Wiring - Replacing old fan/light combo (on dimmer) with single pendant light

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Old 01-27-12, 08:53 AM
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Wiring - Replacing old fan/light combo (on dimmer) with single pendant light

Hello lighting gurus,

First let me say I'm new to this forum and don't know the culture so if I'm not quite on it I apologize in advance!

I'm Anne and I'm trying to replace a fan/light combo with a single pendant light. The wiring and house is from 1977 if that makes a difference. I removed the fan/light combo and in the ceiling there were 4 wires - 1 each of red, white, black and copper ground. One dimmer switch controls the wires - for the old light/fan combo, you would control the light from the dimmer switch and pull the little cord on the fan to turn the fan on.

The new pendant light instructions said to connect black with black, white with white, and ground with ground. I did this, but had the red left over in the ceiling so I capped it. When I flipped the breaker back on, the light was permanently on - it didn't dim and the dimmer switch couldn't turn it off or on - it just stayed on.

So, I tried leaving the white/white ground/ground combo, but instead connected the light fixture black wire with the ceiling red wire and capped the ceiling black wire. When we turned the breaker back on for this scenario, the light was on and slightly flickered, but the dimmer function didn't work. The dimmer switch could turn it off and on, but it didn't dim, just flickered a bit.

I'm nervous to try other wiring combos without getting advice because I don't want to burn the house down.

Also, this is my first wiring project, so if you use electrician jargon I will do my best to understand and google what you're talking about, but if you could try to explain it like you would to a 4th grader, I'd appreciate it!

Any assistance anyone could provide would be greatly appreciated and if you need me to somehow provide more information I'm happy to do whatever I can. Thanks in advance for your help!

Best,

Anne
 
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Old 01-27-12, 09:10 AM
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First up replace the dimmer with a standard light switch and leave the red connected to light black.If it works you need a new dimmer. If it doesn't please post the wiring in the switch box.

Above assumes you are using incandescent bulbs. If CFL they may be your problem.
 
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Old 01-27-12, 09:25 AM
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Ray - you are right!

It was the BULBS - the fixture ended up being wired just fine with fixture black to ceiling red; white to white and ground to ground with ceiling black capped off, but I was using those new energy-efficient bulbs that apparently don't work with normal (older) dimmers. My neighbor just checked it out and said we'd have to use regular incandescent light bulbs OR upgrade the dimmer. When I switched out the new energy efficient bulbs with the old incandescent bulbs, it worked perfectly.

I'm just glad to know I wasn't a total moron and had figured out the wiring, and I learned something, because I had NO IDEA that light bulbs would make a difference!

Thanks so much for your quick help!

Best,

Anne
 
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Old 01-27-12, 10:20 AM
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Thanks for letting us know the outcome. It isn't just a special dimmer you need but also special bulbs marked for dimming and even then they don't work very well from what I have read.
 
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