(What Is) this switch supposed to do?

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  #1  
Old 04-24-05, 02:13 PM
rUfUnKy
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Question (What Is) this switch supposed to do?

OK I hope some of you professionals can make since out of this nest of wires.

A little explanation of the setup:

!) The left switch is a 3 pole switch it turns on/off the hall light along with another at the end of the hall.

2) The middle switch is a dimmer that is connected to the foyer fan lights

3) The right switch I have no Idea! I thought it was another 3 pole switch like the ones in the hall so I wouldn't have to run down the stairs every time someone shut the fan light off using the switch by the front door.

Someone please help me figure out what this switch is supposed to do!
http://img132.echo.cx/img132/186/electrical7mj.jpg
 
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  #2  
Old 04-24-05, 02:47 PM
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It probably was the other end of a 3 way switch leg, abandoned, and the fan switch installed.

Someones priority list.
 
  #3  
Old 04-24-05, 03:16 PM
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My guess is that it feeds, or used to feed, a receptacle.

My parents house had a similar setup, with the third switch controlling a receptacle in the living room.
 
  #4  
Old 04-24-05, 03:25 PM
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Does your house have an attic fan?

I have a switch in my hallway to turn it off during the winter months. Just trying to help!
 
  #5  
Old 04-25-05, 05:59 AM
rUfUnKy
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Snoonyb, do they have 3 way switch dimmers? One end being a dimmer the other just a toggle switch?

racraft, What do you mean by a receptacle? Do you mean a outlet? Because I have tried toggling the switch with a lamp plugged into all of the Living room outlets to no avail.

Desy2820, my house does not have a attic fan...good suggestion though.

Another note: This is a raised ranch home and this electrical box is in the hall at the top of the stairs leading from the front door (foyer). So anyone familiar with this style home might have a better idea of what this switch is supposed to be for.

Also, what color wires indicate what
Red = ?
Black = ?
white = ?

Thanks again
 
  #6  
Old 04-25-05, 06:10 AM
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do they have 3 way switch dimmers? One end being a dimmer the other just a toggle switch?
Yes.

What do you mean by a receptacle? Do you mean a outlet?
Yes. We tend to use the more precise term "receptacle", because in the official language of the code, "outlet" refers to more than just receptacles. But yes, we mean that thing on the wall you can plug a lamp into.

Because I have tried toggling the switch with a lamp plugged into all of the Living room outlets to no avail.
Make sure you try both the upper half and lower half of each outlet separately. Very often the switch only controls one half.

what color wires indicate what
In most homes, we only have three wire colors to work with, but yet we have dozens of possible wire functions. So it isn't possible to assign a wire color to just one function. But we can make some general statements. Black and red wires must always be hot wires. Much of the time (but certainly not always), a black wire will be continuously hot while a red wire with be a switched hot. White wires are usually neutrals, but can be used as hot wires in certain situations. Bare and green wires are always ground.
 
  #7  
Old 04-25-05, 06:13 AM
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A receptacle is what you plug something into. Technically an outlet is any location where you use power, including, for example, a ceiling light.

Did you check each half of every receptacle, top and bottom? Sometimes half a receptacle will be switched.

Another possibility is an outside light, such as a flood light.

Black and red wires are always hot wires. Sometimes they are switched. If only one is switched, usually it is the red wire.

White wires are usually neutrals, or returns. Sometimes they are hot wires, but when that is the case they should be colored black with a piece of tape or a marker.

Green or bare wires are ground wires.
 
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Old 04-25-05, 02:47 PM
rUfUnKy
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Thanks so much for your help guys! I did not try both top and bottom of the receptacle . Nor did I try the front lamp post light so I will do that

Edit: No go.. I tried all receptacles top and bottom and lamppost
 
  #9  
Old 04-25-05, 03:14 PM
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I Think my first guess is looking better all the time.
If the question regarding the wire colors are directed to what appears to be the inactive switch and only those wires are there, it would probable be that surmise.
With the breaker off, what are the wire colors in both of the active switches and if you have a multi-tester and know how to do continuity tests. are the two connected and how.
 
  #10  
Old 04-25-05, 04:45 PM
rUfUnKy
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Originally Posted by Snoonyb
With the breaker off, what are the wire colors in both of the active switches and if you have a multi-tester and know how to do continuity tests. are the two connected and how.
OK, to start off there are 5 sections of wires.
-Starting from left to right, section 1,2 and 3 are White, Red, Black, and Bare Copper wires.
-Section 4 and 5 have only Black, White and Bare Copper wires.


On the left switch (the 3 leg switch for the hall) there is the Black, red and white connected (white is used on the third leg) All these wires come from the same section of wires (section 1).

On the middle dimmer the Red and white wires are connected. The white and red wire come from two separate sections of wires though (sections 2 and 3).

The right switch (AKA The mystery switch) has all the black wires from Section 2, 3 and 4 wired together with a cap and the cap has a wire going to the top of the Right switch. The black wire from section 5 goes to the bottom of the Right switch.

I hope you can understand this explanation
 
  #11  
Old 04-25-05, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by rUfUnKy
OK, to start off there are 5 sections of wires.
-Starting from left to right, section 1,2 and 3 are White, Red, Black, and Bare Copper wires.
-Section 4 and 5 have only Black, White and Bare Copper wires.


On the left switch (the 3 leg switch for the hall) there is the Black, red and white connected (white is used on the third leg) All these wires come from the same section of wires (section 1).

On the middle dimmer the Red and white wires are connected. The white and red wire come from two separate sections of wires though (sections 2 and 3).

The right switch (AKA The mystery switch) has all the black wires from Section 2, 3 and 4 wired together with a cap and the cap has a wire going to the top of the Right switch. The black wire from section 5 goes to the bottom of the Right switch.

I hope you can understand this explanation
I knew this was going to make my head hurt. Part of this is speaking the language.

The left switchbox has a three way switch.
Which wire is connected to the black screw?
Are those the only three wires in that box?

The right switchbox contains a single pole switch and appears to contain the hot.
You didn't mention a white wire in the right box which implies the your wireing is contained in pipe or metalic flex.

In the ceiling bxes, what wires are there?

By the way, It appears I was incorrect in my original guess.
 
  #12  
Old 04-25-05, 06:46 PM
rUfUnKy
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Originally Posted by Snoonyb
The left switchbox has a three way switch.
Which wire is connected to the black screw?
http://img249.echo.cx/img249/4500/switch4lc.jpg
Well both switches in there a leviton (left and right switches) The left does not have a black screw but the right one does on the bottom.The wire connected to the bottom of the right switch is Black.(Maybe the picture will help..I'm sorry! )
Originally Posted by Snoonyb
Are those the only three wires in that box?
There are 5 sections of wires (Wire sections are explained in above post)
4 wires go to the left switch (Wire Section 1) - Red, Black, White and copper
Originally Posted by Snoonyb
In the ceiling bxes, what wires are there?
I don't remember but If it would help I'll take a look tomorow.
 
  #13  
Old 04-25-05, 08:05 PM
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There are 5 sections of wires (Wire sections are explained in above post)
4 wires go to the left switch (Wire Section 1) - Red, Black, White and copper

Sections mean nothing to me.

Switch boxes, light outlet boxes, type of switches, (not mfg.) and number as well as color of conductors do.

We'er trying to find the termination of the black wire from the right switch.
 
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