white and 1 ground.
5. All of the grounds are still bundled together.

TIA
 
  #8  
Old 08-02-04, 12:15 PM
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The ground wires should be all connected together, and connected to the metal box and to the ground wire for the new light.

The black power wire should be connected to the black wires going to the two recepticle outlets. Also connected to these wires is the white wire that goes to the switch, which should be marked with a black marker or with black tape to indicate that it is a hot wire.

The white power wire and the white wires going to the recepticle outlets and the white wire for the light should all be connected together.

The black wire from the switch should be connected to the black wire for the light.
 
  #9  
Old 08-02-04, 12:26 PM
Big Buddy
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Awesome!!! THANK YOU!!! I just have one final question - do I need to pigtail any of these connections and if so which ones??
 
  #10  
Old 08-02-04, 12:42 PM
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No pigtails required (assuming the light fixture has wires rather than screws for connections).
 
  #11  
Old 08-02-04, 01:32 PM
Big Buddy
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Repost: Lost Connection

I connected all the wiresd as you instructed, double checked to make sure I had the right ones, and turned the power back on. Before turning on the dimmer switch I checked the 2 outlets for power - they were fine. When I turned on the dimmer switch, I heard a pop from the switch and the light from the fixture would not turn on. I rechecked the 2 outlets and they still have power but the fixture won't go on. Any ideas? TIA
 
  #12  
Old 08-02-04, 01:54 PM
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Sounds like something is amiss at the switch.

First I would verify that you have connected the two wires going to the switch properly. Make sure that you are sending power to the switch on the white wire, and that the black wire is connected to the light.

Then I would open the switch and examine both the switch and the wiring. You should have two connections to the switch, not including the ground. If there are other wires in the switch box then we have a problem. Tell us about what you find in the switch box.

Please be careful when working with the switch. Do this with the power off. It is possible that the switch has more wires than you led us to believe.
 
  #13  
Old 08-02-04, 02:13 PM
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Inside the switch box there are 3 wires - 1 black, 1 white, 1 ground. The switch I used has 3 wires coming out of it -1 ground and 2 black. The 2 black wires do not seem to be identified as either positive or neutral. I checked the connections in the junction box again and they are connected as you said they should be.
 
  #14  
Old 08-02-04, 02:48 PM
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Are you sure that you know which wires really go to the switch?

There is no neutral on the switch. A switch has two hot wires. One is always hot, the other is switched hot.

Do you have a tester? I would disconnect the switch and test the wires. If you wires as I suggested, you should see power on the white wire (measure between the whire wire and the ground). Then try connecting the white and black wire, either directly connecting them or through a simple 2 way switch (normal on-off switch). The light should work.
 
  #15  
Old 08-02-04, 05:54 PM
Big Buddy
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Man, was I wrong!! I had crossed the switch wire with an outlet wire because they were running from the same place in the wall.

Once I got it right, I tested the wires in the switch box. The tester showed current when I touched the leads to the white and ground wires in the box.

I then connected the white and black wires and the light went on.

Your last response stated that there is no neutral on the switch. I am trying to install a rotary dimmer for the light fixture. There are 2 black wires and a ground coming from the back of the unit (which I now have to replace - my fault).

Can I "assume" that connecting the wires from the rotary dimmer to the wires in the box in the normal manner will still allow the dimmer switch to work?

I look forward to your response tomorrow. TIA
 
  #16  
Old 08-02-04, 06:36 PM
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I am not sure that I understand your last question.

A simple 2 way switch has two leads, or two connection points. A dimmer is nothing more than a switch and some components that allow a varying amount of voltage through. Since the two wires from the dimmer are both black, it makes no difference how you connect the two wires to the dimmer, as long as you don't make the mistake you made, and put 120 volts into the two leads.

The new dimmer you buy will have two leads. Unless the wiring instructions for the dimmer tell you otherwise, you can put the always hot and the switched hot on either of the non-ground leads.
 
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