Installing New 3 Gang Box Shorted All Connections


Old 09-22-15, 09:31 PM
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Installing New 3 Gang Box Shorted All Connections

Hey everyone,

In my home I had a 3 gang switch box with the left switch going to an outlet, the middle switch going no where, and the right switch controlling the fan light and speed.

The switch box was about an inch crooked (which is significant when you see it everyday), so I decided to take on the job of straightening it. I quickly realized the box was nailed into the stud and the only way to straighten it was to install a new free standing 3 gang box.

So I took a photo of all the wires and drew up some connection diagrams to ensure I didn't mess anything up. I unplugged the cabling from the switches and pulled the copper out of the original box. I inserted the copper into the new box, straightened the box by cutting out more of the dry wall, and re-installed the wiring to the switches.

To my surprise when I turned the electricity back on, all connections going to that particular switch in the breaker no longer functioned. Next to the switch I attempted to straighten is: the TV and nearby are the kitchen lights. Including the fan and light switch, nothing turns on now.

I connected everything back the exact way it was connected originally, but seeing that other items aren't powering on, I'm worried something more significant may be broken.

This is a long shot, but any ideas?

- Adam

Also...I've called 2 electricians but in Denver it is difficult to get anyone to come out on short notice because they are all booked for months. I'm trying more electricians tomorrow.
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Old 09-22-15, 10:06 PM
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Nothing in your post indicates a short. The breaker would trip if you had a short. More likely you did not connect the black of the "power in" correctly.

Lets start with the basics. Before you started were all the whites connected together?

Last edited by ray2047; 09-23-15 at 12:10 AM.
Old 09-22-15, 11:49 PM
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You could probably share your pics with us.
Old 09-23-15, 05:01 AM
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Shorted -- Wires or metal parts touching where they should not, or (usually undesired) connections made, causing current to flow but take a shortcut and not go to the light or appliance etc. the current is intended to go to.

Open -- A break in a circuit causing current to not flow. This could take the form of, among other things, a switch in the off position, a loose connection, or a broken wire (also q.v. below).

Many wires look alike. Since the wires are curled and tucked in random ways in the back of the box, it is easy to misjudge how they run. Are you sure that you reconnected up the wires same way they were connected originally?

Long shot: It is possible for the copper wire to break, unseen, inside the insulation, especially if the wire has been bent or manipulated several times in the past for example the switches had been replaced before.
Old 09-23-15, 06:36 AM
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People here are very good at diagnosing wiring problems with only pictures and a little input on what you expect switches to do. You can hire an electrician but it's probably not needed.
Post some pictures and go from there.
Old 09-23-15, 12:16 PM
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Thanks for the responses so far!

I will post a before and after photo tonight when I get home, but to start, yes all white were connected together from the beginning.

- Adam
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