Installing dimmers - I messed up. I apologize in advance.

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Old 07-02-17, 04:02 PM
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Installing dimmers - I messed up. I apologize in advance.

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My husband is ready to strangle me because he has been without his fan for two weeks while I've tried my best to figure this out on my own. You are my last hope before I cave and $$$ on installing a two dimmers.

I forgot Rule #1 and that is to always take a picture of what I was taking apart.

Repairing my GE refrigerator was easier than this. Laying Travertine tile is easier than this. I've replaced sockets and dimmers before but I never pulled out two (well 3) at the same time and that was the mistake.

One was a GE rotary dimmer (2 red 1 black, 1 ground that was not used) and one was a Leviton rotary dimmer (2 black and 1 ground that was used). I want (hope) to replace them with a Leviton Decora TTI06-1 (install sheet web page) dimmer.

The other (third) dimmer not mentioned is a Lutron Fan dimmer switch on the far left. We'll just leave that for later if we can. That's the one that started this whole mess. It might be more relevant than I know however. I bought a single pole fan dimmer switch instead of the multi pole fan dimmer switch by mistake. I had no idea that I had a fan control on the other wall, since as long as we've lived in this house I've never actually flipped that switch on/off. I figured why not just use the switch as a single pole? I know.

Anyway. Getting back to installing the other two dimmers. The wires don't match up. I'm pretty sure the one on the far right was grounded to the light color wire that I took out. But that doesn't make any sense to the instructions to the one I'm installing.

I checked and all three wires are hot on each. Is it supposed to be that way?

And I didn't realize it until this weekend and my husband's grandson is visiting and I'm explaining this to him and he said "so if the fan turns on and off over there on that other switch on that wall, wouldn't these lights turn on and off on that wall too?" Uh. (>_<) I have no idea since it's all unhooked now but he's probably right.

Each dimmer controls 3 overhead recessed light fixtures.

Is there any hope for me or do you just tell me to "stop here and call an electrician"?
 

Last edited by PJmax; 07-02-17 at 06:07 PM. Reason: added pic labels
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Old 07-02-17, 05:59 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Takes a lot of time to read long posts..... so keep them right on point. Your first post was good. I added labels and more color to your picture.

The bare copper colored and green wires are ground. They are important and need to be connected but not discussed or counted.

I think I see a green attached to black. That is definitely not correct. Only greens and bare wires are connected together.

We need a wider picture to see all devices and connections.

Please confirm....
- cable 1 is three wire w/grd..... red, black and white.
- cables 2-6 are two wire w/grd.... black and white.
- as far as you know... is everything in that box on one circuit.
- order of switches in box.
 
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Old 07-03-17, 01:31 PM
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- cable 1 is three wire w/grd..... red, black and white.
- cables 2-6 are two wire w/grd.... black and white.
- as far as you know... is everything in that box on one circuit.
- order of switches in box.
Cable 1a is Black, White, White, Grd PT
Cable 1b is Red, Black, Grd PT

Cable 2 is White, Black, Grd PT

Cable 3 is Black PT, White PT, Grd PT

Cable 4 is Black PT, White PT, Grd PT

Cable 6 is Black, White, Grd PT

Everything IS on one circuit.

https://goo.gl/photos/GUFmhv7gADeFtAfEA


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Last edited by ms_understood; 07-03-17 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 07-03-17, 02:26 PM
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Not sure what PT stands for.
I'm going to post what I can see.

Cable 1A is white and black and goes to the first switch only.
Cable 1B is white, black and red. Looks like white is not used.... please confirm.
Cable 2 looks like travelers for a 3way switch.
Cable 3 is feed in
Cable 4 is feed out
Did you change any of the wiring to the two large red wire nuts ?

This is very confusing. I NEED exact details.
Switch 1 was/is a fan speed control with a switch across the room ?
What was switch 2 ?
What was switch 3 ?
choices:
GE Dimmer is 3 way dimmer.
Lutron is a single location dimmer
 

Last edited by PJmax; 07-03-17 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 07-03-17, 10:42 PM
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Not sure what PT stands for.
I'm going to post what I can see.

Cable 1A is white and black and goes to the first switch only.
Cable 1B is white, black and red. Looks like white is not used.... please confirm.
Cable 2 looks like travelers for a 3way switch.
Cable 3 is feed in
Cable 4 is feed out
Did you change any of the wiring to the two large red wire nuts ?

