Light switch wiring problem

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  #1  
Old 06-15-13, 09:29 AM
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Light switch wiring problem

I posted another thread but I had all the info wrong and this is to clean up where everything is actually connected.


The photos shows two boxes. The box on the right is a one gang box and the wires on the left are in a double gang box.

There are two lights in play with these wires and then this is the electric that also passes onto the rest of the line from the left box.

The left side can control a light with a single pole switch that I have un wired currently but indicated with two yellow dots the wires that I need to touch together to turn that light on.

So now I'm trying to figure out which wires to connect to which to get my Z-wave 3-way light switches working. Any help would thrill my fiance since she isn't too keen on the lack of lighting. Thanks!

 
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Old 06-15-13, 09:38 AM
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I must admit.... I am confused looking at your diagram.

You show two lights..... one with no wiring ?
 
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Old 06-15-13, 09:41 AM
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I am assuming you have three way switching at both locations. Left side: The black wire from your fixture will attach to the andonized screw on your switch. Red and white will jumper between the two switches' non andonized screws (any combination) The black wire from your power source will connect to the andonized screw on the right switch. White neutral will go through to the light fixture. Let us know if that works for you or not.
 
  #4  
Old 06-15-13, 10:10 AM
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Chandler - I only have one three way switch but what appears to be wiring for another even though it's definitely only a single pole.

Pjmax - I've taken apart all of the wires and this is where things stand now except I haven't drawn in the wires for the single pole light because I didn't open up the fixture yet since I'm guessing that won't be a problem for me, I probably will tomorrow.


This is very confusing to me as well because the wires are old and I've only identified what goes to what based on running a continuity check on all the ones that are shown.
 
  #5  
Old 06-15-13, 11:09 AM
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I'm still working on your issue. What's confusing and I was looking back at your other thread is why do you show the red and black in the above pic as changing color at the ends.

In your left box you show 2) three wire cables and 1) two wire cable
In your right box you show 1) three wire cable and 1) two wire cable
Is that correct ?

You are showing a red and white feeding the light from the single pole switch. That sort of makes sense.

Can you use a voltmeter to tell us which wires currently have power on them. Check wires in both boxes. If my guess is correct....then you should only find 120 v on the black of the two wire cable.

I'm assuming that you are showing both sets of light wires going to the same light but they should actually be going to different lights.
 
  #6  
Old 06-15-13, 01:03 PM
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What do I put the ground to since the boxes have none? Talking about using the voltmeter to test what's live

Thanks
 
  #7  
Old 06-15-13, 01:19 PM
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What do I put the ground to since the boxes have none?
You leave them unconnected if there is no ground wire and the box is not a grounded metal box.
 
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Old 06-15-13, 01:43 PM
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Your box, if metal, should be grounded. Try clipping your ground lead to the box.
 
  #9  
Old 06-16-13, 10:39 AM
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dcantato,

Your wiring diagram does not make sense.

(Left to Right) you have all the wires from switch-1 going to switch-4 without anything coming from the breaker box or going to a light.

Please correct the following (this is what I take from your drawing)
Two-Gang
1) Three-way switch (to the problem light (hereinafter Light-A)?)
2) Three-way switch (perhaps the SPST to the other light (hereinafter Light-B))
3) Hot and Neutral from breaker

One-Gang
4)Three-way switch (to Light-A?)
5) Hot and Neutral from breaker

Given what you said about Light-B;
2) should have a hot and neutral to Light-B. I do not know why you show a red and white going to Light-A

You still have not explained why you have black wires turning red.
 
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Old 06-16-13, 01:12 PM
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It looks from your drawing you have two sets of three way switch wiring doing nothing and going nowhere. Is it possible this is what you need to do?
 
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  #11  
Old 06-17-13, 05:32 AM
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Michael,

The black turns red because those are the wires that showed continuity with each other. I'm guessing someone repaired or messed with the wires in some way to make that happen. I double and triple checked it. In my own diagram I'm not even thinking of colors as much as I can because its all old and tinkered with.

The rest of your questions are what confuses me as well. I ran a continuity check with all wires unconnected and found those going to where they are shown. All of your assumptions are correct.

Chandler,

When I get home today I'll try that scheme out.
 
  #12  
Old 06-17-13, 06:26 AM
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dcantoato,

Did you do the continuity test with the switches installed, or everything taken out of the gang boxes?
 
  #13  
Old 06-17-13, 06:36 AM
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With everything taken out and disconnected. I'm going to dig into the light fixture some more tonight and see if those wires are connected to anything I can't see hidden in the ceiling.
 
  #14  
Old 06-17-13, 06:54 AM
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Question; are these lights and switches on the same breaker?

Given what you said about the gang boxes, I would do the following if I had this problem.

Note: I am assuming that you know for a fact that these three switches control only these two lights and that nothing else controls either light.

Disconnect all wires in the gang boxes AND the lights (take pictures or make notes of what is connected where). Then do continuity tests, then turn breaker on and use my circuit tester (http://penntoolsalesandservice.com/s...ages/69125.jpg)

1) Verify what is coming into the gang boxes from the breaker box
1a) I expect #3B and #3W to produce a light on my circuit tester
1b) I expect #3B to produce a light to a ground (which you have none)
1c) I expect #3W to have continuity to ground
1d) I expect no other two-wire combination in that gang box to have continuity or produce a light
1e) same tests using #5 for #3

If I did not get any of those expected results, I would spend some time figuring out why. Most likely test that could "fail" is #3BW or #5BW not triggering my circuit tester. This would most likely be because I forgot to turn on the breaker. After verifying that I didn't make that mistake, it would be because the breaker goes to the light first. This would cause all wiring logic to change.

