URGENT - SWITCH Replacement help


Old 03-25-06, 09:06 AM
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URGENT - SWITCH Replacement help

I replaced the electrical switch in my kids bedroom and it worked fine on my first attempt. For some reason I decided to remove it and flip it around thinking I installed it wrong. In the midst of this my 6 year old reversed the batteries on my fancy tester and thinking that the power was off I tried to remove the switch. There was a small spark and the circuit breaker tripped.

To be safe I threw away the switch and used a different switch - 4 different switches to be precise. The switch has a green screw for the copper earthing wire and 2 holes on each end of the switch. I have a red and black wire but no matter which hole I plug the red and black wire the light continues to stay on. When I move it to off the light still stays ON. Why is this happening? Do I need an electrician or is this something simple? I tried the switch that I removed but still same problem. The light seems to stay on now no matter what.

One more detail - The switch operates a FAN And the lights are on the fan. All I am doing is replacing the existing switch for color matching.


Last edited by sushrut; 03-25-06 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 03-25-06, 09:48 AM
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Most likely, the Red wire is the switch-contolled conductor. Isolate the Red wire from all switch-connections. Proceeding on this presumption, the Black wire should test a "constant" 120 volts-to-Ground. The Red wire should test Zero volts-to-Ground when isolated.

I suggest testing to Ground at this point in order to avoid involving any Neutral ( White wire ) connections.
Old 03-25-06, 09:54 AM
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Inside the hole where the switch sits there are a bunch of white wires tied to each other and black wires tied to each other. There are only 3 loose wires - Red, Black and copper bare earthing. Red and black are both hot when I check with tester. The thing is this worked fine when i replaced the first one. And now after the spark the damned switch is recognizing both positions as Lights on. The fan is controlled by the Chain so it does not matter to the fan.

Quick question - I am using an existing switch in my stock that was used for lights before. Since both wires are hot and I am replacing a fan+light switch should I be using a different switch?
Old 03-25-06, 09:54 AM
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Also, don't use the "backstabs" on the switch; use the screws. Backstab connections are notorious for failure.
Old 03-25-06, 10:11 AM
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just so i do not get this wrong.

I should remove the black and red wire from the holes on the switch. Both wires are hot and have current. Then I should tied both of them to one of the screws each on the side (2 screws - 2 hot wires). The third wire which is the earthing wire stays where it is. Please confirm.

Old 03-25-06, 11:31 AM
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First things first, Your tester is probably the type that justs test for voltage present(tick tracer).
This will only verify that voltage is present. In close proximety to hot wires it will not indicate wich wire is live, as it operates on magnetic feild.

I would strongly NOT recomend, That anyone useing this type of tester depend their life on it!!
It is a general purpose tester ONLY!!!!!

Now, If you only have the black-red-bare conductors. That should be straight forward.
That is all you have, Right? Don't mess with the whites, Or any other conductors tucked in the box.
You could have grabbed a bad switch from your stock pile.
Remove the switch and secure the rd&blk wires(seperatley insulate them). Turn on the brkr and see if the light comes on. If it does.... You did something other than just change the switch wire for wire.
If it does not...... Bad switch, get a NEW one.

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