replacing 40 year old 2 in 1 light switch

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Old 10-11-09, 02:43 PM
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Exclamation replacing 40 year old 2 in 1 light switch

I have removed a 40 year old 2 in 1 light switch from my den, and am having problems installing the 2 new switches I'm putting in its place. The 2 in 1 switch controls a deck light and a flood light in my back yard. It had 2 black wires going to each switch, while 2 other black wires were connected to a single screw on the opposite side of the switch. Neither the 4 white wires nor the 4 ground wires were connected to the original switch: all the whites were pigtailed together, and all of the ground were pigtailed together - still are. I am trying to replace this switch with 2 separate switches, both of which have 2 connector screws on the right side and a ground connector screw on the left side. I connected all of the blacks to the right side connector screws, but only got the deck light working. Help!
 
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Old 10-11-09, 03:09 PM
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Was there a unbroken tab between the screws on either side of the old switch? If so give us the wires in relation to that tab. Is there one or two breakers controlling these lights?
 
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Old 10-11-09, 04:59 PM
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I don't see any unbroken tabs. The switch has 2 contact screws and a ground screw on one side and 3 contact screws on the other. On the side with the 2 contact screws and ground, black wires were connected to both contact screws, with nothing on the grounding screw. The other black wires were connected to a single contact screw on the 3 contact screw side, leaving the other 2 screws empty. A single breaker controls this switch.

Thanks
 
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Old 10-11-09, 05:17 PM
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I don't see any unbroken tabs
So there are no tabs connecting any of the screws together?
The switch has 2 contact screws and a ground screw on one side and 3 contact screws on the other.
So one of the two switches is a three way switch and one is a standard switch? Is that what you bought was a standard and three way? Did you mark which wire was on the common or was it unused? Common would be the dark screw.
 
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Old 10-11-09, 07:16 PM
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Hmmm - we may be having a terminology problem here. My understanding of "tab" is based on a lay person's understanding of what a tab could be. On the 3 screw non-ground side, the dark copper base under the 2 bottom screws connects together. If that copper base is a "tab" then it is connected. The screws and base are of dark copper, while all the other screws (except for the green ground) are light brass in appearance. I marked all the wires - only the black ones were connected to the switch. The switches I bought for replacement are identical: both have two copper screws on one side and ground on the other. 59 cents each at Home Depot.

Thanks
 

Last edited by Granted1; 10-11-09 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 10-11-09, 07:44 PM
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On the 3 screw non-ground side, the dark copper base under the 2 bottom screws connects together
Thats a tab. That is the two screws the airways hot power in wire is connected to. One is the common for the three way switch the other the power in for the standard switch.
while all the other screws (except for the green ground) are light brass
Two of those are travelers for the three way and one is power out for the standard switch.
The switches I bought for replacement are identical: both have two copper screws on one side and ground on the other.
Is one of the lights controlled by switches in two different places? If so you need a standard switch and a three way switch. I hope you have not disconnected any of the wires yet. To do this you will need to mark the hot in and hot out on the standard switch and the common and travelers on the three way switch.

[
 

Last edited by ray2047; 10-11-09 at 08:17 PM.
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Old 10-11-09, 08:19 PM
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Neither of the lights is controlled by switches in 2 different places. One toggle switch controls one light, or in the case of the floods, a set of lights.

I disconnected the wires from the switch but marked the wires and the screw connection points.

Your diagram below is slightly different than my switch: below the tabbed screws is another screw (brassy color), and the ground on the end is actually where the "D" screw is.

Thanks
 
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Old 10-11-09, 08:34 PM
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Your diagram below is slightly different than my switch: below the tabbed screws is another screw (brassy color), and the ground on the end is actually where the "D" screw is.
Can you post a couple of pictures of your switch? You have a total of five screws plus a ground screw or am I wrong? Is it just two on each side plus a ground screw. To avoid confusion do not include the ground screw when discussing number of screws. A forty year old switch would not have a ground screw. Is the screw green? Are both switch handles marked with on/off?

 

Last edited by ray2047; 10-11-09 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 10-11-09, 08:58 PM
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Yes, you are right - I have a total of 5 screws plus a ground. On your most recent diagram, there is a brassy screw to the right of tabbed screws "A" and "B". And if it makes a difference, the ground screw on the other side sits between "C" and "D". Nothing is tabbed on this side.

Can't post a pic - sorry. Hope my explanation will do.

Thanks
 
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Old 10-11-09, 09:09 PM
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Ground screws are not relevent to the wiring and exact position of screws is not important. It is their function that is important. Before we go on though I need to know if one of the two handles does not have on/ff on it. If one handel has no on/off is it closest to the "tabbed" screws?Hang in there I am beginning to understand.
 
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Old 10-11-09, 09:26 PM
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If by "handle" you mean "toggle", or the flip part of the switch, you are correct: one of them does not have "on" or "off" marked on it (I never noticed that before). However, I can't say that it's any closer to the "tabbed" screws, which straddle the middle of one side of the switch (Because of this, the other toggle is just as close).

Also, I just noticed that both of the tabbed screws have "+ LINE +" written above them, if that helps you out (but I bet you already knew that).
 
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Old 10-11-09, 10:27 PM
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What they seem to have done is use a duplex switch that is half standard half three way instead of the duplex standard they should have used. Are there any marks on the switch besides "line"? Tell me the color and number of wires on each of the screws. Also what color is the ground screw and ground wire? Are both B and C darker colored? It appears if my picture is corect the left hand group of three screws are the 3-way switch section so we are almost there.

 

Last edited by ray2047; 10-11-09 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 10-12-09, 04:54 AM
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The "line" marking has a "+" on each side, which then match up to the tabbed "B" and "C" screws. And yes, these screws are of a darker copper color - no other screws on the switch are this color. The ground screw is green. The ground wires come from a combination of original and add-on romex(?) and are aluminum (silver) from the original and copper from the add on - the floodlights are the add-on. All wires that go to the screws are black. One goes to "D", and another to "E". The two remaining black wires are pigtailed together to a single black wire, which then goes to "B", or "C" (Whoops! - my markings aren't exactly clear there - I think it was "B"). The only other markings on the switch refer to voltage and amperage: "120-277V" and "15A". There's a patent number on the underside.

Thanks
 
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Old 10-12-09, 06:35 AM
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So how it seems to break down is the red circle below represents one of your new switches and blue the other switch. A had no wire on the original switch, correct?

Whatever wires were on B and C should be wire nutted together along with two pigtails. One of the pigtails goes to one of the new switches the other pigtail to the other new switch.

The wire from D goes to the remaining screw on one of the new switches.

The wire from E goes to the remaining screw on the other new switch.

Grounds to two pigtails and one pigtail to each switch.. A third pigtail to the box if the box is metal.

If I misunderstood the position of any wires or am not clear post back before testing.
goes to "B", or "C" (Whoops! - my markings aren't exactly clear there - I think it was "B").
Doesn't matter since B and C were tied together by the tab.

 
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Old 10-12-09, 09:34 AM
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I'll try it after work today and let you know.

Thanks
 
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Old 10-12-09, 04:44 PM
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We have lift off Ray! It all worked - I can't thank you enough for sticking with this. I guess you must take pity on us less experienced souls. Thanks a million.

Grant
 
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Old 10-12-09, 05:15 PM
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Very glad you got it. Thanks for letting us know.
 
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