Mystery light switch

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Old 06-11-11, 09:01 PM
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Mystery light switch

I have a mystery light switch, it's in the kitchen. Facing the sink, to the left are drawers, to the left of that is the dishwasher, on the wall above the counter about a foot left of the sink is a GFIC outlet and the switch that controls the light over the sink, on the same wall about a foot left of that is a light switch that reads around 50 volts, the switch is just about over the dishwasher, it doesn't seem to control anything, could this have been for a garbage disposal? Should I cap it off and put a solid cover on it?
 
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Old 06-12-11, 03:46 AM
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When testing the switch, what were you using for a neutral? Look under the cabinet. There may be a receptacle. This switch may operate one half of the receptacle for, as you said, a garbage disposal. Rather than being hardwired, newer installations calls for SO cord and plug to the receptacle.
 
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Old 06-12-11, 07:54 AM
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At one time it was required to put a disconnect for the dishwasher because they were hard wired and didn't have an "off" setting. Could this be for the dishwasher?
 
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Old 06-12-11, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand View Post
At one time it was required to put a disconnect for the dishwasher because they were hard wired and didn't have an "off" setting. Could this be for the dishwasher?
No this is not for the dishwasher, the dishwasher is hard wired, the switch does nothing to the dishwasher or for anything I can tell.

When I tested the switch all I used was the wires on the switch which are both black wires.
 
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Old 06-12-11, 10:12 AM
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When I tested the switch all I used was the wires on the switch which are both black wires
That is not a meaningful test. Are there two white wires nutted together in the back of the box.
 
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Old 06-12-11, 10:27 AM
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hi guys -

Iím a no-knowledge newbie, but if itís an outside wall could the switch be controlling a receptacle on the outside wall of the kitchen? I have a receptacle there, however it is not switched.

Just a thought. Good luck!
 
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Old 06-12-11, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by cyber-junkie View Post
When I tested the switch all I used was the wires on the switch which are both black wires.
Your test does tell me one thing. With a reading of 50 volts between the two black means there is some kind of load on that circuit. It is the same as reading a series circuit.
 
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Old 06-12-11, 11:42 AM
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It is the switch to the light in the doghouse.
 
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Old 06-12-11, 11:54 AM
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I was going to say "doghouse".......have you found the receptacle under the sink, yet? Is there one?
 
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Old 06-12-11, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Furd View Post
It is the switch to the light in the doghouse.
No, it controls your neighbor's garage door..

(for anyone who never saw that commercial, here it is. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBDrRl7d5ZA)
 
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Old 06-12-11, 03:54 PM
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And on the more serious side Christmas lights receptacle under the eaves, or gutter heat tape receptacle, or pipe heat tape receptacle in the crawl space.
 
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Old 06-12-11, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by JerseyMatt View Post
No, it controls your neighbor's garage door..

(for anyone who never saw that commercial, here it is. YouTube - ‪Nationwide Light Switch humor garage door‬‏)
I also thought it was VERY funny and think of it every time somebody asks this question.
 
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Old 06-13-11, 03:54 AM
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Comedian Stephen Wright: In my house there's this light switch that doesn't do anything. Every so often I would flick it on and off just to check. Yesterday, I got a call from a woman in Madagascar. She said, "Cut it out."

If there are two black wires there are probably two white wires nutted together as Ray suggested. One of those two cables (each with white & black) will come from power and the other will go to the load. How they are routed can give you a hint to the general locations.
 
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Old 06-13-11, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Furd View Post
It is the switch to the light in the doghouse.
.................My dog uses a clap on!
 
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Old 06-13-11, 10:18 AM
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It could also feed a receptacle intended for a grill light, or landscaping lights, which may no longer be there. Go around with a loud radio (with the batteries out) or a night light and plug it in and flip the switch to see what happens.
 
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Old 06-13-11, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
That is not a meaningful test. Are there two white wires nutted together in the back of the box.
There are actually 6 wires in the box, 3 white joined together and two of the black are joined leaving the two black that are going to the switch.
 
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Old 06-13-11, 12:43 PM
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I was wrong to say meaningless. If this was an analog meter the 50 volts if taken with the switch off may mean a load somewhere as suggested by Tolyn. Do you get a voltage with the switch on measuring screw to screw?

Have you looked at some of the places in the serious suggestions?
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...ml#post1860418
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...ml#post1860384
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...ml#post1860487
 

Last edited by ray2047; 06-13-11 at 04:09 PM.
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Old 06-13-11, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
I was wrong to say meaningless. If this was an analog meter the 50 volts if taken with the switch off may mean a load somewhere as suggested by Tolyn. Do you get a voltage with the switch on measuring screw to screw?

Have you looked at some of the places in the serious suggestions?
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...ml#post1860418
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...ml#post1860384
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...ml#post1860487
The ~50v was screw/wire to screw/wire.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 06-13-11 at 04:11 PM. Reason: Correct my spelling in quote.
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Old 06-13-11, 04:09 PM
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The ~50v was screw/wire to screw/wire.
Was the switch off or on?
 
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Old 06-14-11, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Was the switch off or on?

I removed the switch, the wires measure less than 50v, like ~46v-48v
 
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Old 06-14-11, 04:19 PM
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I believe this was probably the service disconnect switch for the DW.
 
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Old 06-14-11, 04:25 PM
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Was this an analog or digital multimeter? If digital, probably phantom, if analog, then there is a load.
 
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Old 06-14-11, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
I believe this was probably the service disconnect switch for the DW.
That's what I thought, but they must have re-wired it because it does not control it now.

I tested both wires using a ground as the neutral, one is 120v and the other 0, I have checked every outlet and switch...and the neighbors garage doors...no change with it disconnected...the only thing is an out side spot light flush mounted in the soffet, it may take some work to get in to it to see if it's connected but the switch does not work it now.
 
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