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Forum topic by hairy posted 192 days ago 668 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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hairy

2006 posts in 2158 days


192 days ago

I want to remove the dimmer switch for my dining room lights and replace it with an ON/OFF toggle switch. There are six 65watt can lights in the ceiling. There is only 1 conduit to the box. There is also an ON/OFF toggle switch on another wall that will control these same lights.

Here’s a crappy diagram that I drew.

The dots in the center is the wiring connection. If I remove the switch from the drawing I just have the wires at the top. I think I should connect white to bare, and red to one side of the new switch and black to the other. I’m not sure where that idea came from, but it is stuck in my head.

What is the correct way to do this? THANKS!!!!!

-- the last of Barret's Privateers...


20 replies so far

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firefighterontheside

3769 posts in 483 days


#1 posted 192 days ago

That sounds like a 3 way switch, but I’ve never heard of a dimmer for a 3 way. If it’s a 3 way, you’ll need a 3 way switch. A 3 way switch has 3 connections, one for the power and 2 for the travelers. I can’t identify what’s what from the picture.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

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hairy

2006 posts in 2158 days


#2 posted 192 days ago

Maybe I need a certain type of switch?

oops! didn’t see your post

-- the last of Barret's Privateers...

View hairy's profile

hairy

2006 posts in 2158 days


#3 posted 192 days ago

The drawing is an attempt to clarify the picture.

-- the last of Barret's Privateers...

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MarcusM

36 posts in 1607 days


#4 posted 192 days ago

Hairy, that’s a 3-way dimmer, and the other toggle switch will be a 3-way switch as well…so you’ll have to get a 3-way switch to replace that dimmer. You’ll have to determine which of the white, black or red wire is the common (yank the other switch and look at how it’s wired; the one that is connected on the side of the switch with the single contact/screw should be the common, so just hook that wire, whatever its color to the single contact side of the new switch. The rest will hook up the same way as on the dimmer. The white wire is not a neutral in this case, it’s part of the 3-way circuit and cannot run to ground. If the new 3-way switch has a ground terminal (some do some don’t) connect the bare wire to it. HTH.

Mark

-- Tilbilly Mark

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firefighterontheside

3769 posts in 483 days


#5 posted 192 days ago

I’m no electrician. I’ve done a lot of wiring, but 3 ways baffle me. There are a few different ways they can be wired depending where the light is in line. Hopefully someone will be along to say definitively what you’ve got going on. In the meantime I would do some google searches on 3 way circuits. There are some good pictures out there that may help. I don’t want to tell you anymore, because like I said, 3 ways baffle me.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

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firefighterontheside

3769 posts in 483 days


#6 posted 192 days ago

Good answer Mark. It was that white wire that I was worried about. Figured it wasn’t neutral.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

2407 posts in 2368 days


#7 posted 192 days ago

Mark is right – the red is usually the runner.

Test the switch before you screw it back into the wall.

-- "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves." Edison

View crank49's profile

crank49

3370 posts in 1597 days


#8 posted 192 days ago

Hope this image is readable.
Can’t see it on my PC. Some kind of network security thing.

At any rate, this is how a 3-way is supposed to be wired.
Power from the breaker panel comes in on the left side of the diagram.
Switched power going to the light(s) goes out the right side of my diagram.
Power only flows through the solid lines. The light is off as drawn.
Flip either switch and you will have a solid path for the power to flow.

In the past, some electricians did everything with black and white wires only. No red.
They might have used a white wire instead of the red for the interconnect between the switches.
In some cases I have even seen the bare ground wire used as the neutral. Not to code, but it exists.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View hairy's profile

hairy

2006 posts in 2158 days


#9 posted 192 days ago

Thanks for the pictures, but I don’t think they apply here. They both show a conduit going in and another going out of the switchbox. Mine has only one conduit with 4 wires..
Here’s a better pic of the wires.

Checking with a tester, the black/white connection is always hot. The black/red and the red/red turn on and off with the switch. I wrapped my hand around the connection being tested to prevent a reading from the other wires.

Here’s the 3 way switch I want to use, and my tester.

I’m thinking white to the black(common) terminal, red to 1 of and black to the other brass screws, bare to the green screw for ground.

I think I read somewhere if using white for hot that you put a piece of tape on it to signify hot. This is not. Maybe it’s in the other switchbox.

I’m changing the switch because the lights flicker like there’s arcing in the switch.

See all the fun you miss when you’re not a cheapo like me?

-- the last of Barret's Privateers...

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hairy

2006 posts in 2158 days


#10 posted 191 days ago

If you are keeping score at home, this worked. Thanks!

-- the last of Barret's Privateers...

View exelectrician's profile

exelectrician

1522 posts in 1054 days


#11 posted 191 days ago

Hairy what you are doing is “HAIRY”

You may have destroyed the switch you have by creating a dead short.

You may need to go buy a new 3 way switch.

Connect the Black wire that is always Hot to the screw that is painted Black.

Connect the Red wire (that is alternately hot when you flip the other switch) to one of the gold screws.

Connect the White wire (that is alternately hot when you flip the other switch) to the only gold screw left to use.

Connect the bare copper wire to the Green painted screw. (I would cut off the green wire on the dimmer which is connected to the short bare wire and connect the green wire to the green screw.)

When you finally get this done let us know if you are still alive and kicking!

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Belg1960's profile

Belg1960

790 posts in 1691 days


#12 posted 191 days ago

The white in this case goes on the black screw. the other two wires can go on either of the brass colored screws and the bare wire goes to the green screw. Remember to wrap your wire in a clockwise hook around the screws. If your using the one you show in the picture you can just cut them to a straight end and slip them between the two metal plates and tigthen the screws. Remember this is going from the info you have provided.

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

3769 posts in 483 days


#13 posted 191 days ago

From what you said you did and your description of what was hot all of the time, I think you did the right thing.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View hairy's profile

hairy

2006 posts in 2158 days


#14 posted 191 days ago

Thanks!
Yes, Belg1960, that is the way I did it, and it works. No smoke, no sparks and I don’t have to turn on the lights with a stick.

-- the last of Barret's Privateers...

View Rick's profile

Rick

6454 posts in 1659 days


#15 posted 191 days ago

“exelctrician” nailed it pretty good.

Not trying to be a Smart Ass BUT! You’re to cheap to hire an electrician? Do you have Homeowners Insurance?

I’d keep a Close Eye on this and any other electrical work that you do.

IF! There is a Fire and they trace it back to an Electrical Problem that WASN’T done by a Qualified Electrician.

I do believe You Have a Major Problem. The Insurance Company will send you a nice letter saying …”Sorry. But. You’re NOT Covered. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

-- COMMON SENSE Is Like Deodorant. The People Who need It Most, Never Use It.

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