OLD Light Switch replacement!! Help Please!

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Old 12-14-07, 09:11 AM
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OLD Light Switch replacement!! Help Please!

Hello guys I am in need of some help with the wiring on a very old light switch. The reason i am replacing it is because it became difficult to switch on until it suddenly sparked so I decided to replace it. I have changed almost all of the light switches and outlets in the house but this one has me boggled..
I tried wiring the switch exactly like the old one but it just blew the breaker so I took out my circuit tester and I noticed that there are three black wires. Two wires have 120 volt but i cant find which is the HOT wire between the two. I connected a light bulb to the two wires and the light bulb lights of course but when i tried the switch it only shorts out. I tried turning off the breaker and testing the two lines for possible continuity and wierdly there is! Please someone give a little help here its very important!! Thanks for any help..
 
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Old 12-14-07, 09:26 AM
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If you have two wires that will light a light bulb, and then you connect them both to a switch, it's absolutely guaranteed to blow the breaker. It's an intentional creation of a dead short.

We need more details. Is this a standard switch or a 3-way? Tell us all the wires in the box, not just the ones connected to the switch.
 
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Old 12-14-07, 09:26 AM
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What wires were attached to the old switch and how were they attached?
 
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Old 12-14-07, 09:54 AM
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old light replacement

Thanks guys for the quick reply! There are three all black wires in the box and the wires were connected two on one side and one on the other but it is an old switch and there are no markers. It seems to be a standard switch because it only lights the hall light. Thanks for any help.
 
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Old 12-14-07, 10:01 AM
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No white wires and no ground wires anywhere in the entire box? Did you look around in the back of the box? Do you live in Chicago or NYC? If not, where? And in what year was this house built?
 
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Old 12-14-07, 10:32 AM
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Either there is another switch somewhere for the hall light, or someone used a three way switch?
 
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Old 12-14-07, 10:36 AM
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old light replacement

No white wires anywhere! Is there a sure way to tell which is the Hot wire because i tried using the metal on the box as ground and it wont work. The house is in New Jersey and it might be about 40-50 years old. Thanks for the help.
 
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Old 12-14-07, 12:30 PM
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Two on one side and on on the other does not mean much. Were there three terminals, or only two terminals, with two wires attached to one terminal? Was this a special switch with a light or anything like that? Were the terminals of the old switch all the same color?


What is the wiring at the light (ALL the wiring)?
 
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Old 12-14-07, 03:29 PM
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old light replacement

The old switch has three terminals and one black wire on each terminal was connected. I will take apart the light area and check the wiring because i do not remember exactly. Thanks alot and sorry to bother so much!!
 
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Old 12-14-07, 05:46 PM
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Do you have the old switch? If so it should have two screws the same color and one a different color. Were you trying to replace it with one that had only two screws? Are these individual wires run in conduit?
 
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Old 12-14-07, 06:34 PM
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old light replacement

This old light switch has the three screws the same. I was trying to replace it with a switch with the same three screws.. The three wires are run separately inside of the box. I will get back tomorrow when I check the light wiring. Thanks for the help
 
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Old 12-14-07, 08:26 PM
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This old light switch has the three screws the same
Are you sure they are the same color? Are there any letters embossed into the plastic such as "C"?
 
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Old 12-14-07, 11:44 PM
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I am leaning pretty much to the T&K wireing because the OP describing it and it mention hallway light so that is surefire sign that used the swtiching netrual set up { Illegal senice 1930's but few manged get by for few more years later }

and i am guessing there is a other 3 way switch or connections buried in the wall [ it do happend pretty often with older homes]

sometime they used the Carter 3 way circuit { this is illeagal as well ]

Merc, Marc
 
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Old 12-15-07, 12:07 PM
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old light replacement

Thanks and i checked the wires that go to the light and they are both black also. I also believe that there is an incorrect hook up buried inside the wall. I guess I will have to get an electrician to check it out. Thanks for the help
 
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