Extra red wire in wall switch box

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Old 02-27-10, 05:28 PM
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Extra red wire in wall switch box

Hi All,

I'm trying to replace a ceiling fan with a basic light fixture and a dual slider ceiling fan wall control switch (image #1) with a dimmer switch (image #2).





The ceiling fixture has a single 14/2 G cable. But the wall switch box has a 14/2 G and a 14/3 G cable.

The problem is that I don't know what to do with that extra RED wire in the switch box. I tried capping and ignoring it, but the light doesn't work, it just buzzes.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 02-27-10, 05:53 PM
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but the light doesn't work, it just buzzes.
What kind of light is it. Are you using a CFL? At the switch did you wire nut the whites together and hook the blacks to the switch? How many wires on the switch and their colors?
 
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Old 02-27-10, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
What kind of light is it?
It is a halogen track light fixture with 3 small, 50 watt halogen bulbs. The fixture has a black, white, and ground wire and I connected them to the matching wires coming out the of the ceiling. There are no additional wires.

Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Are you using a CFL?
No, it's halogen. It's a strip, not a can and not recessed.

Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
At the switch did you wire nut the whites together and hook the blacks to the switch?
Yes. At the switch I followed the directions for a single pole installation. I left the two whites wired together. I connected one black from the house to the black on the dimmer and the other black from the house to the red on the dimmer. I also connected the grounds together. I capped the one red wire from the house since I didn't know what to do with it. I also capped the red and white striped wire from the back of the dimmer since the directions state that it is only to be used for 3 way wiring.

Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
How many wires on the switch and their colors?
The dimmer has one black, one red, one red and white striped, and one ground wire. As stated above, the striped wire is only for use in a 3 way situation.

Here is a link to the 1 page directions for the Lutron dimmer that I am trying to install.

http://www.lutron.com/CMS400/WorkAre....aspx?id=23581
 

Last edited by Tolyn Ironhand; 02-27-10 at 09:13 PM. Reason: Created quote boxes for clarity
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Old 02-27-10, 09:21 PM
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With power off at the breaker remove the two house blacks from the switch and connect the house blacks together with a wire nut. Restore power. Does the light work? Or if you have a regular switch substitute it for the dimmer.
 
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Old 02-27-10, 09:23 PM
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Here some more questions :

Was the red wire in the wall box attached to the old switch?

I find it odd that there is the red wire in the wall box and not in the ceiling box. With that type of switch you removed it should have two switch legs. One for the fan and one for the light and both should be in the ceiling box. Look close to where the cable enters the ceiling box. Can you see any part of the red wire?

With the light attached, what happens if you just connect the two black wires in the wall box together with a wirenut?
 
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Old 02-27-10, 10:23 PM
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Was the red wire in the wall box attached to the old switch? Unfortunately, I didn't pay close attention when I took out the old switch so I don't know the answer.

I find it odd that there is the red wire in the wall box and not in the ceiling box. With that type of switch you removed it should have two switch legs. One for the fan and one for the light and both should be in the ceiling box. Look close to where the cable enters the ceiling box. Can you see any part of the red wire? There is clearly no red wire coming out of the ceiling; it's 14/2 G. But, the ground wire coming out of the ceiling and the ground wire of the 14/3 in the wall were both heavily taped and I wonder if one or both was acting as a hot.

With the light attached, what happens if you just connect the two black wires in the wall box together with a wirenut? I haven't had a chance to do that yet, but will report back as soon as I do. However, before your's and Ray2047's reply I did try capping the black from the 14/3 in the wall and connecting the red from that same cable to the dimmer. The dimmer worked perfectly. Then we discovered the power had been cut to the adjoining room.

Now, I'm wondering if the following makes sense: Leave the 14/3 red connected to the dimmer. Connect the 14/2 and 14/3 blacks together. Pigtail from the connected blacks to the black on the dimmer. Any thoughts?
 
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Old 02-28-10, 03:13 PM
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I did try capping the black from the 14/3 in the wall and connecting the red from that same cable to the dimmer. The dimmer worked perfectly. Then we discovered the power had been cut to the adjoining room.

Now, I'm wondering if the following makes sense: Leave the 14/3 red connected to the dimmer. Connect the 14/2 and 14/3 blacks together. Pigtail from the connected blacks to the black on the dimmer. Any thoughts?
Yes, that makes sense, Try it.

My guess is at one time you had a switched receptacle but no ceiling fixture. At some point the ceiling fixture was added. The cable at the ceiling was run to the box with the switched receptacle not the switch box. The red of the three conductor provided switched power to the receptacle and now provides power to the ceiling fixture.The black of the 3-conductor provides constant power for other receptacles. The two conductor at the switch is power in not a cable to the ceiling fixture.
 
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Old 02-28-10, 03:44 PM
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ya you could peer into the outlet boxes in the room with just the plate off with a flashlight and see if you see lots of wires, red wires and wire-nuts You don't need to mess with any wire but it would be interesting to know if that was the case
 
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Old 02-28-10, 08:50 PM
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Ray2047,

You are correct. I forgot that it was a switched receptacle years ago before we had the ceiling fan installed. And, now that I pigtailed the blacks together and connected them and the red to the dimmer everything works.

Thank you to everyone for their help. This is a great forum!
 
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Old 02-28-10, 09:00 PM
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Glad you got it. Thanks for letting us know.
 
 

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