How to wire two replaced switches

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Old 02-09-15, 08:58 PM
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How to wire two replaced switches

Hey folks, super newbie here. I've learned how to switch out some old sockets and switches via google searches but that's all.

I am redoing my backsplash in my kitchen and wanted to replace the switches. The left goes to the disposal; the right to the light above the sink. The light originally had some clock/timer switch hooked up to the wires, but I removed them.

I pulled the old switches off and noticed that the right red wire was capped, and two black ones were pigtailed (is that the correct term)? Though there are 4 black wires...and I uncapped them, now I don't know which were originally capped.

I am hooking regular switches to them, but have no idea which wires go to what. I've tried different attempts and failed miserably each time. My problem is, is that there are multiple sources of each color (especially black).
Included in the picture are 4 black wires (one has a cap on it), 2 red wires, 2 ground, and the white ones in the back that were capped off (I haven't messed with those).

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Old 02-09-15, 09:28 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

You're supposed to take pics before disconnecting the wiring.

I've taken your picture and numbered the wires.
Cable A is a three wire cable. Black is 1 and red is 2
Cable B is a two wire cable. Black is 3
Cable C is a two wire cable. Black is 4
Cable D is a three wire cable. Black is 5 and red is 6

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I see a cap on 5 and 6. Where these already on there ?
Do you have a safe way of measuring voltage.... meter or 2 wire tester ?
 
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Old 02-10-15, 08:12 AM
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... were pigtailed (is that the correct term)? ...
Pigtailing -- Attaching of a short length of wire (a pigtail), that does not exit the box.

Some reasons why:
1. To extend a wire that was too short to reach where it needed to go.
2. To convert two (or more) wire ends into one, notably to connect to an ordinary screw terminal, that accepts only one wire end.
3. To provide an extra wire end e.g. convert one wire end into two, so both a metal box and a receptacle unit can be connected to the equipment grounding conductor(s).

All ground wires (equipment grounding conductors) are connected together wherever they come together, for example entering a box.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 02-10-15 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 02-10-15, 09:31 PM
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Thanks Pete! Sorry about that.

There was a cap on 6. There was not a cap on 5 already. I was an idiot and took everything off because I thought I could connect them to the new switches. The original switch to the disposal (the left) had a red, black, and ground wire attached to it. The switch/timer thing (right) for the light above the sink was connected to two black wires (not sure which ones). 6 was capped and the second ground wire wasn't connected to anything. I do remember that two black wires (not sure which) were pigtailed to form one, which connected to the light switch... I think.

Why are there so many cables in this box? If I am wanting to connect two simple switches, which wires/from which cables would I use? The switches I bought have 2 bronze screws and a ground screw.

I also decided to cap all the wires off so that I could deal with it later. However, the rest of the things on that breaker (dishwasher, other outlets) aren't working. What would cause this? poor capping or exposed wire?

Thanks again.
 
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Old 02-10-15, 10:26 PM
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I have an idea how the wiring goes but you need to confirm which of those five wires have power on them. We're not concerned with #6.

You would need to check each wire to the bare ground. The whites will remain connected.
 
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Old 02-11-15, 04:40 AM
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The stuff is not working because you opened a splice that carried power to other parts of the circuit.
 
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Old 02-11-15, 04:56 AM
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You would have connected each new switch to the same wires that the respective old switch was connected to.

For an "ordinary light switch" aka a single pole single throw switch with two gold terminals and one green terminal, it does not matter which way the circuit conductors (red, black) are connected to the gold screws.
 
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Old 02-11-15, 02:46 PM
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I'll check when I get home this evening.
 
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Old 02-11-15, 02:49 PM
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So would the first two cables (a &fb) go to the first switch, and the second two cables (c & d) go to the second switch? Do I pigtail the extra black ones together since it'll leave two black wires unconnected
 
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Old 02-11-15, 02:57 PM
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You probably need to find the two blacks going to the fixtures. This will be one wire to one screw on each switch. The power in will have a pigtail to each of the switches to feed them. This will probably also splice to the wire feeding the rest of the circuit.
 
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