Cannot Get New Dimmer Switch Working Correctly


Old 02-11-12, 11:28 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8
Cannot Get New Dimmer Switch Working Correctly

Good Afternoon All -

This weekend, my wife asked for me to install a dimmer on one of our lights in our kitchen. Easy enough, right? Well, I'm having trouble. Below is the configuration as well as what I'm trying to do.

Previous Configuration

- There are 2 lights in the kitchen. I only want to control one with the dimmer.
- There are two switch plates for these lights.
- There's one single switch plate which controls one light
- There's one dual switch plate which controls the same light from the single switch above. The 2nd switch controls the 2nd light.

Therefore, one light has one switch. The other light has two.

I went to Lowes and bought the following to replace the dual switch plate:
- 1 Switch with built in dimmer (3-way)
- 1 Switch which was standard (3-way)
- 1 Dual Plate to cover the two

When typing this, I realize I didn't need to have the dimmer a 3 way.

What I Did

I shut off the breaker then removed the dual plate which was to be replaced and took pictures.

Link if pic doesn't load...

I'm no electrician, but know basic knowledge. There were basically 4 wires. Red, x2 Grey, Black, bare ground. The grey one was connected at one point to both existing switches.

I reconnected the wires as I thought they should be and tested. The lights come on, but not the way I want them to. I've tried many different configurations by switching the wires around, but can't get it 100% correct. Below are the results that I've had:

- Dimmer light works / Other light only powers on when other switch is on.
- Dimmer controls both lights
- On / Off backwards.

Below are also pictures of the backs of the two new switches. Given those and the info above, can someone tell me how I need to configure this?

Note: I have not opened or changed anything on the other, separate switch in the room.

Standard Switch - 1 Connection on top (ground), 2 connections on side, one connection on other side

Link if pic doesn't load...

Dimmer Switch - 1 Connection on the bottom, 1 on top (ground), 2 on side (one is for 3 way.)

Link if pic doesn't load...

Any help would be MUCH appreciated - Thanks!
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Old 02-11-12, 12:46 PM
ray2047's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,633
Was it a three way switch you removed? did you mark which wire was to the common terminal of that switch? Did you connect that wire to the common of the new switch? The actual location of the common will vary from switch to switch so you can't go by physical location on the old switch.
See picture for two questions:
Old 02-11-12, 02:15 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8
Hey Everyone -

I got it to work. It turns out that one of the grey wires which connects to another must had moved when installing the new one. I swapped them back and it worked.

Thanks for your help!

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