Changing Light Switches

Reply

  #1  
Old 07-29-14, 03:53 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 12
Changing Light Switches

I would like to say hello to everyone as this is my first post here. My wife has me changing out all of the outlets and switches in the kitchen and I seem to have run into a problem by not paying close attention.

There is a switch box with two light switches in it. The left one controls the light over the table and the right one controls the light over the entire kitchen. I bought a 12 pack of switches and went to work on the left one first. I noticed that the switch on the left did not have a ground. So I swapped out the switch on the left and then tried it and it worked fine. On to the switch on the right and my problems began. First there are 3 wires here for this switch. Two of them are coming out of the same sleeve and (they are white and black) and the other one (black) is all by itself. I hate to say that in my haste I have forgotten where the 3 wires went on the switch. I assumed that the single black was the ground wire and the other two went to the screws on the side of the switch. So I connected it like this and the light did not turn on. I thought maybe the switch was bad and tried another one but no go. I reversed the wires and still nothing. I then put the old switch in and the light worked fine. I connected the single black wire as the ground and the other two on the screws. I still was unsure as to why my new switch would not work though. Well across from this switch is another box with 2 switches in it. The left one turns on the outdoor light and the to be honest, Ive never used the right switch in twenty years, if you can believe that. I believe that maybe it controlled one of the outlets but im not sure. So i went to turn on the outdoor light and it shut the light off over the table and the switch on the right now turns on the outdoor light! So I believe that how I connected those three wires has changed something. Ive also read about 2-3 and 4 way switches but Im not sure if I need one of those. Any help would be greatly appreciated as I am lost. Thanks to all.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 07-29-14, 04:47 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,354
First a black should never be on a ground screw.

It sounds like the one switch might have been a three way. Is there another switch that controls the same lights? Does the switch say on and off?
 
  #3  
Old 07-29-14, 05:08 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 12
There is no other switch that controls those lights and the switch does say on/off. So both of the screws that are on the same side of the switch should be black wires and the ground is white?
 
  #4  
Old 07-29-14, 05:18 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,636
So both of the screws that are on the same side of the switch should be black wires and the ground is white
No, white is never a ground and if it is a switch loop you will have black and white on the switch. What is the wiring at the light?
 
  #5  
Old 07-29-14, 05:29 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 12
I have not taken the light apart so I am not sure of the wiring at the light. So the two screws on the left side of the switch does it matter which one is white and which one black? I would still have a leftover black wire that I was using as the ground. I really should have been more careful. I am appreciating your help.
 
  #6  
Old 07-29-14, 05:33 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,636
We can't know how to wire the light till we know what the wiring at the light is.
 
  #7  
Old 07-29-14, 05:56 PM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 62
How was the old switch wired? With 2 wires or 3 wires?
 
  #8  
Old 07-29-14, 06:17 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 12
That's where I blew it. I honestly don't remember.
 
  #9  
Old 07-29-14, 06:26 PM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 62
You said you could put the old switch in and get it to work?

Did the old switch have 3 screws or 2 screws on the sides (not including the green or silver ground screw on the top or bottom of the switch)
 
  #10  
Old 07-29-14, 06:45 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 12
It has 2 screws on one side and one on the other side. There are also 3 wires. A white and black in the same sleeve and a black all by itself.
 
  #11  
Old 07-29-14, 06:51 PM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 62
If that's the case then you will need a 3-way switch to replace the old switch to get everything to work correctly, that will get you a step closer.
 
  #12  
Old 07-29-14, 06:58 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 12
How do I wire that switch? The other switch, the switch on the left that I have replaced, it only has 2 wires. Does it need to be a 3 way switch also?
 
  #13  
Old 07-29-14, 07:20 PM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 62
The switch on the left is working correctly, right? If so then you are done with that one, then on the right you have a feeder wire that should be connected to the common screw on the 3-way switch--probably the single black wire goes to the single screw side, the other two go one to each terminal on the other side (doesn't matter which is which).
 
  #14  
Old 07-29-14, 07:56 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,636
I'm confused. You wrote:
There is no other switch that controls those lights and the switch does say on/off
Now you write:
It has 2 screws on one side and one on the other side.
But bottom line if cable and no red wire then it is not a 3-way. Back to my question. What is the wiring at the light. Also at the switch do you have two or more whites connected only to each other. And finally is there any other light or receptacle or half of a receptacle that no longer works?
 
  #15  
Old 07-29-14, 09:31 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,354
Is the black all by itself coming from the switch next to it? You say it says on and off but are describing a three way switch by the number of terminals.
 
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
Display Modes
'