Electrical Switch Issue

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  #1  
Old 05-20-15, 07:55 PM
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Electrical Switch Issue

Good Afternoon,

I'm attempting to put in recessed lighting into my living room. Before installing the lights this was the set up:

Two switchs, one on either side of the room. Two wall outlets controlled by then switchs.

From what I can tell, power comes into the first switch then breaks off to the second switch.

I installed a dimmer at the switch at the end of the line. Before putting in the lights, all switches and outlets worked correctly.

I then went into the attic. I found the line going from one switch to the other. I spliced in the lights. Coming into the lights, black was hot.

After the install, I turned on the power and got nothing. I went to test one of the spare outlets with a sawsall to see if I have power. As soon as I turned on the saw, my lights worked. My lights will only work when the saw is on.

I can't seem to figure out what wiring is wrong to only get lights when the saw completesnthe circut.

Anyone have any suggestions? Thank you.
 
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Old 05-20-15, 07:58 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

If you only have a two wire cable to the switch then you have a switch loop where the switch switches the hot to the receptacles but there is no neutral.

You cannot tap into a switch loop.

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This is shown with a light but a receptacle is the same issue. You'll notice the neutral goes directly to the device and does not go to the switch.
 
  #3  
Old 05-20-15, 08:28 PM
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I have three wires plus ground. At the lights intersection, black is hot-white and red are nothing. I connected all black to black and all white to white. It is then fed to a dimmer switch where black is common and other two come off of it. I'd post pictures but I can't seem to figure it out.

And thank you for the welcome! I'm from Idaho. Just purchased a home and attempting remodels.
 
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Old 05-20-15, 08:57 PM
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I went back and reread the response. I'll follow the diagram in the morning and only connect the lights onto one side of the strand only. Thank you!
 
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Old 05-20-15, 09:26 PM
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Just to clarify..... You have 2) three way switches that control 2 receptacles. You feel that power comes in at one switch (which is highly likely).

That would mean that more than likely..... the receptacles are connected at the other switch. Either way.... there is a three wire cable between switches. One wire would be neutral and the other two would be the travelers. In a three way setup.... only one traveler is live at one time. You cannot cut into the three wire between switches.

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The diagram says light but it's receptacle in your case.

While I'm thinking here.... if you have two switches controlling two receptacles.... you can't install a dimmer and connect a light.

What is your ultimate goal there ?
Make receptacles always live and switch the new light ?
 
  #6  
Old 05-21-15, 10:44 AM
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Honestly, I was going to leave the outlets alone and just not use them. Only the bottom outlet of the receptacle is on the switch.

My goal is to install the recessed lights with a dimmer controlled on opposite sides of the room.

I cut into the three way wire and attempted to wire in the lights on only one traveler. IE black was hot, wired all lights incoming of black and then sent the white from the lights to the common of the dimmer switch. Still nothing. The white and red from the three way are still connected directly.

Thanks
 
  #7  
Old 05-22-15, 12:04 AM
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The problem with leaving receptacles on a dimmer is if you plug something into a dimmed receptacle you can blow the dimmer out or damage what is plugged in.

Is your circuit like the three way circuit I drew ?
You can tap into the three wire cable but you can no longer have three way operation. You would have to pick one location for a switch.
 
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Old 05-22-15, 08:13 AM
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I think you tapped into the cable between the two three ways. The white was a traveler, not a neutral.
 
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Old 05-22-15, 02:46 PM
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Thanks for all the help! I rewired the outlets so they are no longer on the switch.

Then sent the main power to the first switch. Kept the wires between the two switch's intact and cut into the return loop back to the system. All lights and switches worked!

Thank you
 
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Old 05-22-15, 03:19 PM
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Thanks for letting us know how you made out.
 
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