original dimmer 5 wires ; new dimmer 4 wires??


Old 12-13-12, 08:22 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: USA
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Exclamation original dimmer 5 wires ; new dimmer 4 wires??

I have 2 dimmers on a circuit that came with the house. 1 dimmer has quit dimming. I pulled it out so I could match the brand and/or type.
The problem:
Original has 5 wires labeled: ground, load, traveler, hot, & neatral.
HomeDepot and Lowes do not sell dimmers with 5 wires. I live in Colorado and they claim new state codes have done away with such switches. Lowes told me to ignore the "neautral" wire and that it would work fine.
I'm writing here because that obvioulsly was not the case. They also told me that both dimmmers on each end had to match.
So I removed both 5-wire dimmers and intalled new 4-wire dimmers; ignoring neutral. I can't even turn the lights on; much less dim them. I know the 4 wires went to their proper location. The new dimemrs have two terminals on top and 1 on bottom(traveler). With ground wire fused to dimmer chasis.
Any ideas?
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Old 12-13-12, 08:26 AM
ray2047's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
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Do you have fluorescent lights, the kind with tubes. If so you need a special purpose dimmer. Can you post a picture of the old dimmer and of the wires in the switch box with the wires pulled out so we can get a good view.
Old 12-13-12, 03:11 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,356
Look very carefully at the original dimmers, both the one removed and the one left in place. Find both the manufacturer AND the model of each dimmer.

I suspect that you have a set of electronic dimmers and these MUST be replaced with exact units. If the dimmer that was working is a "master" then you need the appropriate "remote" for that manufacturer and model dimmer. Nothing else will work.

Oh, that crap told you by the big box mega-mart employees was just that, crap. It is unfortunate, but not one in ten of the employees at the mega-mart homecenters knows a thing about what they sell.

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