This is very confusing. I NEED exact details.
Switch 1 was/is a fan speed control with a switch across the room ?
What was switch 2 ?
What was switch 3 ?
choices:
GE Dimmer is 3 way dimmer.
Lutron is a single location dimmer
Crazy isn't it? It's why I've been banging my head against the wall for two weeks trying to figure it out.

Switch 1 was a normal light switch for the fan before I removed it. On/Off. It used 1 white and 2 black. 1 black & white from 1a and 1 black from 1b. No red was used as that is for the light kit and my fan does does not have a light.

So Switch 1 did have a Fan Control across the room.

PT = Pigtail

I only unhooked! I didn't change any wiring on the two large red wire nuts!

Switch 2 - Lutron It used the Black & White from Switch 2 plus the Black from Switch 3 & 4 PT

Switch 3 - GE It used the Black & White from Switch 6 plus the Black from Switch 3 & 4 PT
I swear the white was connected to a green ground wire on my GE though.
That was the only Green Ground wire used in the whole box and that's why it caught my eye.

I didn't have these named or numbered right in my picture so I attempted to correct it.

1)Fan/Dimmer________2) Lutron_______3) GE

The more I look at my wall plate across the room, I'm pretty sure that the lights turned on/off over there also and I just never knew that. I have a 4 gang box over there and 1 goes to the security light outside, 1 goes to the fan/dimmer light, and that leaves 2 for the recessed lighting which is now unhooked so I can't test it. That accounts for all 4 switches which would make sense. Honestly, we've just never used them except for the security light.
 

Last edited by ms_understood; 07-03-17 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 07-07-17, 08:42 PM
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Anyone?

{{shaking magic 8 ball}}

So should I either buy another fan switch from Amazon and pay for the "expert installation" or find someone on Craigslist?

I thought that this would be a simple question answered (well somewhat) once I posted the pictures.

The only problem I ran into was that

1)
there was no obvious ground other than the last or rather first switch connection used in the gang box.

2)
that this was an end run or first run box.

3) For some reason, 1 switch looked like it was wired as a single pole while all the others were wired as 3 way. And that just made no sense to me. It should be either or but I guess it could be done that way.

4) I can't get anyone to address the ground in one box and not the others. Every time I bring it up it just gets ignored. I know the Rotary switch I took out had a green ground wire on it and it was used. That was the only one and there is / was no bare copper wire to connect it to.

I can see that if you do not want to assume liability for this then that's fine. Just say so. I won't get mad or throw a hissy fit.

Oh, I went back and look to see when the house was built and it was 1995 just in case that was relevant. I see they changed codes for the wiring and things. Most of the wall sockets I have changed were done in a way that clued me in that it was something that I needed to pay attention to. When the tab was broken off, they stabbed the back of the socket instead of wrapping the screw. The wall sockets were all beige and I changed them to white.

It is totally my fault for not taking a picture of what I took out or changing them one by one instead. I have replaced these dimmers but with the same kind of rotary dimmers since we've been here. I don't know what I was thinking when I took them all out at the same time.

So I don't know terminology. I don't know wiring except the basics. My father bless his heart was a Master Electrician and I wish he had lived longer to teach me everything he knew. My husband will not touch anything electrical which is strange because his father was a builder and he grew up helping him. I just Google everything if I want to learn something.

THIS has me stumped. I don't know the correct terms to Google I guess. 3 way doesn't cut it. I think I learned that there is 14 different ways of wiring something like this for 14 different Electricians. And that's what we have here. They all talk about the diagrams and just "go back to the basics" but you have to figure out what is happening in front of you and tracing the wires.

Sorry. Didn't mean to go off on a long winded post. Just wanted to absolve anyone that didn't feel up to helping me.
 
  #7  
Old 07-07-17, 10:20 PM
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Sometimes it is unrealistic to try to fix a problem remotely. On site a pro would go through a long lists of tests each determining the next test. Trying to do that by posts is very time consuming. I'd suggest you call an electrician.
 
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Old 07-07-17, 11:16 PM
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wow. did this post just get redacted or what? half of it just vanished.

Thanks. I appreciate that. That's really...professional of you.
 
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Old 07-07-17, 11:30 PM
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What vanished? As to your question about grounds. Grounds are not required for any circuit to work. They are only there to increase safety. All switches used on common 120 volt circuits are single pole including 3-ways. (Only 4-ways are 2-pole.)

Try summing up your questions into one or two short paragraphs and I'll revisit them.
 
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Old 07-11-17, 03:01 PM
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Sorry... this post escaped me. I don't see anything deleted though.
I will look it over again tonight if you are still working on it.
 
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