Replacing three dimmers with confusing wiring


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Old 02-16-15, 05:18 PM
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Replacing three dimmers with confusing wiring

I'm replacing three dimmer switches in a 3-gang box that seemed to control only 3 sets of lights (7 total light cans) and, I thought, nothing else. When I opened it up I found 5 lines out, 1 line in, and the wiring is not what I was expecting. I'm hoping I can get some advice as to what to do to get simple light switches into this mess.
Wiring Diagram drawn to try and clear up connections.

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Photo of what is actually in the box.
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I think Switches 2 and 3 can be easily replaced just by snipping them and putting the single pole switches in, but I have no idea what's going on with Switch 1 and the staring at the wiring has only made clear that I don't know enough about it.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 02-16-15 at 09:29 PM. Reason: Enlarge diagram.
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Old 02-16-15, 05:52 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

That is some baffling wiring. Who knows what the person was thinking when they did that.
If you are replacing three dimmers with three dimmers... wire them they same way they are now.
 
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Old 02-16-15, 06:09 PM
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Don't disconnect anything yet. The wiring looks in good shape. You just want to replace with simple on/off switches, correct?

It looks like dimmer 1 is 3-way. Do you have another switch that controls the same lights as this dimmer? It will be a switch, not a dimmer and will not have "on/off" stamped on it.
 

Last edited by Handyone; 02-16-15 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 02-16-15, 07:00 PM
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I want to replace the dimmers with simple single pole on/off switches.

There are no other switches or light controls in the kitchen, at all. In terms of adjacent rooms, it's 100% certain none of the switches turn on the lights, so I don't believe the kitchen is connected to any other switches.

The only other things on the circuit at all are the rangehood which has its own switch, and the adjacent room has a light/fan combo that has its own dimmer switch that also appears to be unaffected by any other switches.

Edit:
Specifics about Dimmer Switch 1,
The red wire from the feed line goes into a wire nut at the very bottom most of the picture, and a black line comes out of the wire nut and connects into the switch at the point closest to the wall by itself. The black feed line goes into a wire nut, joins a black line which connects back into the switch at nearly the same spot as the red. The red line out of the switch goes to the orange wire nut directly above the bottom-most one and joins the black wire which runs to Line 2.
 

Last edited by Paul Harnum; 02-16-15 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 02-16-15, 08:21 PM
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This will probably not be resolved today, so hang in there.
I just want to make certain of one thing:

- All 7 lights are in Kitchen and you can see them being switched by dimmers? In other words, you have no unknown dimmer here?
 
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Old 02-16-15, 09:41 PM
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How did you determine the 3-conductor cable was feed. Did you disconnect it and measure with a multimeter?* Which wire, black or red, showed 120v to white of the 3-conductor cable?

*A non contact tester can't be used to determine the feed.
 
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Old 02-17-15, 05:55 AM
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All 7 are being dimmed, no unknown dimmers.

I have not disconnected anything yet nor started using the multimeter. It's still in a moving box somewhere. I will hunt it down and start probing as it appears the wiring itself is insufficient to determine how this was wired. But this project will have to wait a good 9 hours until after work today.
 
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Old 02-17-15, 06:35 AM
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Label before you disconnect. Disconnect one cable at a time then reconnect before doing the next cable. Remove the wire nut from the whites but leave them twisted together and just measure each black or red to the whites.
 
 

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