Major light circuit confusion

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  #1  
Old 05-28-07, 05:52 PM
Z
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Major light circuit confusion

I an pretty confused about this light circuit I'm trying to figure out.

When I bought this house 6 years ago, I had a switch gang box that controlled and exterior light and interior light. The interior light fixture broke and I disconnected the fixture and wires in the box, leaving the other switch connected to the exterior light.

Today, I bought a new fixture, opened the double gang box and tried to reconnect the wires and I can't get it to work, at all.

I think that because I have no idea where in the circuit this is and also that the wires are old knob and tube that aren't marked, it's causing some problems.

Here what I have....

The working switch has only two wires connected to it and it's been working. I've figured out which is the "hot."

There and then 2 wires for the second light and that's where I'm losing it. I have a tester that shows that if I touch the hot in the good switch and one of the wires, it lights up. If I touch the other, it trips the breaker.

I have an electrical book but the diagrams for two switches and two lights seems to need more wires than have showing?

Any suggestions or ways to figure this out, it's much appreciated.
 
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Old 05-28-07, 05:58 PM
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Why did you remove the old switch? You should have just left the switch in place and removed the no-working light.

If you have two wires for the second switch, connect it just like the first switch.

However, if you have two cables for the second switch (meaning four total wires) then simply break the hot wire with the switch, just as you would any circuit.

Any book on home wiring will show you this i complete detail. You do have a book don;t you? You shouldn't be doing this work without a book to help you.
 
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Old 05-28-07, 06:16 PM
Z
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Thanks for acting like my mother. If I wanted to be ridiculed, derided and dismissed, I would have called someone who I hated, instead I came to this board and got the typical dose of "what a moron you are" from some jerk hiding behind his keyboard.

Sorry, my masters degree wasn't in electrical wiring, so if you want to have a discussion on public policy, economics, or urban planning, go ahead and ask a question.

If not, keeping the attitude to yourself. I didn't come here to be asked why I did something.

You electricians, or at least the ones who play one on boards like this are all the same, you act like it's such a complicated arena that no one else can figure it out. Well, let me tell you... all the people I know who are electricians are the kids who dropped out of high school and college so it can't be too complicated!

See, people like me with brains, instead of wasting our time experimenting on something, we ask someone. It's the most efficient, effective method of solving a probelm.... and it also makes us a lot of money!

So, Mr. knowitall, you're solution didn't work but I'm sure you feel great about yourself and your pathetic self esteem by taking shots at people on this board.
 
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Old 05-28-07, 07:29 PM
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Could you further explain what you mean by when you said you touched the wires and tripped the breaker? I'm not sure how touching wires with a tester can trip the breaker? What exactly are you touching them with?
 
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Old 05-28-07, 07:41 PM
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>There and then 2 wires for the second light and that's where I'm losing it. I have a tester that shows that if I touch the hot in the good switch and one of the wires, it lights up. If I touch the other, it trips the breaker.<

What do you mean by "tester". A tester should not trip a breaker. How are you using it?

>and also that the wires are old knob and tube that aren't marked,<

If truly K&T all bets are off on how it is wired. Since you can't add to K&T and the wiring is questionable running a new circuit may be your best bet.

Finally remember honey draws more flies then vinegar. The electricians that post here do so not for pay but because they like to help. However a bit of frustration at seeing the same mistakes over and over is understandable. Never been in a Usenet group? Compared to some responses you might get there this is a kind and gentle place indeed.
 
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Old 05-29-07, 04:49 AM
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When I answer a question I try to help the poster. I also try to help others who have a similar issue.

In your case I am suggesting that removing the switch was not the best move. Obviously it;s too late for you, but someone else perhaps will realize that they do not need to remove the switch to remove the light.

I am sorry if you think I am talking down to you. I am not. You have done the same thing that hundreds or even thousands of others have done. I am trying to prevent others from making the same mistakes you have made, and I am trying to help you solve your problem.

So far everything you have told me indicates that the switch you removed is in-line and that running the hot wire through the switch and the connect the neutrals together will get you back to the original wiring. I cannot tell from your response whether or not you have done this.

However, I do know this. if you use a tester to test the wires, and if you look at the wiring at the light this is trivial to figure out.

if you want our help, tell us the wiring at the light and tell us the wiring at the switch. ALL of the wiring. In complete detail.
 
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Old 05-29-07, 07:26 AM
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Tell us ALL the wires in the fixture. Tell ALL the wires in the switch box. Tell us what type of tester you are using. I have never seen a tester that would trip the breaker no matter how you tested the wires unless you are uing a continuity(ohms) scale. Tell us exactly how you testing the wires.
Removing the old fixture should not have involved any changes to the switch. Why did you change/remove the switch wires?
 
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