Simple "just replaced a switch" question


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Old 03-07-11, 10:35 AM
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Simple "just replaced a switch" question

Just replaced a simple wall switch in my kitchen, it lights the 2 track lights above my sink. Wife was worried as she's seen arcing inside the switch area when switching on/off.
So, I replaced it, now the lights are constantly on, so I will have to put the old switch back in for now I guess, or run to the hardware store locally and grab another one.
There is an outlet in the same box, but I didn't goof anything up that I can see.

Gilly
 
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Old 03-07-11, 10:43 AM
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OK, I did try something really quick, I switched the 2 black wires on the side of the switch and that fixed it, but puzzled as to what the problem was with reversing those wires.
There are 4 wires; the bare copper ground wire, these 2 black wires, one is marked with the circuit letter on the electrical panel (circuit "O" in this case, which matches what it says for kitchen lights in the panel, that is a letter "O" not number), there is also a black wire that plugs in to one of the holes on the back of the switch, with the small slot to release it, I think it is going to the recepticle which is right next to the switch in the same box.
Gilly
 
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Old 03-07-11, 10:48 AM
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Just to add to this, before I button it back up, the one that plugs in to the hole is marked letter O, one of them that screws to the side is also marked O, they come from different wire bundles entering the box. The other one on the side of the switch is marked "5", no idea what that means, but I am sort of assuming that goes up to the lights.
All the markings are on small white sticker-labels on the wires themselves. The house is a Wausau home built about 16 yrs ago, not a stick built but not a manufactured home exactly either.
 
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Old 03-07-11, 10:48 AM
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One of the black is power in to the switch, one is power out to something else on the circuit and the third is the switch controlled hot.

You should not have lighting on the kitchen small appliance receptacle circuits in the US.
 
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Old 03-07-11, 11:53 AM
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They are seperate circuits, 2 different breakers in the panel, even though they share the same box. That sound legal?
 
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Old 03-07-11, 12:09 PM
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You can have two different circuits in the same box.
 
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Old 03-07-11, 03:04 PM
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You should not have lighting on the kitchen small appliance receptacle circuits in the US.
That was done in my area alot. The kitchen sink light is often tapped off of the small appliance circut, as well as the hood/MW.
 
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Old 03-07-11, 03:47 PM
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I still can't understand why switching the wires made the switch work properly.

Also is the wire that plugged in to the hole on the back of the switch, is that what is referred to as the "common"?
Gilly
 
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Old 03-07-11, 04:40 PM
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Also is the wire that plugged in to the hole on the back of the switch, is that what is referred to as the "common"?
Gilly
No, the common is a term used for 3-way switches. What you have is a splice by a jack-leg electrician. It's ok but often confuses the heck out of a beginner at DIY wiring.

The proper way to do that would have been to not use the back stab at all. Instead what the previous person should have done is to join the hot black, black to another device, and a 6" pigtail together in a wire nut and ran the pigtail to one of the screws on the switch. If it had been done that way you would have probably gotten it right the first time.

Since back stabs are somewhat unreliable I suggest you remove the wire from the back stab and redo with a wire nut as described above.
 
 

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