[Switch Problem] Exact same problem...but...

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  #1  
Old 05-30-13, 09:28 AM
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[Switch Problem] Exact same problem...but...

Separated from:http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...t-fixture.html

Disclaimer: I know this is a 6-year old thread.

Just thought that I'd try out my luck here. I have the EXACT same problem as OP (and I'm also in Canada). Following joed's and racraft's suggestion above, I opened up the switch panel, only to find out that there were 3 wires connecting to the switch, but they are blue-white-blue from top-down order.

On the ceiling I've connected fixture white to junction box white, fixture green cable to ground screw. Then I've tried connecting fixture black cable to each of the following:
1. junction box black (light won't switch off)
2. junction box red (light won't switch off)
3. junction box yellow (light won't switch on at all)

I don't even see a blue wire coming out of junction box. Does it mean the condo builder messed up the wiring but never got caught? (I am the second owner and there were no light fixture on this mount before). Any suggestion is greatly appreciated.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 05-30-13 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 05-30-13, 09:50 AM
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Disclaimer: I know this is a 6-year old thread.
That is a big no-no.:NO NO NO: I have started a thread for you. Welcome to the forums.

I opened up the switch panel,
Do you mean switch box or breaker panel?

there were 3 wires connecting to the switch, but they are blue-white-blue from top-down order.
Is this conduit instead of cable? Is this a 3-way switch? Switches have no "top". If it is a 3-way it has two traveler terminals and and a odd colored terminal called common.

You write black, red yellow at the light but you write blue at the switch please explain.
 
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Old 05-30-13, 09:50 AM
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So there was never a light fixture here? What did the switch control before? What led you to believe this mystery switch controls this fixture?

There are 3 wires actually connected to this switch? The builder actually installed a switch there that controlled absolutely nothing at the time?? Is it a regular switch or does it have anything fancy like a lighted switch, motion sensor, etc? I might be inclined to think this was a 3-way setup but white wire shouldn't have been used on the common. Are there any other switches that might control this light fixture?

Those blue wires obviously go somewhere. Somewhere _other_ than that lighting fixture box.
 
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Old 05-30-13, 11:09 AM
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Thanks ray2047 and core. Sorry if I wasn't making it clear.

I opened up the switch box, which is a set of 4 switches. The other three switches are controlling other lights, leaving this the lone one that's not doing anything, therefore I assume that it's the one going into the mount w/ no fixture. The switches are nothing fancy, looks exactly like this but there are 4 of them instead of 3. The one that's not doing anything is the 3rd one from the left.

I unscrewed that one and pull it out a little bit to identify the color of the wires, and found out there are 3 wires going into the switch. A blue one near the top, a white one in the middle (common?) and another blue one toward the bottom. That's where I got confused too, as I don't see blue wires at the mount.
 
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Old 05-30-13, 11:27 AM
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That switch certainly sounds like a 3-way switch; is the screw that the white wire connected to a different color from the other two like Ray said? Must be. It's not really important at this point.

You need to determine where those blue wires go. You may well find out that this switch has nothing to do with this light fixture. I would sure would be curious to know where it goes though, primarily because that white wire has me puzzled.

I am assuming these blue wires disappear into some conduit from that 4-gang switch box and are NOT hooked up to anything else in that same box. If I'm mistaken please let me know. What about that white wire? Does it also go into the same conduit or is it hooked up to other wires in the box?

But you're probably more interested in getting your light working rather than this mystery switch. All I can suggest is start looking around for other switches. Red and black up there might lead me to believe this was intended for a ceiling fan with two switches: One for the fan and one for the light. Got a pair of unused switches somewhere? Maybe one of the switches that control one of your existing lights also controls that fixture?

If it were me I think I'd hook up the fixture to red&white and the start trying other switches. Then do the same for black. If you want to prove to yourself that this mystery switch does or does not have anything to do with the fixture you can just disconnect the switch wires. The voltage on the red or black up at the fixture should disappear if that switch was part of the mix at all.

You really just need to determine where those blue wires go, and where the red&black fixture wires come from. This means a lot of opening boxes unless you have a toner / wire tracer.

It's possible that the switch for this fixture has been drywalled over and is now hidden. That would not be fun. You got a neighbor with the same floor plan that you could talk to?
 
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Old 05-30-13, 11:43 AM
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Now you really got me thinking if I've been messing with the wrong switch. I assume this is the one from the get go because of its proximity to the mount and the fact that it seems to be inactive. I'll go back tonight, reconnect the fixture and try out the other switches. If all else fails I'll seek for a neighbor...just moved in this week and donno anyone in the building, but i guess this would be a conversation starter.
 
  #7  
Old 05-30-13, 11:58 AM
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and the fact that it seems to be inactive
Keep in mind if it is a 3-way switch (and it seems to be) it's got a counterpart somewhere else in the condo. So you've actually got _2_ mystery switches now! Since you don't know where this switch goes or where the power came from, I hope you have shut off the main breaker when tinkering with this stuff. Since you cannot know which circuit the switch is on.

In your search for switches, keep in mind that a blank panel on the wall, or a multi-gang switch box with one blank space could certainly be the key. In other words there may not be a switch, just a space where one would go. The wires would be simply wirenutted together in there.

Ooops, I forgot all about that yellow wire you said you had up there in the fixture. Now I'm not so sure about the ceiling fan theory. At any rate, that yellow wire should certainly quicken your search because there probably aren't many yellow wires in your switch boxes.

Locating the breaker for the light fixture might yield some additional clues to narrow your search. Maybe.

If all else fails I'll seek for a neighbor...just moved in this week and donno anyone in the building, but i guess this would be a conversation starter.
Heck yeah. Make sure she's young and single!
 
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Old 05-30-13, 12:05 PM
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Unless you own the building and are a licensed electrician for reasons of liability and maybe local ordnance you should not be doing any electrical work.
 
  #9  
Old 05-30-13, 01:03 PM
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I don't even see a blue wire coming out of junction box. Does it mean the condo builder messed up the wiring but never got caught?
The mystery switch may control the power to a receptacle. That receptacle might be just the top or bottom half of a duplexed pair.

I would plug a small lamp into a receptacle somewhere else in the condo and get it switched on. Then, without switching it off, I would unplug it, carry it into the room with the mystery switch, plug it into the top or bottom half of the first duplex receptacle I came to, and try that switch. If that didn't show me switch control, I's plug into the other half of that duplex, then one of the two at the next location along the wall... and so on, until I'd tested every receptacle in that room for switch control.

Of course, this might be something one of your neighbors already knows about. As Core said,
Originally Posted by core
Make sure she's young and single!
 
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