Wiring a new dimmer switch

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Old 11-16-18, 10:38 AM
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Wiring a new dimmer switch

Hello All,

First post here, so thank you for having me. After purchasing a home a few months back I've been trying to do as much updates and fixes myself. Been a fun process, but many times I wish I had a family member in the trades that can walk me though some of these things. As far as my question goes...

I'm replacing a standard paddle switch that was controlling a pendant light in the kitchen. I want to replace with a Lutron Dimmer switch, because the new pendant light I installed is very bright when turned on. I noticed that the paddle switch had 4 purple wires hooked up to it, which was confusing for me right off the bat. Two purple wires on the gold screw terminals and two more on the other black screw terminals. This light is only controlled from a single location, or at least I don't know of another switch that is able to turn it on.

There are three white, three black, and four purple wires currently in the junction box. I've tried wiring a few times, but no matter what I try I don't seem to be getting power. I'm assuming that the purple wires are all hot, but don't know how you can have four hot wires connected to a single switch, as it was previously. Can anyone point me in the right direction as to how this should be getting wired?


Thank You!
 
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Old 11-16-18, 11:26 AM
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It looks to me like this might be the mid-point of a 4-way switch circuits. That would imply there are at least 2 other switches that control this light.

Did the old switch have 4 separate screws or did it have multiple wires under single screws?
 
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Old 11-16-18, 12:05 PM
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Hey Ben,

It would seem that multiple switches would have controlled the light, but I only knew of one switch that actually seemed to do the trick. I even went around to the other switches in the area after I turned power back on to confirm. Not other switch is turning this pendant light on.

The old screw has 4 separate screws. All of them had a connection from the purple wires that you see in one of the pictures.
 
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Old 11-16-18, 12:13 PM
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As a side note, none of the white or black wires in the box were being utilized. Only the four purple wires connected to the four screws on the switch above.
 
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Old 11-16-18, 12:40 PM
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That is a four way switch indicating there are two more switches(3 ways) that also control those lights.
That dimmer looks like a three way dimmer and needs to go at one of the the three way locations.
 
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Old 11-16-18, 12:50 PM
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OK, that definitely looks like a 4-way switch configuration. You're probably going to have to find the other ends of those purple wires. Since no other switches seem to control the light, I'm guessing the wiring was installed to support other switch locations, but was bypassed in those switch boxes for one reason or another.

Pull off the switch plates of some other switch boxes at other entrances to the room and see if you can spot those purple traveler wires joined to some other color wires in nearby switch boxes.
 
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Old 11-16-18, 03:26 PM
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Will do. Is it possible to just use the existing wiring in the switch boxes and, even though it may be currently set for a 4-way configuration, just make it a single-switch dimmer configuration? If I can't use the new dimmer, I have new Lutron 4-way switches around, and can just install one of those if this turns out to be a chore. So much other stuff to do around this house I can't spend too much time messing around!
 
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Old 11-16-18, 05:07 PM
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Will do. Is it possible to just use the existing wiring in the switch boxes and, even though it may be currently set for a 4-way configuration, just make it a single-switch dimmer configuration?
Take the two wires from the black screws and connect both to one terminal of single way dimmer. Take the two wires from gold screws and connect to other terminal of dimmer.
 
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Old 11-16-18, 05:10 PM
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You can see two purple wires come out of each pipe. Take one from each pipe and connect together.
If the light comes on..... put your dimmer on these two wires and cap the other two.
If the light doesn't come on..... cap the first two and use the second two on the dimmer.

You're going to use red and black from the dimmer. Cap off the red/white wire.
 
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