Rewiring switches creating dead circuits

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Old 08-19-19, 09:03 AM
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Rewiring switches creating dead circuits

I'm trying to update old light switches, and have run into a problem. One of our bathrooms has two separate rooms, one for the vanity and one for the shower/toilet. The vanity room has a lone single-pole switch for the light above the vanity. The two switches in the shower/toilet room are linked together (circuit it one neutral and one hot in to each switch and one switch running between the two switches). Before I replaced the vanity switch I tested the wires feeding the shower/toilet switches. I located each hot wire going into the switches and when I turned them on the switches the joining wire tested hot too.

I replaced the switch in the vanity, and it works fine. But ever since I did that, the two single-pole switches that control the light and the bathroom fan in the shower/toilet room are dead. I have to think I killed a circuit but don't know how I did it or how to fix it. I can share pics later (forgot to take them yesterday while working on them).

Also, the new switches I've purchased have two screw terminals and no push-in terminals. The old switches have push-in terminals which accommodate multiple wires. When I get current flowing back to the two-switch box, I'm not sure if I can get rid of the joining wire or if I need to pigtail.

I'd appreciate any insight on how to get the circuit live again and then how to rewire.
 
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Old 08-19-19, 09:18 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

Very important to describe a circuit correctly so we can follow you.
Pictures of existing wiring is very helpful. How-to-insert-pictures.

circuit it one neutral and one hot in to each switch
What does that mean ?
If you only have a white and black wire on a switch and nothing else in the box..... you have a switch loop and it must stay that way. In that instance.... white is not neutral.
 
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Old 08-19-19, 11:08 AM
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How many wires on each switch? If more than two what did you do with the extras?
 
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Old 08-21-19, 06:40 AM
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I've attached three pictures of the two switches, and while I was taking the pictures things got more complicated. I mentioned in my opening post that the two switches were dead, with no current flowing in. By chance my daughter left the light on in her bedroom closet (which is attached to the bathroom suite in which the two switches in question are located) and both switches were hot today.

Pic IMG_1057.jpg shows the two switches pulled out from the wall.
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IMG_1058.jpg shows the left-hand switch.
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The bottom push-in wire is hot, the top push-in wire is not. The bottom screw terminal feeds the top push-in of right-hand switch, which is pictured in IMG_1059.jpg.
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The bottom push-in wire comes from the wall. The fact that both of these switches need the closet switch in another room to turn on is what has me really confused. Does that mean the closet switch is a three-way? Or perhaps something else?
 

Last edited by PJmax; 08-21-19 at 08:48 PM. Reason: reoriented/cropped/resized pictures
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Old 08-21-19, 07:16 AM
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If the closet switch needs to be on for these to work then I believe your issue is with the closet switch.
Do these switches function properly if the closet switch is on?
 
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Old 08-21-19, 09:08 AM
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Yes they do. Both switches work fine when the closet switch is on. What do you surmise is the problem with the closet switch?
 
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Old 08-21-19, 10:14 AM
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Because the closet switch is obviously turning off the power to this room.

Is this closet the same place as the vanity switch you replaced?
 
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Old 08-21-19, 10:53 AM
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No, the closet switch is separate from the vanity switch. How can I bypass the closet switch so the light and fan switches always have power?
 
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Old 08-21-19, 11:26 AM
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We need to see the wring in the closet switch.
 
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Old 08-21-19, 05:25 PM
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You have the outgoing wire attached to the switched side of the switch.
 
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Old 08-21-19, 08:51 PM
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When you're done with this project look into a picture resizing program. Each member is allotted 10mb of storage. With your first two threads you were at 18mb. I've resized all your pictures and you're currently at 1/2mb.

Try to keep your pictures around 600x600 and no more than 100kb each.
 
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Old 08-22-19, 06:33 AM
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Sorry about that, PJmax. I'll make sure my pics are smaller in future.
 
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Old 08-22-19, 06:37 AM
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pcboss, I think you've got it. I've attached a pic of the closet switch. It appears whoever wired that closet switch twisted two wires together. My theory, and please correct me if I'm wrong, is that one of the twisted wires is a traveller to the bathroom. If I move that wire (and I'd pigtail instead of trying to twist two wires onto the same terminal) to the other terminal I should have a constant current to the bathroom. Am I on the right track here?
 
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Old 08-22-19, 07:32 AM
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If I move that wire (and I'd pigtail instead of trying to twist two wires onto the same terminal) to the other terminal I should have a constant current to the bathroom. Am I on the right track here?
That is correct. If you move the wrong wire the light will stay on and the other room will still be switched. Swap the two wires and it will be good.
 
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Old 08-23-19, 07:55 AM
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Thanks for the help - I swapped the pigtailed wires on the closet switch and everything is working smoothly now. Success!
 
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