Bedroom light

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supperfly17
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Bedroom light

Post by supperfly17 » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:30 pm

Hi there quick question.

I am changing out a light in one of the bedrooms. The old light had two bulbs on it, while the new one only has 1 bulb.

When I try and replace it, the old light had two black wires, two white wires, and a ground, because it had 2 bulbs. Naturally in the ceiling, when I disconnected it all, I had one black wire hanging, one ground, and two white wires.

The new light only has one bulb, and only has one black, one white and one ground. When I connect it, can I connect the one white wire from the new light onto both the white wires coming out of the ceiling, or should I just connect it to one, and wire nut the other one?

I did already connect black to black and ground to ground.

Thanks again.

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Shannon
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Re: Bedroom light

Post by Shannon » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:38 pm

Yes hook all the loose whites together.
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supperfly17
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Re: Bedroom light

Post by supperfly17 » Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:30 pm

Perfect, thanks for the quick response.

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Re: Bedroom light

Post by supperfly17 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:44 am

Another question..

I am trying to install a dimmer on the same switch. Its an incandescent dimmer for 120V bulb, 1 bulb.
From the wall I get 1 ground, 1 black(hot) and white neutral wire, but the dimmer switch I purchased has 1 ground wire and 2 black wires. How do I know which black wire do I connect with the white wire into the wall and which black goes to the black wire in the wall? There is nowhere in the instructions where it mentions which black wire is which, and they are both exactly black no differences in them.

Thanks again.

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Aaron
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Re: Bedroom light

Post by Aaron » Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:12 pm

Do you remember how your previous switch--the one you are replacing--was connected?

Chances are very good that what you have in your switch box is a "switched loop". The power actually enters your light circuit at the ceiling box instead of the wall switch box. So a cable was run from the ceiling box to the switch box just for the purpose of switching the hot.

The way that works is both wires--white and black--in this box are hot when the switch is on. There is no neutral (always the white wire) in the box at all. So in this case, you would connect the white and black of this cable to both the black wires of your new dimmer switch.

The original installer should have wrapped the white wire with a piece of black electrical tape to indicate that the conductor is NOT a neutral. Please do this yourself if it wasn't done. You could also use a black marker if you don't have any tape handy.

supperfly17
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Re: Bedroom light

Post by supperfly17 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:12 pm

Thanks for the response. I think you misunderstood me.

The two black wires are located on the actual dimmer that I bought from home depot.

But in the wall I have a black, white and ground. I am just wondering which black wire do I use from the dimmer to connect it into the wall with the black and white wire that are exposed. Thanks again.

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Aaron
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Re: Bedroom light

Post by Aaron » Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:20 pm

The two black wires on dimmer switches simply represent the same brass terminals on single-pole toggle switches, which is why I asked if you remembered how the previous switch is connected. You connect it exactly the same way a regular toggle switch is connected, but you'll use wire nuts.

(I don't know why dimmer switches have wires instead of terminal screws. That's always eluded me.)

Like I said before, though, if that white wire is the only one inside your box, please mark it as hot so the next person who works in that box understands that the wire is NOT a neutral.

A

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Shannon
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Re: Bedroom light

Post by Shannon » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:18 pm

So what Akaase is saying is put a wrap of black electrical tape around the white wire and then use a wire nut to connect it to one of the blacks. Then connect the black wire in the wall to the other black wire on the switch. Connect the grounds and then turn on the breaker and see if the light is operating properly for on and off. If it seems to be reversed then reverse the way the black and white wires from the wall are hooked up.
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supperfly17
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Re: Bedroom light

Post by supperfly17 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:37 pm

Thanks for the answer gentleman. So whats the point of having two black wires that come with the
dimmer switch? Shouldnt one of them be white for neutral? It just made no sense to me.

When I took the old switch out, black was connected with black, white with white and ground with gound. Thats all.

Now this way i got on one end, white/black/ground and on the other end black/black/ground

supperfly17
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Re: Bedroom light

Post by supperfly17 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:44 pm

akaase wrote: Like I said before, though, if that white wire is the only one inside your box, please mark it as hot so the next person who works in that box understands that the wire is NOT a neutral.

A
The box has 1 black which is the hot wire, one white neutral and 1 ground wire coming out of it.

while the switch has 2 blacks and 1 green like this

Image

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Aaron
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Re: Bedroom light

Post by Aaron » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:54 pm

What I'm saying is IF THERE IS ONLY ONE WHITE WIRE IN A SWITCH BOX, it can *not* be a neutral wire. It's being used as a hot wire to complete the electrical circuit for the light.

Switches don't use neutrals. The dimmer switch you posted a picture of above does not use a neutral at all. Switches simply make or break connections between two hot wires to complete the electrical circuit.

When you say, "When I took the old switch out, black was connected with black, white with white and ground with gound. Thats all," I don't know what you mean... your old switch should not have had any color coding on it, unless it was a three-way switch. Can you post a picture of it so we can see what you're talking about?

supperfly17
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Re: Bedroom light

Post by supperfly17 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:17 pm

As you obviously realize I am a noob when it comes to this. Will post a pic when I get home.

Thank you again.

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Aaron
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Re: Bedroom light

Post by Aaron » Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:58 pm

No worries, I just want you to be safe and connect it correctly!

supperfly17
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Re: Bedroom light

Post by supperfly17 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:16 pm

Ok here is what I am talking about. Thank you once again for your help.

Here is the existing switch that I am replacing

Image

Image

And here is the existing switch and the ends of the dimmer switch.

Image


So Im not sure which black wire do I connect to which white/black. Thanks again.

supperfly17
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Re: Bedroom light

Post by supperfly17 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:46 pm

So I just randomly took the white wire and connected it to the top black wire of the switch, and the black wire connected to the bottom black wire of the switch and connected the ground and it worked. Should I leave it as is, or do something different?

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Shannon
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Re: Bedroom light

Post by Shannon » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:00 pm

The way your light is wired is with the main power feed going to the light box location first but it will bypass the light to start with, so imagine the light and the switch as two different cities connected by a two lane highway ( the 14/2 wire) The black power feed wire at the light box is connected to the white wire going to the switch and bypasses the light (city 1) to start with. It travels down the white lane of the highway to the switch (city 2) and comes to a red light (switch is off) once the light turns green (switch turns on) the power travels back down the black lane towards the light fixture where the black highway wire is hooked to the black wire of the light fixture. The light fixture now has power and illuminates until the flow of power is again stopped by the stop sign (switch). I am not making fun here at all just trying to make it more understandable.
This is one way of wiring a light and switch and appears to be the way yours is from the info you have given us. The reason we mentioned adding black tape to the white wire here is because as you see it actually is not a neutral like most people expect but it is actually a hot wire and it appears in your case it would always be hot when the breaker is on.
In the very first post you mentioned having 1 black wire and 2 whites coming from the box to the fixture, but also tucked up in that box there I suspect there must be 2 black wires hooked to a white wire. One black is the main power feed coming in and one black is maybe feeding a different light or plugs and the white is carrying power to the switch.
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Shannon
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Re: Bedroom light

Post by Shannon » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:02 pm

supperfly17 wrote:So I just randomly took the white wire and connected it to the top black wire of the switch, and the black wire connected to the bottom black wire of the switch and connected the ground and it worked. Should I leave it as is, or do something different?
No, if the switch and light are working correctly and the dimmer function works you should be fine. Good job!
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Aaron
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Re: Bedroom light

Post by Aaron » Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:32 pm

Yeah it doesn't matter which switch terminals you use! It shouldn't on a dimmer switch either.

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