Copper showing through

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  #1  
Old 09-16-06, 07:11 AM
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Copper showing through

I've got a two dimmer switch plate that heats up when the lights are used. I pulled everything out and found a wire that was taped. I removed the tape and saw that the wire had been scraped somehow and the copper wire is showing through. Could that be causing the heat on the switch plate? Should I splice the wire to itself? Does tape do a safe job?

Thanks in advance
 
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Old 09-16-06, 07:20 AM
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The heat is from the dimmer switches. Dimmers get hot. As long as you do not exceed the total wattage allowed for the dimmer then you are fine.

Add up the wattage of the bulbs on each dimmer, and then compare it to the rating of the dimmer, which should be stamped on it. The dimmers need to be derated because you have two in a switch box.

A typical dimmer rating might be 600 watts, 900 watts, etc.

The wire you found in the box that is taped off is not used. It should also be taped off at the other end. Even if it is not taped off it will not contribute to the heat in the box.
 
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Old 09-16-06, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by racraft
The wire you found in the box that is taped off is not used. It should also be taped off at the other end. Even if it is not taped off it will not contribute to the heat in the box.
I read the post as one of the conductors in use got scraped and the copper is showing through. Either way, it will not affect the heat unless the copper itself was scraped away making the conductor itself a smaller wire. I doubt that is the situation. Usually when a wire gets scraped, the insulation is the only thing damaged.

Although dimmers do get quite warm when used, there are limits and have been known to malfunction. I can't give you anything exact but if the dimmer appears to be "hot", discontinue using it. Either replace it with a new one or eliminate it altogether.

If you use a dimmer that is rated for more than your need, they will tend to run a bit cooler as well.
 
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Old 09-16-06, 07:52 AM
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I read the Op's post as saying the wire is in use but somebody taped a bad spot on the insulation. My suggestion would be to if possible cut at the scrape and pigtail on a new piece of wire with a wire nut.
 
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Old 09-16-06, 07:59 AM
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Smile

Also...if you mean that the outer insulation on one of the conductors used for the lighting circuit is "scraped", taping with electrical tape is OK, or you could cover the exposed copper with some (electrical grade) shrink tubing.
I usually use tape for this type of repair.
Add several layers.
The tape needs to have a temperature rating at least as high as the conductor insulation.
Be sure that the copper conductor is not damaged.
Racraft is correct about the dimmers getting warm, I would follow his advice.
steve
 
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