Dimmer-Wire Connections?!?


Old 09-23-01, 11:19 AM
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I want to install a dimmer (currently just aan on-off switch) in the fron entry. There is more than one switch that controls it, and I have a 3 pole dimmer. The dimmer has two black wires and one red coming out of it. The current switch has two black, two white, and one copper ground wire. There is no ground wire on the new dimmer switch.
(In the box the dimmer will go, there is also another switch for the outside lights. That shouldn't need to be touched, right?)
My question is: What to I connect the red wire to, and what do I do with the exitsting ground that is in the box? Do the 2 existing black wires go the 2 black dimmer switch wires? I'm lost, and I'm not about to start experimenting.
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Old 09-23-01, 07:50 PM
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I sincerely hope that you didn't remove the old switch without marking what wires were connected to what. Are you really sure that the old switch is a 3-way? Does it have 3 screws (not counting grounding)? Is the lever on the old switch blank, or does it say "on" and "off".

You said that there is no grounding wire on your new dimmer, but is there a green grounding screw on yor new dimmer?

The reason I'm asking all these questions is that two black wires and two white wires is unusual for a 3-way switch. Please describe the old switch you are removing, and how the wires were connected to it.

You are correct that you should not touch the other switch.
Old 09-24-01, 12:17 AM
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Sounds like a 4-way.
Old 09-24-01, 02:26 AM
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Dimmer Question

John - No, I didn't remove any of the wires from the current switch. I just pulled it out and looked at it - then promptly put it back. (Our house is only 1-1/2 years old, so the switch and wiring are brand new.) The current switch has this set up: The 2 black wires are on the left side of the switch, top and bottom. The 2 white wires are on the right side, top and bottom. The copper ground is screwed into the middle of the top on the back side.
The 3-pole dimmer I bought has 3 wires across the back - 1 black on the left, 1 black in the middle, and 1 red on the right. No ground. Should I get a different model?
Also, for reply #2, I think there may be 3 different switches that control this light. Would that explain it?
Old 09-24-01, 04:55 AM
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Yes, you have a 4-way switch. You need a 4-way dimmer. They may be hard or impossible to find (e.g., I don't think Home Depot carries any, and frankly I've never seen one -- maybe someone else can help).

Might you consider putting this dimmer on one of the other two places that control this light?

P.S. Congratulations on not disconnecting the old switch before you figured this out.
Old 09-24-01, 05:09 AM
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Thanks John!

Thanks John. I will try one of the other switches. In all my confusion, I never thought of that. If that doesn't work, I'll get a professional out to do the job. Thanks again!

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