Need help with two single pole switches


Old 09-20-07, 03:01 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 6
Unhappy Need help with two single pole switches

I went to replace two single pole switches that are in a dual outlet at the same location; the one on the right operates the kitchen light; the one on the left operates the dining room light.

After I did so, my kitchen light works, but not the dining room light. Also, now my living room light doesn't work. this light is on the same circuit breaker as the kitchen/dining room.

I'm thinking that somehow the two single poles have to be connected???

I wired each of the single poles to two black wires (one on each terminal screw). There are two white wires for each that are combined with wire nuts.

What the heck did I do wrong? This should have been easy!
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Old 09-20-07, 03:26 PM
Unclediezel's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northeastern PA.
Posts: 2,230
Sounds like a switch loop got mixed up. each of the switches Must have a hot wire, and a wire that goes out to the light in its respective place. It is possible that a WHITE wire was used as part of the loop. By tying the whites together, you have killed the feed to one or more Branches in the circuit.

Not to be a "PICK" But in the future, always draw a picture of what is where so you can go back to the begginning if it doesnt work.

A starting point for right now is to find the HOT -Supply wire in the box. since the LR is also in this box, Look for a wire nut in the back of the box.each of your switches must have a live feed on one of its terminals.

Last edited by Unclediezel; 09-20-07 at 03:32 PM. Reason: misspell
Old 09-20-07, 04:04 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 6
help with single pole switches

You are right! I will never start a project again without taking a photo beforehand.

You are also right about the white wire, there is a hot white wire....I don't know what to do with this wire and how to recreate the loop i've messed up. Any easy solution to this?

and thanks

Just to clarify: there are four sets of wires coming into the box: w/b, w/b, w/b and w/b as well as bare copper (4 strands, one in each set)......this is probably a five minute job for an electrician and I'd like to try one more time to unmess this before I call in for reinforcements.
Old 09-20-07, 04:41 PM
Unclediezel's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northeastern PA.
Posts: 2,230
First-off--get a roll of black electrical tape. When your done, you will "RE-Mark" the white wire as a black to avoid future confusion.

Turn off the breaker and remove the switches and separate all four cables (NOT the individual wires)-You should be looking at 12 wires---

1) Turn the breaker back on--and find the ONE black wire that is HOT. (check between white and black in each respective cable) That will determine which wire supplies the box that you are working in, and which wire is the NEutral from the panel to the box.
2) that hot wire must make its way to both switches, and the feed for the living room. .

3) The white wire that is hot with the switch "ON" goes to the neutral in the feed cable. The more combos you try --the more it will make sense.
Old 09-20-07, 04:45 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 5,669
Do you remember if any of the white wires were attached to the switches or were they always all connected together and you you did not change them?
The wires pairs you have are probably
1. power coming in
2. cable to the kitchen light
3. cable to the dining light
4. power to the living room

The problem you have is determining which is which.
When you do then connect as follows.
All whites together. All grounds together.
Power black to living room black and to one terminal on each switch.
Dining light to other terminal on one switch.
Kitchen light to other terminal on second switch.
Old 09-20-07, 05:17 PM
brewcityc's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 164
Yeah, follow unclediesel's advice to test for hot. When you've found it turn the power back off. Label the hot, splice all the neutrals together, the grounds together, and one of the other blacks to the hot. Turn the power back on and see what energizes. Turn the power back off and label the black wire. Follow the same steps to identify the other 2 blacks.

Once all the blacks are identified wire as Racraft suggested.
Old 09-20-07, 05:55 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 6
single pole help

Thank you! I appreciate your help.

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