Wiring a Double Switch

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  #1  
Old 04-25-11, 08:32 PM
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Wiring a Double Switch

I need help wiring a double switch in my basement.

The facts are as follows... the switches control two different sets of fluorescent lights. There are two red wires (taped), two black wires and two white wires. There is no visible ground.

I have provided some photos. The way I have it wired right now only allows me to turn on one light.

I am not sure if there is one or two circuits to this box. How do I determine that?

And of course, how do I properly wire for this situation?

Here are the photos...

http://i805.photobucket.com/albums/y...l/P1030841.jpg

http://i805.photobucket.com/albums/y...l/P1030838.jpg

http://i805.photobucket.com/albums/y...l/P1030844.jpg

http://i805.photobucket.com/albums/y...l/P1030842.jpg


Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 
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Old 04-25-11, 08:56 PM
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But you didn't include the pictures we really need. The ones of how the lights are wired.

P.S. Could you make your pictures less dark? I had to double my monitor gamma setting to see those.
 
  #3  
Old 04-25-11, 09:06 PM
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Hmmm... it will take some work getting those pictures. Although they are above a dropped ceiling, they are quite hard to get to. I believe the previous owner wired this (at least 40 years ago). All the wiring runs through metal conduit and at some points the wiring changes colors as it leaves a junction box. It is quite hard to follow actually. I will do my best and try to get soem pictures tomorrow. Biggest lesson here was that I should have labled/pictured better the previous configuration. And I will definitely provide better pics exposure-wise.
 
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Old 04-25-11, 10:07 PM
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The connections are in the lights and their boxes, if any, not the ceiling.
 
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Old 04-28-11, 03:47 AM
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Again, as you will see from these photos it is difficult to get to the wiring within the lights. I have provided a few new pictures which are hopefully easier to see.








This pictures shows a junction box with a black and white wire going (to the left) to the fixture.



 
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Old 04-28-11, 06:05 AM
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If the one switch is turned on, does it allow the second switch to control the other light?
 
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Old 04-28-11, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
If the one switch is turned on, does it allow the second switch to control the other light?
Yes.

In short, there are two rooms... I'll call them A and B. The lights in room A work and are controlled by the top switch. The lights in room B should be controlled by the bottom switch and do not work.

The only scenario in which the top switch works is if the bottom switch is in the on position.
 
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Old 04-28-11, 07:58 PM
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Switch the red and white wires. Connect the whites. You need a grounding pigtail between the box and the switch.
 
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Old 04-28-11, 08:30 PM
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Switching the red and white wires did not work. By connecting the white wires, I apparently completed the circuit because the light in room A was on no matter what position the switches were in. Likewise, the lights in room B were still not working.
 
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Old 04-28-11, 08:47 PM
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Leave the whites alone.
Switch one red and one black. You may have to break the tab.
 
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Old 04-28-11, 09:14 PM
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I have been waiting for someone to tell me to break the tab, but I did not want to do it until I was told to.

I decided to see what combination of the six wires, by using my meter, would complete the circuit. There are 3 pairs of colored wires (White, Red and Black). Each pair is labled 1 or 2, thus I have 1W, 2W, 1R, 2R, 1B and 2B. The only combination of wires that lit up my meter were 1W+2W and 1W+1R.

Does that help in any way?
 
  #12  
Old 04-29-11, 04:24 AM
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My latest attempt was to wire the switch with the white wires on the brass screws, one red wire on the top black screw and one black wire on the bottom black screw.

The result was that the top switch turns the light on in room A (same as before) regardless of the position of the lower switch. Previously, the bottom switch had to be in the "ON" position for the top switch to work.

In any case, no tabs on the switch have been removed as of yet.

Thoughts anyone???
 
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Old 04-29-11, 02:18 PM
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The white wires stay wirenutted together. Put the red that lit up your light on the top black screw. Put the other red on the top gold screw. Put one black on one black screw and one black on the gold. If one light stays on, switch the two blacks.
 
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Old 04-30-11, 12:44 PM
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Still not working.

I am not sure why the white wires should be wirenutted. Please explain.

To me it seems that W1 is the hot wire coming from the panel, while W2 and R1 go back to the panel. How that works into this whole mess I do not know.

Thoughts anyone?
 
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Old 04-30-11, 01:16 PM
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Sometimes it is easier to start from scratch. Mark all connections so you can remake them if needed and then disconect every thing. You want nothing touching. At the lights only disconnect wires coming in from outside. DO NOT disconnect internal connections. Any doubts post pictures first.

I am not sure if there is one or two circuits to this box. How do I determine that?
That would be a good starting point . Using a multimeter find the wires that are always hot. Find the breaker or breakers that turn them on and off. If you have only one set of two wires, either black and white or red and white, controlled by one breaker then it is a single circuit. Most likely it comes in at the octagon ceiling box but we won't know till you test.

You will will also need to open each fluorescent light and verify:
A: If only two wires go into the fixture
B: Where those two wires come from
 
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