Shorting Light Switch

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  #1  
Old 03-30-05, 01:54 PM
EKG
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Shorting Light Switch

I am remodeling a bathroom. I had the new rough electrical done by a contractor, but I am installing the lights, plugs and switches. I have a double light switch panel - one switch controls the 250W vanity light (simple on/off), the second light switch is on/off with a dimmer, rated to 1000w, to control 5 60W recessed lights. I had the dimmer switch working before I installed the vanity light and switch. Now I have the vanity light/switch working, but when I switch on the dimmer, the switch sparks and then doesn't work. I have ruined two dimmer switches to date. Any thoughts?
 
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  #2  
Old 03-30-05, 02:13 PM
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You have hooked the wires up wrong.

Tell us ALL the wires in the switch box and how they connect. How they connect to each other, to the switches, etc.
 
  #3  
Old 03-30-05, 03:45 PM
EKG
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Connecting the Wires

Four whites, all pigtailed together; four blacks - one to each terminal (or two to each switch); and four grounds - two pigtailed together and one each to each switch. I hope this makes sense.
 
  #4  
Old 03-30-05, 03:54 PM
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Tell me what cables those wires are in. Are they all from different cables?

Also tell me the wiring at each light.

How much of this wiring did you do and how much did the builder/electrician do?
 
  #5  
Old 03-30-05, 05:59 PM
EKG
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There are four cables coming into the box. Each cable has a black, a white and a ground. The electrician left the whites pigtailed and capped. The blacks pigtailed with four leads, and the grounds pigtailed and capped. I attached one black lead to each side of a switch and connected a ground to each switch too. I assume that one cable is the power; one cable goes to the string of recessed lights; one cable goes to the vanity light; and one cable goes to the bedroom (the bedroom is on the same breaker and shares a wall with the bathroom switches). The wiring was all done an electrician, but I am installing the lights and switches. I looped the recessed lights together, but the vanity light box was left with one cable exposed (black, white, ground). Keep in mind, I have already drywalled the area and I can no longer see where the cables are going to or coming from and I have limited access in the attic because of a vaulted ceiling. Thanks for your help.
 
  #6  
Old 03-30-05, 06:13 PM
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I need more information. I think you are using the word pigtailed incorrectly.

If things are as you say they are, the white wires should be wire nutted together. all four of them. There should be no pigtails.

Two of the black wires should be wire nutted together. Using two pigtails (or in some other manner) these two black wires should be connected to each switch.

The other two black wires should each be connected to a switch.

The grounds should all be connected together. The grounds should also connect to each switch and to the box, if the box is metal.

If the above what you have, or do you have something else.

Another possibility is that you have a ground wire making a connection (inadvertently) to one of the hot wires, such as when you pushed the switches back into the box.
 
  #7  
Old 03-30-05, 07:06 PM
EKG
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Yes, I meant wire nutting. And yes, my wiring is as you suggest. I changed the fried dimmer switch for a cheaper on/off switch until I get this right. Now, when I put the breaker to on, the vanity light works, but when I switch the recessed light switch on, the lights attempt to come on and I pop the breaker.
 
  #8  
Old 03-31-05, 04:20 AM
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I need to know the wiring at the vanity light and at the recessed light.
 
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