Back porch light controls kitchen lights?


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Old 02-25-24, 11:21 AM
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Back porch light controls kitchen lights?

When the back porch incandescent light bulb went out, it killed kitchen lights. They use the same 2 gang type light switch, by the back door. I installed an LED light bulb but no joy, didn't light up. Next, installed a CFL bulb type but it would only barely light up. I found an incandescent bulb and everything worked. Now that bulb has gone out again and kitchen lights are dead. The light switch is a touch wifi glass type. When kitchen lights are working there's a tiny WiFi led light that blinks slowly through out. Meaning there's current in the switch box. At the moment with the light bulb being out, that LED light is not blinking, I figure there must not be current in the switch box (I will make a visit there tomorrow and test for presence of current in there before doing anything else.) My rudimentary diy knowledge makes me think the wiring has a weird setup, that seems to need only an incandescent bulb type for current to flow to kitchen lights. Seems like wiring is from the breaker to the porch light first, then on to the kitchen. It doesn't make sense to me since when the porch light bulb is ok, porch light and kitchen lights work independently and normal, as they should. With the incandescent bulbs being phased out I need to find a fix. Where would you start to untangle this mess?
 
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Old 02-25-24, 12:41 PM
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Let's start with a couple of terms. There is "current", which is the flow of electrons when some type of load is on a circuit. And there is "voltage" which is having power available at a location. You are looking for voltage, not current.

When kitchen lights are working there's a tiny WiFi led light that blinks slowly through out
Where is this LED? Do you have a smart switch?

Depending on how this is wired you could have a few things going on. The best way to troubleshoot this is to open up the switch box and light fixture boxes and inspect what you have for wires. If you can post pictures showing the wires that would be the most helpful. Also, if you have a volt meter to do some basic testing that would also be very helpful.

With the meter set to 120 volts AC or higher, you want to find where your power comes in. You also when to measure voltage between the hot and neutral wires. I suspect you have an open neutral someplace and the circuit is back-feeding through one of the light fixtures which is why it stopped working when the other quit working.
 
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Old 02-25-24, 10:12 PM
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If one bulb goes out and it causes another to go out... it indicates the bulbs are in series.
It could also mean your are missing a neutral in that mix.
I'll bet you messed up the wiring at the wifi switch box.
 
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Old 02-25-24, 11:56 PM
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I made a quick unintended stop over there today (I didn't have voltage testers...) But I had a box of LED bulbs in the truck, and popped one in. Kitchen lights started working ok. The porch LED bulb stayed half way on with light switch off. If you turn on light switch it would light up to full light.

Where is this LED? Do you have a smart switch?
Yes, glass touch function with a tiny Wifi LED indicator. And thanx for those great tips.

 
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Old 03-19-24, 10:15 AM
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Here are pics inside the box. The Wi-Fi switch does not have a neutral. Wire ports are marked L, L1, L3, while facing it, left to right. The plain L is power in, L2 is porch light, L3 is kitchen lights. When all lights are off L2 and L3 have no power. When each is turned on each behaves correctly independent of each other. When I swap the porch light incandescent bulb for a CFL or LED they have a slight glow when lights are off. When turned on the LED lights up, the cfl flickers at a higher glow but doesn't light up normally. Only the incandescent bulb works normally. All neutral wires are connected together inside the box. What else can I change here?







 

Last edited by PJmax; 03-19-24 at 10:39 AM. Reason: added enhanced pic of box
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Old 03-19-24, 10:35 AM
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I see 3) two wire cables in that box..... is that correct ?
I see three white wires connected together and wire nutted.... correct ?
That would leave one black wire as hot and two black wires going to the lights.
Why do I see a black splice ?
 
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Old 03-19-24, 01:41 PM
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More pics. There's was a light above the sink but we did away with it due to old style short cabinets. That wire was not removed but ends were cut off and plugged??? May be that's what you are seeing there.



 
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Old 03-19-24, 05:41 PM
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It looks like 4 white wires in a splice.
It look like two black wires are connected with a possible tail.
This would probably be hot/L.
The other two black wires go to the lights.
I don't see anything cut off in there.

It's tough to see old wiring.
 
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