What am I looking at ? How do I wire a switch

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Old 04-10-19, 05:38 PM
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What am I looking at ? How do I wire a switch

I have a walk n closet in my bedroom. when I bought the house I could swear there was a switch and a light on the ceiling. right now there is a automatic light on the ceiling and no switch - plus the auto light is not working.

I took the cover off the switch box and found this. What am I looking at ? which wires do I connect to the switch ? they are all black and grey ! Help !

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Last edited by PJmax; 04-10-19 at 05:47 PM. Reason: resized picture
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Old 04-10-19, 06:00 PM
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Could you take a picture with wires spread around bit more?
I cannot quiet tell which wire goes where.

Looks like someone removed a switch and just capped wires. But if that was the case, you will not have power at the light. Are you sure you have power at the light in the first place?
Remove the light and test.

Also, bundle of white wires need a wire nut.
 
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Old 04-10-19, 06:03 PM
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Those are white and black wires.
How many cables are there ? It looks like 3 cables...... 6 wires.
It looks like there are three white wires combined and three black wires all separate.
It doesn't look like the switch there controlled the light.
 
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Old 04-30-19, 11:21 AM
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improved pics - does this help ?

how do I wire a light tot his mess ?
 
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Old 05-01-19, 10:22 AM
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can anyone help ? i am stuck.....
 
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Old 05-01-19, 12:21 PM
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1. Put a wire nut on the white wire bundle.
2. Connect all the blacks together and see if the light comes on.

If the light comes on then remove one black at a time and see if the light goes off. When the light goes off you will know which wire is the light.
 
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Old 05-01-19, 12:42 PM
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so what is the white wire for ?
 
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Old 05-01-19, 01:59 PM
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The white wire is neutral. One black is power in and second power out to unknown load. The third is power out to the light. Power in and power out are pigtailed to one side of the switch. Power out to the light to the other side of the switch.
 
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Old 05-01-19, 02:29 PM
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As I previously mentioned..... either the light wasn't controlled there or the wiring was changed at the light since you said the light WAS working with the switch box wiring as it was.
 
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Old 05-04-19, 10:52 PM
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There used to be a "smart switch" (with a motion detector) in that box. That's why the neutrals were uncovered. A smart switch uses neutrals. A regular switch does not.

Your previous owners wanted to keep it the switch so after your walkthrough, they removed the switch and put a blank cover over. They didn't have a wirenut big enough to cap those neutrals, so they just left them. Your previous owners were no-good, lazy, and negligent.

How to fix it:

Remember to turn off the power before touching anything and always verify the power is off with a multimeter.

First step: Decide whether you want a motion detector switch or a regular switch.

A regular switch has 3 terminals.
  • Ground
  • Hot in
  • Hot out

A smart switch also has a neutral terminal.

Ground: I can't see very well but you have 2 bare wires coming out of the box. One of those is supposed to go to the switch.

Hots: In your first photo, you have 2 black wires with yellow caps. Those should both go to the switch. The switch will have 2 terminals for hots. It doesn't matter which black wire goes to which.

Neutral: If you are using a regular switch, put a red wirenut on that bundle of white wires. You don't want that contacting any part of the switch.

If you are using a smart switch, you will need to pigtail a short length of white wire from that white bundle, and bring it to the neutral terminal on your smart switch. For an example of a pigtail, look at what they did with the black wires. Or look here:

 
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Old 05-05-19, 07:21 AM
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The above about the grounds leaves out the need to pigtail the grounds. You do not break the splice to connect one to the switch. All grounds must be spliced.
 
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