Single Switch in Box with Three Wires

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  #1  
Old 05-16-20, 03:35 PM
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Single Switch in Box with Three Wires

Got myself in a ditch trying to swap out a standard single lightswitch with a smart switch. The goal is to get back to where I started by reinstalling the original switch.

During the botched smart switch install attempt I tripped the circuit breaker. I think that happened because I probably wired the smart switch incorrectly.

There are five light fixture switches on this breaker (three singles and two doubles). I can't find any other switches or outlets without power so I'm reasonably sure that's all the points connected to the tripped breaker.

The switch I want to return to its original place is in a receptacle box that has three incoming wire bundles each with a ground, a white and a black.

I took poor photos before removing the original switch so I can't be sure to correctly connect the two wires it was using before I started breaking things.

I THINK the switch had a single black wire on one connector going to one bundle, then, - strange to my layperson's experience - the other connector on the switch had a short white wire that connected to wires from a different incoming wire bundle. (?)

Before recognizing my limitations and throwing in the towel I tried checking the wiring on another single light switch on that same breaker thinking I might could use it as an example to follow but that switch (in a box that has two wire bundles) is connected with two black wires - the whites and the grounds are capped with nuts.

I'd prefer to have a pro do this but everyone in my town is booked solid for a week or longer.

Any guidance on how to restore this original switch in that receptacle with three wire bundles would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 05-16-20, 06:10 PM
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Show us the bad switch box.
The white pigtail jumper is confusing you. It is not a neutral. It should be recoloured black and connected with the black wires.

You new smart switch (if it still works) should be connect the
LINE to the black bundle in place of the short white.
the LOAD to the single black wire from the switch.
The neutral to the white bundle in the back of the box.
 
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Old 05-16-20, 06:17 PM
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You are showing a picture and the text on that picture doesn't match it.

"the short white wire is a jumper to a bundle with a white wire and two black wires"
????
 
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Old 05-16-20, 06:45 PM
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Thanks Joed.

Please let me know if I'm following you by planning to do this with the new smart switch:

Connect one of its black live/load wires to the black solid wire the old switch was getting power from.

Connect the smart switch's other black load/live wire to the remaining (2) black wires in the receptacle box and terminate them with a wire nut?

Connect the smart switch's white neutral wire to all three white wires in the receptacle box and terminate them with a wire nut?

And I reckon do likewise with the smart switch's ground wire - connect that to the ground from the same bundle the power is coming from and terminate the remaining grounds with a wire nut?
 
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Old 05-16-20, 06:48 PM
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Yes..... that is correct.
 
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Old 05-16-20, 06:54 PM
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Thanks PJmax I think Joed corrected me. That short white wire I called a 'jumper' is what Joed said is a pigtail going from the original switch to the other black wires in the box.
 
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Old 05-16-20, 07:03 PM
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And hopefully a last and likely dumb question: the two black wires on that smart switch are interchangeable? Does it matter which one connects to the receptacle power wire and which one I tie off with the other two black receptacle wires in the box?
 
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Old 05-16-20, 07:13 PM
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I was just concerned that we were looking at the correct box as your written description didn't match.

The wires are labeled line/load. That means there is no connection polarity.

 
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Old 05-16-20, 08:20 PM
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Grazie mille

You guys totally rock steady - new switch is online and following verbal orders to turn lights on. Thanks so much for kindly taking the time to help a stranger in need!
 
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Old 05-16-20, 08:34 PM
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Good job. You are most welcome.
 
 

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