wiring a dimmer switch to a light

bggas400November 29, 2009

Hi,

I bought a new dimmer switch for our dining room for the chandelier. We also had to run a new wire so had to remove the chandelier. since a diagram was not made when the light was disconnected we are having issues reconnecting.

The light box has the following wires coming in.

White and black hot wire direct from the breaker box.

White and black from an outlet

White and black from the dimmer switch.

My question is how do we hook these up correctly?

Thanks for any help.

Barry

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concretehole

I would check the mfg of the dimmer to see if they have an instruction sheet like Levitron. see

Here is a link that might be useful: Levitron Dimmer

    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 9:09PM
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hendricus

Black from dimmer switch to black of light.

White from dimmer switch to be remarked with a black marker and connected to source and outlet black.

White source, light and outlet to be connected together.

All ground wires to be connected together.

Remember that a switch only cuts the black (power) line when off and reconnects that line when on.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 9:57PM
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bggas400

Thanks for trhe reply Hendricus.

So I understand the connections now,however this is an old Chandelier and the wires are not white nor black but in fact the same and pretty much look like speaker wire. Maybe it is time for a new one.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 3:56AM
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fix_it

Get an ohm meter. Connect one of the meter leads to one of the wires and touch the other lead to the shell of one of the light sockets. If you have continuity, then that is the "WHITE" wire. If not, try the lead on the other wire. The "WHITE" wire is the one connected to the shell of the light socket. The "BLACK" wire is the one connected to the prong in the bottom of the socket.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 9:47AM
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bggas400

Hi,

This is not working properly.

I have a voltage tester and I have power when connecting the black source/white dimmer/black outlet to the connection of the white source/white outlet.
I have power when connecting the white source/white outlet to the black wire from the dimmer switch. When I turn the dimmer switch off, then there is no power to those connections. All seems to be working.

No power from the black source/white dimmer/black outlet to the black dimmer switch.

If I touch the wires to the source and the whites, the light comes on.

When I touch one of the wires from the light to the lone black wire from the switch and the 2 whites, I get nothing. I've done it in reverse also.
Makes no sense that the light would not work in this instance if I touch the same two connections with a voltage tester and I get power.

Please advise

Barry

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 2:12PM
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normel

Is the dimmer turned on and at full power when you test the light?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 3:31PM
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bgauth_comcast_net

Yes it is.
So when using the voltage tester and touching the black from the switch and the two whites, I get power. Touching both wires on the switch I get nothing until I touch the 2 wires from the light to the above named wires.

It seems strange and as though some wiring is backwards someplace in the house.

I am going to try connecting the black from the dimmer to the black outlet and black source.

Then connect the light wires to the white from dimmer and white from source and outlet.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 6:07PM
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hendricus

Have you hooked up the light or are you just using a tester?

From your previous post it sounds like everything is hooked up and working properly.

You will not get a reading touching the tester to the black from the switch and the white remarked black from the switch. They are the same wire. You need a power (black) and return (white/neutral) to operate the tester.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 10:04PM
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hendricus

I am going to try connecting the black from the dimmer to the black outlet and black source.

Then connect the light wires to the white from dimmer and white from source and outlet.

Good way to blow out the dimmer. There is no white wire from the dimmer, only black wires. You need two black wires for the dimmer, one going to and one coming from. Cables are not made with two black wires, that is why I said that the white wire has to be marked black, either with a marker or with tape.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 10:10PM
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bggas400

Well I'm at a loss here.
Yes I've tested with the light.
I have the white(marked black) from the dimmer switch connected to the 'black source and black outlet'.
The white from the source connected to the white from the outlet. The black from the dimmer switch is by itself.

Using the voltage tester I get power touching the black from dimmer and 'white outlet/white source'.

However when I hook the light to the same connections, I get nothing. I know the light works because if I touch the wires on the 'black source/black outlet' and the 'white source and white outlet' the lights come on.

By the way..,. I'm using the old dimmer switch now.

Teh dimmer switch works because when I turn it off, the power is off when touching the black from dimmer and 'white outlet/white source'.

So I guess it's time to call an electrician and draw a diagram next time.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 10:23AM
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joed

Disconnect the dimmer and wire nut the two wires together.
Maybe you have the cable identified wrong.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 11:18AM
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hendricus

The white from the source connected to the white from the outlet.

Is the white from the light connected here?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 1:06PM
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hexus

how many wires total does your new dimmer switch have? Reading through the above posts I'm confused...

does your new dimmer require a neutral? Some of the upper models and smarthome ones do. If so, it will not work with your wiring. Assuming I'm understanding this correctly and you have just a simple cold switch (switch loop).

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 6:10PM
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bggas400

Hello,

First off, thanks to all for advice and taking the time to help.

So it seems that the old dimmer switch went bad. After hooking up a regular switch, the light worked as normal.

I took the switch from the kitchen to test.
The kitchen switch was wired incorrectly in my opinion.
The Red and black wires going to the kitchen light switch were the power wires and the white wire was/is the ground.

I bought a new dimmer switch, both wires coming from the dimmer switch were black. Once installed, the chandelier worked fine.

Thanks again,
bgg

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 7:01PM
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hexus

"The Red and black wires going to the kitchen light switch were the power wires and the white wire was/is the ground. "

I doubt it, unless whoever wired the house REALLY didn't have a clue at all what they were doing. If that's really the case I would be checking everything..
Sounds more likely that it was a dead end three-way in which case two of the wires would be travelers and the other would be either power or switch leg to the light depending on how it was made up.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 7:21PM
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bruceko1

A friend of mine years ago was living across the state.
He called me one night and told me I should be proud of him because his wife wanted him to put a dimmer switch on the chandelier in the dining room that a joined his kitchen. he went to the hardware store, got the dimmer and installed it.
The only slight problem he ended up with was he now had a variable speed garbage disposal. We proceeded to trouble shoot the problem over the phone. It took about 2 hours to identify the wires and fix the problem.

For his 40th birthday I made him a bronze plated variable speed garbage disposal lamp.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 7:40PM
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