1953 house and new light switch

Reply

  #1  
Old 01-14-13, 05:25 PM
R
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
1953 house and new light switch

Our old light switch broke so I am replacing it with a new one. However the wiring is kind of odd and I am an extreme novice. As this is my kids bathroom, I have really young kids and want to make sure this is safe!

If I need to hire an electrician just tell me I am not too proud

Also below are pictures so maybe that will help although the lighting is bad so I will explain.

I took a pic of each side of the switch and the third is the back of the box, I am assuming that green wire was supposed to be screwed into the box as a ground?

Name:  2013-01-14 19.05.28.jpg
Views: 1017
Size:  41.5 KB
Name:  2013-01-14 19.05.01.jpg
Views: 932
Size:  45.0 KB
Name:  2013-01-14 19.04.15.jpg
Views: 1048
Size:  47.2 KB

In the other two pictures I simply replaced the wires in the exact same position they were in on the previous switch (although who knows if that was correct). The red wire went on the top right, the black on the bottom right and the white-ish grayish what have you wire on the bottom left which was a black screw on the switch.

The screws on the new switch were nothing like the screws on the old one so I do not know if any of this is correct. The diagram on the new switch makes absolutely no sense to me.

I cut the power on and the lights work but again I want to make sure this is safe.

Hope someone can help me!
 

Last edited by ranman001; 01-14-13 at 05:26 PM. Reason: more information
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 01-14-13, 05:47 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 13,276
Received 127 Votes on 112 Posts
Welcome to the forums!

I think you may have bought the wrong switch so I will start there:

Is this the only location where the lights are controlled? Is this for a ceiling fan or is there two sets of lights?

Even though it may be the wrong switch we can likely make it work. I will wait for a reply before continuing.
 
  #3  
Old 01-14-13, 05:55 PM
R
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
my wife bought it so that would just be awesome!

So there are two controls on the switch, one turns on/off the bath fan, and the other turns on the light on the fan as well as the light above the sink.

And yes this is the only switch where the lights are controlled.

Thanks!
 
  #4  
Old 01-14-13, 06:10 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 13,276
Received 127 Votes on 112 Posts
Ok, so you already know that the green going to the box gets connected to the ground screw on the switch, which is also green.

Position of the wires compared to the old switch does not matter. What does matter is you have connections for the top switch, which is a single pole switch, and the bottom switch which is a 3 way. We are going to just make the three way act as a single pole switch.

If you have a meter or a non-contact voltage tester it would be handy to find the hot wire(s)
How many cables do you have in the box, and what wires are in each cable, not including grounds?
 
  #5  
Old 01-14-13, 06:24 PM
R
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
OK that explains the extra screw then I guess.

Just 1 cable coming into the box - from it there are 3 wires, red, white and black. I do have a voltage tester.
 
  #6  
Old 01-14-13, 06:41 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 13,276
Received 127 Votes on 112 Posts
Ok, you can confirm it, but in most cases like this the white will be your hot. New code requires it to be marked with a marker or tape to show it is not a neutral.

The hot (I will assume the white) should go to the odd colored screw on the bottom AND the top screw on the same side. The easiest way to do this is to add a piece of wire (called a pigtail) either to both the top and bottom left screws, or connect a pigtail to each screw and then wirenut them to the white.

Then connect the red, or black depending which thing you want to be controlled by which switch, to the right side screws. On the 3-way part just pick one of the screws on the bottom right. IF the switch is reversed (IE: the light/fan is on when it should be off when compared to the upper switch) just move the wire to the other bottom right screw of the 3-way.

If the above does not work, then take your meter and find which wire is hot. You will have to do this with the circuit on so take care! When you find the hot wire, do the same above with the hot wire on the left side of the switch.
 
  #7  
Old 01-14-13, 07:08 PM
R
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Seems I got lucky as I basically had it done this way and its working. One thing I need to do is add the pigtail to the top and bottom, or connecting them via the wirenut. Which would you recommend?

Also, if I was to try to confirm which wire is hot, how exactly do I do that with the non-contact voltage tester? It seems to beep near all of them, do I just reduce the sensitivity?
 
  #8  
Old 01-14-13, 07:18 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 13,276
Received 127 Votes on 112 Posts
It would depend on how much room you have in the box, and how long your hot wire is. Looking at your pictures, your wires are not very long. I would either run a single pigtail wire from the bottom left screw, then loop it around the top left screw (stripping off the insulation at the screw), and connect it to the the hot with a wirenut. Or just run a wire from each left screw and connect to your hot wire with a wirenut. Which is ever easier for you.

Some non-contact testers are really sensitive, but if you spread out the wires to get them far away from each other, you can sometimes tell. A meter is a better way to go though.
 
  #9  
Old 01-14-13, 07:46 PM
R
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Yeah, the hot wire is short, will probably run the second scenario you mention as I'm not sure I follow the first one. Two final questions and hopefully I will be on my way (thanks so much for your great help!)
1. How do I know what gauge or type of wire to buy to make these pigtail connections?
2. Why is it currently working with the hot wire only going to the black screw and nothing on the top left screw? - is it OK to keep this hooked up overnight and finish this up properly tomorrow?
 
  #10  
Old 01-15-13, 06:26 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 13,276
Received 127 Votes on 112 Posts
Sorry, I had to go to bed yesterday.

1) You should match what you have. I wish I could tell you more than that but I cant really see the wire. If you have some strippers you can check the gauge that way. It will be either #12 or #14. IF in doubt, use #12.

2) If everything is working fine (both fan and light) then the black screw and the upper left screw are already connected. You would not need to add the pigtails as I mentioned. I figured that the two switches were not connected as I could not see a tab to break off to separate them if needed. If you want me/us to verify this post the model of the switch or a picture of the wiring diagram.

Note: I saw in your pictures you have the wire just straight under the screw. You should put a hook on the wire and place under the screw clockwise.
 
  #11  
Old 01-22-13, 05:15 PM
R
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for checking back.

The model is Pass & Seymour legrand, I think the model # is 696-WGCC6.

I wondered about that straight wire, that was how it was originally and I thought that was odd, so I will fix it.
 
Reply
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: