Bathroom switch mystery

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  #1  
Old 09-18-05, 10:57 AM
SweetPea
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Bathroom switch mystery

Preparing to paint, I lowered the wall light fixture, leaving all wires connected. Suddenly and without any other indication, the light went out and the switch no longer works. First, I checked to ensure that all fixture wiring remained intact and tight.

In this same plastic box are two GFCI receptacles with test/reset switches and they are both still fully functional. I unscrewed and pulled out the switch which had only two black wires, one in each end. I removed and traced the wires; one goes to a pigtail with four other black wires. The other is the black wire of one of two 14 ga. pairs that enter the box. I tested across these two black wires and found neither 110V nor continuity between them. I removed wire nuts and checked to see that between the white group and black group there is 110VAC. I also verified that no breakers had tripped. I checked and found continuity between the poles of the switch.

I can find no reason this switch should have EVER worked the way it was wired, much less any reason to expect it should work now. Anybody got any ideas?
 
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  #2  
Old 09-18-05, 11:45 AM
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Location: Central New York State
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Measuring across the switch was a waste of time and meaningless.

Measure between the black wire that comes from the group of black wires (the input to the switch) and the group of white wires. Then measure between the black wires that is the out put of the switch and group of white wires, with the switch on. You should read 120 volts in each case.

Now measure at the light itself, again with the switch on. You should have 120 volts there.

Where you don't have 120 volts points you to the problem.
 
  #3  
Old 09-18-05, 02:14 PM
SweetPea
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Simple answers are the best

Thanks for the quick, though somewhat blunt, reply. I have since discovered the problem and, as is often the case, it was the most simple and obvious of causes. Between the time I lowered the fixture and returned to find the switch "not working", my wife had REMOVED THE BULBS and didn't tell me!
 
  #4  
Old 09-19-05, 08:41 AM
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Thanks for the chuckle.
 
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