2 switches control recessed lights. Removed 1. Now lights don't work!

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  #1  
Old 08-14-15, 04:01 PM
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2 switches control recessed lights. Removed 1. Now lights don't work!

I have a room in the basement dedicated to a rock wall project. It is simply a traversing wall with an overhanging portion. I have minimal experience with light switches. I have replaced many sockets and understand the importance of keeping breakers off and double-checking for safety.

Problem Background:
I have two light switches in the room. I removed one switch and left the box with the wires in it. I snipped the colored wires down to the sheath and made sure nothing was touching when they were all pushed back in.

Problem:
The lights in the room no longer work when the remaining light switch is set to ON. I assume the wires from the switch I removed were in a circuit with the other light switch that I'm keeping. I did not fiddle around with the light switch that I want to keep, but I did take the plate off to take pictures. I need to know how to properly re-establish the circuit and which wires, if any, to cap. My research has helped, but all of the pictures are different than what I have in my household.

Pictures of both light switches:

Box of REMOVED switch -
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxI...ew?usp=sharing
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxI...ew?usp=sharing

Switch TO KEEP (Left-most one of the three) -
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxI...ew?usp=sharing
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxI...ew?usp=sharing

DIAGRAM:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxI...ew?usp=sharing

The white wires are all bundled and capped.

QUESTIONS:
1) Do I need to connect the BLACK and RED wires feeding in from the right-side of the box and cap them? Likewise, do I need to connect the two BLACK WIRES feeding in from the left side of the box?

2) Does the ground need to be attached to anything? I've read that it should be fine as long as it isn't touching anything other than plastic. Some places I've read that it should be touching some metal.

Thank you very much.
 
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  #2  
Old 08-14-15, 04:52 PM
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The remaining switch was probably fed by the no longer wanted switch. The wires in that box have to be connected in such a way to recreate that feed again. BTW, why did you remove the switch, in the first place?
 
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Old 08-14-15, 04:56 PM
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I snipped the colored wires down to the sheath and made sure nothing was touching when they were all pushed back in.


What is it you are ultimately trying to do there ??? I'm very confused.
I see a single gang box there and a three gang box there.
 
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Old 08-14-15, 05:05 PM
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That box is likely going to have to stay unless you plan on opening the walls. You have a set of 3 ways there, plus the hot and neutral continue someplace else.
 
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Old 08-14-15, 05:10 PM
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Looking at the wiring you posted...... trying connecting all three black wires in the single gang box. Cap off the red wire.
 
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Old 08-14-15, 05:30 PM
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I am putting plywood on each wall for a climbing room. I don't need the single switch since the other three gang is on a portion of the wall with no plywood. I want to KEEP the single switch BOX and WIRES for when I decide to take the walls down one day.

I got a response from someone saying, "Wire nut the red wire and one of the black wires together in order to make the switch work again." Does this sound reasonable?

I drew a floor plan as well, in case that would make a difference in which wires to use:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxI...ew?usp=sharing
 

Last edited by tjtiz66; 08-14-15 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 08-14-15, 05:55 PM
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You can't guess at what wires go where. First locate the feed wire from the breaker box. Mark it with tape or something. Then, one by one connect it to the other black & red wires to see where it takes the juice.
 
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Old 08-14-15, 06:17 PM
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I wouldn't begin to know how to follow the correct wire from the circuit breaker. There's no process of elimination method or something similar that I can use?
 
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Old 08-14-15, 06:31 PM
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What I described, is the process of elimination. Chances are that there is only one hot wire in the single gang box that housed the removed switch. That hot lead is the wire that comes from the breaker. The red wire & the other black wires transferred the juice to the remaining switch & some lights. Connecting the hot lead, to the other wires, one by one will tell you what goes where. That's about as simple as it gets. If it's still too complicated, get a friend to help you.
 
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Old 08-14-15, 06:37 PM
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Remember though you can not use a non contact tester to determine which lead is hot. You must use a multimeter, preferably analog (or a neon tester or a solenoid tester). Using the multimeter measure each wire to ground.
 
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Old 08-14-15, 06:56 PM
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In that box you have 2) two wire cables and 1) three wire cable.
Since all the whites are tied together that tells me that one cable is power in.....one cable is power out and the three wire is the switch.

Connect all three black wires together. Cap the red wire.

If the remaining three wire switch doesn't work as UP is on..... then you need to reverse the black and red wire in the three wire cable. In that case you would have two blacks and a red connected together and one black wire capped off.
 
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Old 08-14-15, 07:32 PM
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Thank you for your replies. I will try capping the three black to start.

Can I just use a volt sensor, Pulpo? I don't know how to properly use a multimeter
 
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Old 08-14-15, 08:40 PM
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Can I just use a volt sensor,
As I stated before, no. They are not accurate enough. They often give false readings. Once was trying to help a member and we were both getting frustrated after several posts when he finally admitted he was using a non contact tester. The cable he kept saying was hot in fact wasn't. An $8-$15 analog multimeter is all you need. Do not get a digital. They can give incorrect readings some times unless you get very expensive ones ($200+).

My previous post:
Remember though you can not use a non contact tester to determine which lead is hot. You must use a multimeter, preferably analog (or a neon tester or a solenoid tester). Using the multimeter measure each wire to ground.
 
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Old 08-15-15, 05:02 AM
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... I snipped the colored wires down to the sheath and made sure nothing was touching when they were all pushed back in. ...
Not quite on topic but ... It's usually a bad idea to snip off wires.

The exception would be very old wires that cannot be re-used and meet code, or the extreme bare end after it suffered a bad nick in which case you snip through the nick.

Tape the wire end or screw on a small wire nut and curl up the wire in the box.
 
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