something "popped" behind the light switch panel

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  #1  
Old 11-05-07, 10:51 AM
S
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something "popped" behind the light switch panel

Hello! Last night I was changing a chandelier and may have accidentally switched the Hot and Neutral wire when hooking it up. When I turned the circuit breaker back on and hit the light switch (which is a dimmer BTW), something behind the light switched "popped" and caused dust to blow out behind the light switch panel. I turned the circuit breaker back off, switched the wiring and tried again but this time, nothing happened at all. What did I break? Thanks for your help!!!
 
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Old 11-05-07, 11:01 AM
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You burned out the dimmer. Dimmers are very sensitive to incorrect wiring. Replace the dimmer.
 
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Old 11-05-07, 11:07 AM
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Thanks for such a quick response! I'll replace it tonight and let you know how it goes. I really appreciate it as I'm a new home owner and am trying to do a lot of things I've never had to do before. I think this site is going to be my new best friend!
 
  #4  
Old 11-05-07, 11:14 AM
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Make sure that you buy a dimmer large enough for the load. Add up the wattage of the bulbs in the chandelier and make sure the dimmer is at least that large. When doing this calculation, use the maximum bulb size that can be installed in the chandelier, not the size you are using.

The dimmer will have a rating, for example 600 watts, but it could be as low as 300 watts or as large as 1200 watts. You need one that can support the maximum possible load. Using a dimer that is too small can lead to burning out the dimmer or other problems, like overheating which can cause a fire.

If you are unsure about the wiring, use a normal toggle switch until you figure it out. A toggle switch won't burn out because of improper wiring.
 
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Old 11-05-07, 11:27 AM
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If you are unsure, make a note of all the wires in the switch box and come back here. Tell us what you have and we should be able to assit you in getting it correct. Guessing is not a good idea in electrical work.
 
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Old 11-05-07, 11:28 AM
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That would make sense b/c the chandelier we are putting in has more bulbs than the previous one. Very good to know! Thanks again!
 
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Old 11-05-07, 03:37 PM
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To avoid having to make 18 trips to the store to buy another dimmer, I recommend you get this working correctly with a regular switch. Then you can replace the regular switch with the dimmer. It could save you a lot of money on dimmers.
 
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Old 11-05-07, 04:51 PM
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It sounds like you may have a dead short in your wiring.
Make sure that you have wired the chandelier correctly at the junction box.
The advice about using a standard switch is good.
That way you won't blow out another expensive dimmer.
Did you disturb the wiring in the switch box?
That may be the cause of you problem also.
Swapping the neutral and the hot would not have caused the scenario that you laid out for us but it would be incorrect wiring.
 
  #9  
Old 11-07-07, 06:15 AM
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Thanks for all your help! I installed a new dimmer with a higher Watt allowance and made sure the wirering ws correct before turning the breaker back on. It worked great! Thanks!
 
 

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