Help figuring out electrical connection to under cabinet lighting


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Old 07-31-17, 11:22 AM
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Question Help figuring out electrical connection to under cabinet lighting

Hello DIY'ers,

So the house I purchased has halogen under cabinet lighting on a dimmer switch, but they have not worked properly since we moved in. The lights would turn on and after some short time they would start dimming off/on. I peeked on top of our kitchen and found the dimmer transformer to be melted onto the top of the cabinet, obviously something is wrong with the the way it was/is connected.

I am attaching a diagram of what's going on, hopefully I will be able to explain it.

On the bottom right there are two switches (sw1 & sw2). I have never known what SW2 does, SW1 controlled the under cabinet lights, I was to power on and dimm until it started to dimm off/on.
Now on the top of the kitchen cabinets there are two NMB cables, one that is ALWAYS HOT unless I turn it off at the breaker switch. The other NMB reads zero on my multimeter. I purchsed a new 60w MAX 120v to 11.7 dimmer. If I connect the dimmer directly to the always hot and turn on the breaker the lights come on and stay on, so I know my lights work. Great.
Now I just need a way to control them from the light switch SW1.
The original connections had the 3 HOT cables (2 from the NMB and the one from the melted dimmer transformer). The two whites from the NMB were connected together...and the neutral from the melted dimmer transformer was not connected?!?!? I am no electrician but I don't think that's how you connect this together and caused that dimmer to melt. Now I am trying to make it work but I just dont see a way of getting SW1 to control the lights on/off and I don't want to connect it how it used to be....Unless that's correct and the dimmer was just old (yet it doesn't explain the melting).


How can I go about this spaghetti mess?
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Old 07-31-17, 11:43 AM
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You have a switch loop setup there. Technically the white wire to the switch should remarked another color like red, blue or black as it is not a neutral.

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Old 07-31-17, 12:42 PM
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Thumbs up

A switched loop...time to read up more on that!

So the white neutral I should tag it with a piece of black electrical tape on both above the cabinet and at the switch.

I am pretty sure that reading up would clear up this question, but if I have both cables on the NMB that was reading zero as HOT, and both cables to the switch are now HOT, wouldn't flicking the switch on/off always result on HOT thus never turning off the lights?

Either way, if this works (and I am sure it will) that's all I'll need to know for now)

thanks again and i'll report my results hopefully later this evening.
 
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Old 07-31-17, 12:52 PM
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You need to use an actual voltage tester or meter. Not a non contact tester pen.
A non contact pen will show power on both wires since they are next to each other.

With a switch loop..... you are sending power down to the switch on white and it is returning switched on black.

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Old 08-03-17, 04:29 PM
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Ok so I connected as you showed me but when I turn on the dimmer the lights immediately dim down (while dim setting at high) and they flicker at a very low light. If I slide the dimmer to the max again the light will try to brighten up but dim again. The dimmer is for various bulb types, including halogen.

Again, I know the transformer works because if I connect directly to the hot the halogens go immediately bright and stay on.

What might be causing this weird lighting?!?
 
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Old 08-03-17, 04:33 PM
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Also the dimmer connections are black, red, red white and ground.

The black to the black and the red to the white. I'm not using the red white.

Could my connections with the red cables be wrong?
 
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Old 08-03-17, 08:59 PM
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Can you post the model for that dimmer. There is no set wiring color method.

You posted a link for an electronic power supply. Those require a dimmer that is specific for LED's and CFL's.

A standard incandescent type dimmer won't work properly.
 
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Old 08-04-17, 10:30 AM
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here's the dimmer I am using, it says for halogen thus why I got it.
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Old 08-08-17, 06:02 AM
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Pjmax, is the dimmer I am using good for the application?

thanks!
 
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Old 08-08-17, 10:12 AM
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You do have the dimmer wired properly. The red/white is not used.
That dimmer is also shown to be compatible with your application.

Lutron/TechnicalDocumentLibrary/369-334A.pdf

I cannot explain why they don't work properly together. When I run into this problem I try a different model dimmer.
 
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Old 08-08-17, 10:50 AM
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ok, I'll look into another model dimmer.
Thanks!
 
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Old 08-08-17, 03:44 PM
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Lutron Maestro C*L is the dimmer I use and have the best luck with.

Lutron/Products/MaestroDimmerSwitch/Overview.aspx
 
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Old 08-09-17, 09:09 PM
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*sigh*
Ok I give up on this, it seems so simple and it doesn't work and it's just so frustrating.

I purchased the recommended dimmer but when powered on the green lights started moving quickly from middle to low with the lights going from mid power to off. It was stuck on a loop. Followed the instructions for halogen lights but I could only go as bright as halfway before lights turning off. I would have to dim all the way down before I could increase the light... Again only to mid way.


Then during my troubleshooting I connected the cables from the halogen straight to the 120v positive, pretty spark and I'm assuming I just blew up all the halogen puck lights because I zapped them with 120 when the max is 20 :/

So thanks so much for your help, still learned something new like what a switch loop is and how it works.

I'll eventually have to call an electrician if I want those lights to work.
 
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Old 08-10-17, 08:27 AM
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Question

BUT!

there's always a but...

What if I change my halogen T3 G4 bulb for T3 G4 LED replacements? I watched some videos online which show that the process is just replacing the T3 G4 halogen with LEDs in the same puck.

So with that I headed to Amazon for some searching and I found these:
https://www.amazon.com/Classic-Home-...n%3A9692458011

Would these work with the Maestro CL dimmer and current transformer? I don't see why not but I should ask the pro's

So an LED upgrade might be where this task leads me to.

And in regards to my halogen bulbs, I took them out of the puck and all the filaments are busted :/ oooops.

and if this project fails then I'll really have to invest in that electrician visit
 
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Old 08-15-17, 10:55 AM
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Question

Ok, I decided to give the LED replacement idea a shot....

Replaced all 6 pucklights with these https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01L8BVU6W...ing=UTF8&psc=1

Powered on the Maestro CL dimmer and they powered on but with a noticeable flicker at all levels. Followed the instructions specific to LEDs but no go.

So I emailed Lutron to see if they could help. For my application I need an ELV dimmer (Electronic Low Voltage) dimmer since I am using an electronic transformer.

Per support I was recommended a DVRP-253P or the MRF2-6ELV-120. The MRF2 is an expensive wireless one which I am not using. So now I am looking for the DVRP-253P or any similar ELV dimmer. I am waiting on Lutron support to confirm if other Lutron ELV dimmers models are OK to use as well.

So this is my last test with these LED's, I am thinking that if I had an ELV dimmer with the Halogen that they would have worked properly from the beginning.

Will update this thread when I get a hold of an install the ELV.
 
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Old 08-15-17, 03:11 PM
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Sounds like a plan. Honestly now that LEDs are main stream I wouldn't even consider halogens.
 
 

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