I can't figure out why this is not working

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  #1  
Old 03-18-11, 08:10 PM
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I can't figure out why this is not working

I have two lights, light A is a down light in the middle of the kitchen, light B is the kitchen counter light. Each with it's own switch in the same box.



Switch B works fine on light B.

Switch A when turned OFF, still have power going to light A.

It was wired this way by the electrician.

I thought may be the switch is bad, so I replaced with a new switch. Same result. With switch A in OFF position, there is current going to light A.

I am stumped, any idea what to look for?

Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 03-18-11, 09:28 PM
wgc
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Did this ever work? Are you sure the wiring really does that?

I just had a switch go bad like that. It's been working fine for about 5 years, but then it started not turning off. For a while you could fiddle with the toggle to get it to go off, but last weekend that no longer worked. Replacing the switch took care of the problem.

Maybe you have something similar.
 
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Old 03-18-11, 09:35 PM
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This is new wiring done by the electrician I hired. No fixture has been installed but I am now testing and labeling everything myself after him. This is what I have determined from pulling the switches out of the box.

I am getting current to the downstream wire of switch A whether the switch is ON or OFF, and I have tried two different switches.
 
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Old 03-18-11, 09:59 PM
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Switch A when turned OFF, still have power going to light A.
Is the connection of one of the black wires at switch "A" a back stab rather then a wrap around the screw? If so they back stabbed it in the wrong hole. Redo it correctly with a pigtail to each switch.
 
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Old 03-19-11, 02:42 AM
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Look at the number of terminals on the back of the switch. There should only be three, if there's 4 then he installed a three way switch by mistake.
 
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Old 03-19-11, 07:10 AM
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Your neat and precise diagram indicates a switch outlet box with 3 cables "pairs" , one a 2-wire "feed-in" pair , and the other two cables two "feed-out" pairs to liting fixtures , = a total of six conductors in the box , three Black and three White.

Is this an accurate description of the wiring in the box.?
 
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Old 03-19-11, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Is the connection of one of the black wires at switch "A" a back stab rather then a wrap around the screw? If so they back stabbed it in the wrong hole. Redo it correctly with a pigtail to each switch.
He wrapped the black wire around the screw then it goes to switch B that works fine.
 
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Old 03-19-11, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Look at the number of terminals on the back of the switch. There should only be three, if there's 4 then he installed a three way switch by mistake.
There are three screws including the green ground screw. I tried two different switches. I will try yet another new one today and see.
 
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Old 03-19-11, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by PATTBAA View Post
Your neat and precise diagram indicates a switch outlet box with 3 cables "pairs" , one a 2-wire "feed-in" pair , and the other two cables two "feed-out" pairs to liting fixtures , = a total of six conductors in the box , three Black and three White.

Is this an accurate description of the wiring in the box.?
Actually no, I simplified it by not including some wiring that I thought would be confusing.

I did not show the green wire from each switch, which were then joined with a wire nut, then a single green wire connected to the metal box's green screw.

I also did not show when the black hot wire comes into the box, there is another wire nut that splits the black wire before any of the switch, this black wire, along with another white wire (the wire nut that I drew showed three white wires, but in reality there are four), as a pair, goes somewhere else for an unswitched outlet.

I excluded those wires because it would make the diagram harder to see.
 
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Old 03-19-11, 10:38 AM
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If the box contains one " Feed-In" pair , and three "Feed-Out" pairs , two of them to switch-controlled fixtures and the 3rd "Feed-Out" pair connected to the "Feed-In" pair , it's possible the fixture pair is connected to the "Feed-In" pair, and the switch "Load" terminal connects to Black wire of the "Feed - Out" pair that should connect to the "Feed-In" pair , = the wrong pair is switch-controlled.
 
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Old 03-20-11, 05:19 PM
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After more head scratching I finally decided to trace all the wires until I figured this out because it does not make sense.

At first I thought may be the electrician wired a three way but used a regular switch, but it can't be since there isn't an additional common wire.

So I disconnected the downstream wire from the switch, found the other end, and put my voltage tester to it, and it still BEEP BEEP BEEP!!!

This is simply not possible. Unless I confused the wire, so I pulled the wire a little, the other end moved. It is the wire.

I then borrowed my neighbor's voltage tester, and no BEEP.

Now, this is a rigid conduit, there are other wires that runs through this conduit, that goes into the junction box and out to somewhere else, and those circuits are ON. But for some reason, when I had the breaker on, my "special" voltage tester BEEPS even when that wire was disconnected on BOTH ENDS!!! The other tester has NO BEEP.

May be I have a defective tester?

I don't know. I am confused.
 
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Old 03-20-11, 07:06 PM
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Non-contact voltage detectors are not reliable enough to use for serious testing. You need to use a test light, analog multimeter, or solenoid tester.
 
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