See this page for possible wiring combiations
Installing A 3-way Switch With Wiring Diagrams - The Home Improvement Web Directory

If I had the expected results, then I would do exactly what Chandler shows. HOWEVER that assumes "normal" mechanical three-ways. I do not know if your wireless ones function the same or have other requirements.

WAIT, you have two setups in the two-gang for three-way switches. That rather needs to be addressed. I do not know which one is supposed to connect to the other three-way in the other gang box. Hmm.

With everything still disconnected (and breakers off) Check continuity between gang 1 and gang 2 and also the gang boxes to the light fixtures. I think we need to verify exactly which wires go where. If, in taking off the switches or the lights you notice one wire (hopefully red) that is simply capped off, then that is most likely the unused wire for the SPST.

This is a fun problem. Wish I could be there in person to crack the code.
 
  #15  
Old 06-17-13, 07:03 AM
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I'm eagerly awaiting heading home to dig back into this! I'll update the diagram and post it tonight. Thanks for the help so far
 
  #16  
Old 06-17-13, 05:19 PM
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Z-wave 3-way light switches... I only have one three way switch
Two 3-way switches are required for 3-way switching. Do you have two?

what appears to be wiring for another even though it's definitely only a single pole.
An on/off single-location switch is a single-pole, single-throw switch. A 3-way switch is a single-pole, double-throw switch. The two don't work together.

I've only identified what goes to what based on running a continuity check on all the ones that are shown.
How did you test continuity between the wall boxes and the ceiling box?

I haven't drawn in the wires for the single pole light because I didn't open up the fixture yet
Until you take the wires in the ceiling apart and test on totally disconnected wires you can't be sure of where each wire is going.

What do I put the ground to since the boxes have none? Talking about using the voltmeter to test what's live
Your meter doesn't have a ground. Test from red and black wires to white and to the boxes, assuming they're metal. Test from white to the boxes. Power from the panel should be on the black/white pair in the single-gang box.

The black turns red because those are the wires that showed continuity with each other. I'm guessing someone repaired or messed with the wires in some way to make that happen.
There are two splices somewhere that make that happen. You need to find and undo those splices. They may be in the ceiling.
 
  #17  
Old 06-19-13, 05:41 PM
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Nashkat, thanks for the info it's all mostly answered if you read through.


To recap - two boxes, two lights. One box has two switches with a single pole and a 3 way, the other has just a switch for the three way. I am using the correct switches for all of them.

Here are updated photos from my probing today. I pulled all the hidden wires out of the ceiling and retested all the continuity to update the diagram. I also labeled which wires are hot.

The wiring for the light I have is for the one going to the 3 way switches.



 
  #18  
Old 06-19-13, 06:44 PM
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Looks like there is an improperly wired switch loop involved.
 
  #19  
Old 06-19-13, 10:33 PM
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So is the black/white pair labeled "Hot" in the single-gang box bringing the power down from the ceiling?

Where does the power from the panel come in?

If those ovals with "B W R" in them indicate cables, where's the black wire in the middle cable in the 2-gang box?

Nashkat, thanks for the info it's all mostly answered if you read through.
If I had seen the answers to my questions I wouldn't have asked them. Bear in mind that all of us here are volunteers and that most of us will look through two dozen or more threads in a session, in the time we can devote to this work.

I'm looking forward to reading the answers. You're welcome to quote from the earlier posts where they were given.

In your first new drawing, you appear to be showing a ceiling outlet with three 2-conductor cables entering it, with all three black wires spliced together but not connected to the fixture, two of the white wires spliced together ans connected to the neutral lead of the fixture, and the third white wire spliced to the hot feed of the fixture. If so, that would be the "improperly wired switch loop" that PCboss noted.

But what's interesting is that, in the second drawing, you show two lights, with no indication of the wiring at one of them and two white wires, one red wire and one black wire at the other. Is the first drawing for one of these two lights? Is it the one that has no wiring shown in the second drawing?
 
  #20  
Old 06-20-13, 04:11 AM
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All I see is jousting at windmills. Nothing on the drawings is labeled as to what they are, and it appears there are two three way switches doing nothing. I can't make out anything on the drawings without proper labeling. Ceiling fixture? Switch? Power in? Load out?
 
  #21  
Old 06-20-13, 07:42 AM
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dcantato,

That wiring simply is not possible (your three-ways have no power going into them and are not connected to any lights)

Pleas at least do the following;
0) turn off breaker(s)
1) Disconnect all switches and lights (take pictures before hand so you can rewire)
2) Carefully determine where the Hot(s) is/are
3) Label all wires going into boxes and both lights
3a) At this point, we don't care where the wires might go to (continuity), we just need to see for example
a) box 1, wire 1, BWR (no hot)
b) box 1, wire 2, BWR (no hot)
c) box 1, wire 3, BW, B is hot
d) box 2, wire 1, BWR (no hot)
e) box 3, wire 2, BW, B is hot
f) Light 1, BW (no hot)
g) Light 2, BW (no hot)

You should also tell us which light (1 or 2) you want controlled by the three-ways

We need to know where all the Hots originate to help with a wiring scheme. Then you will be able to test for continuity.
 
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