Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a timer sw

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MegantheEngineer
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Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a timer sw

Post by MegantheEngineer » Sun Nov 08, 2015 3:09 pm

Hello :)

I have 2 light switches in one box right now. The one on the right in the picture is an outside light that just goes on/off. The left one is to a set of lights in the living room that is supposed to be on a toggle for circuit with a switch in the kitchen, so if you switch either the one in the living room out the one in the kitchen the lights turn on or off. This one has never worked properly, we just go back and forth flipping switches to get the lights on or off.

I am trying to upgrade the right switch to a programmed timer switch http://m.lowes.com/pd/Utilitech-15-Amp- ... r/50258723

And replace the left switch with a dimmable switch (and maybe make it work right)http://m.lowes.com/pd/Lutron-Skylark-1- ... er/4165017.

Attached is what the current setup looks like.

Any advice?
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Shannon
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by Shannon » Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:51 pm

Well to start with that for sure is not a three way switch on the LH side and it needs to be to work with the switch in the kitchen. I'm having a little trouble figuring out what is what though. A picture of the other switch in kitchen would be helpful. Maybe Aaron and Emtnut will be able to make sense of it easier then I .
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emtnut
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by emtnut » Sun Nov 08, 2015 6:39 pm

I was thinking it wasn't a 3way switch too .. but I see one terminal not used. Is the terminal on the other side of that switch (with the black wire) a black screw ?

I also see a capped off black wire ( that's probably a good thing ! )

Do you have a drawing of how the two 3way switches should be wired ?

A picture of the other switch would be helpful, but at least verify that it is a 3 way switch (2 brass screws and 1 black screw) and if there are 3 wires connected to it.


Regarding the outside light, the timer you are looking at requires a separate hot feed. I'd only get that if you are fairly comfortable with adding another wire from the wirenut. Another option would be to get a photosensor for this light, easy to install, and your lights will automatically come on at dusk.


If i'm reading the wiring correctly, If you put the switch on the left to the 'on' (up) position, then the light switch in the kitchen should turn on and off the light. If you turn the switch shown on the left off, the switch in the kitchen should not turn on the light... If you could confirm that, would be very helpful

EMT
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by MegantheEngineer » Sun Nov 08, 2015 7:25 pm

Ok,

Here are 2 diagrams.

1 is how everything was hooked up. When it was hooked up the left switch had to be in the on position in order to turn the living room lights on using the switch in the kitchen. But the switch on the right just worked fine

The second one is what I found while trying to diagnose this. Which is that there is only 1 hot wire in this box...

I also discovered that since disconnecting the switches, even when I turn the breaker back on, all the outlets on one living room wall are off- no idea what this means.

In the kitchen is an actual 3 way switch. Pictured.
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by emtnut » Sun Nov 08, 2015 8:07 pm

It's normal to only have 1 hot supply to a box, no worries.

I attached a similar diagram as yours for clarity.

Cable 1 goes to the kitchen switch
Cable 2 goes to the outside light
Cable 4 incoming power

If cable 3 or 5 also goes to the kitchen your in luck. If not, you can't do a 3 way switch with cable 1 (need 3 wires) You would have to run another cable.

Either 3 or 5 goes to your receptacles along the living room wall. With the power off, and or circuit disconnected, you could meter it out (if you have a multimeter) to verify.
I have a feeling the other cable is feeding something else, possibly lights or receptacles in another area of the house ?
Or just check how many cables you have in the switch box in the kitchen.
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by emtnut » Sun Nov 08, 2015 8:31 pm

Also, I can't make out what you have written on the leftmost side of the 3 way switch.
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by MegantheEngineer » Sun Nov 08, 2015 8:35 pm

Next to the switch on the left just says "track light/3 way switch"

I've checked where 3 and 5 go (also your diagram is accurate) 3 goes to the kitchen and 5 to the outlets asking the living room wall

Thank you

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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by emtnut » Sun Nov 08, 2015 8:44 pm

Your Welcome !

Let me know if you have any other questions :)
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by Shannon » Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:30 pm

We still have not answered your question. Also that left switch is only a single pole switch. The top screw, if you look really close has the black hooked to it .The wire is just bent funny behind the switch and looks like it is running to the other side but it is not.
Seems to me someone has made this more difficult than it needed to be with an extra run of wire. Please post a picture of the other switch pulled out of the wall and maybe even the light .
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by Shannon » Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:53 pm

If the other end of wire three indeed goes to the kitchen switch and that switch is a three way switch ( three screws) Then at the kitchen switch the white wire should be on the black screw, The red and black wires will each be attached ,one on each of the brass screws. Then get a new three way switch for the other location . There the black from wire 1 ill be attached to the black screw , and the red and black from #3 will be attached to the brass screws (one each) note those two wire will hook to the opposite screws from where they are at the kitchen switch.
The thing that is confusing me is that red wire from #5 wire nutted with the red from #3? Where the heck is that going? We for sure need more pictures ! My head is spinning.
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by MegantheEngineer » Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:14 pm

The kitchen switch is 3 way. 3 screws. But it's hard to get a picture of without moving the fridge.

I have no idea why the 2 reds are tired together lol

And maybe I jumped the gun but I unhooked the 2 switches already... :) I got over eager lol

But it seems to be making some sense now. 1st the 3 way never worked right in this box because it wasn't a 3 way. And now I know where each wire is coming from. And which one is the power.

I tried to write out the diagram for how the new 3 way w/dimmer and the timer will be run.

Here's the diagram I made. I'm not sure about red and red/white wires coming from the 3way/dimmer

Below are the links to the products I bought.
http://m.lowes.com/pd/Lutron-Skylark-1- ... er/4165017

http://m.lowes.com/pd/Utilitech-15-Amp- ... r/50258723

Also this house always makes my head spin.
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by emtnut » Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:23 pm

Shannon wrote: The thing that is confusing me is that red wire from #5 wire nutted with the red from #3? Where the heck is that going? We for sure need more pictures ! My head is spinning.
Looks like it's been rewired, so that the switch in the kitchen, turns on the living room light, and at least one receptacle ;)

We need to get that fridge nudged over !
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by MegantheEngineer » Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:13 am

Ok, here are pictures of the switch in the kitchen

Its an actual 3 way. I did the tagging on the lines myself when I moved that switch box last year.
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by emtnut » Mon Nov 09, 2015 9:04 am

emtnut wrote:
Shannon wrote:
Looks like it's been rewired, so that the switch in the kitchen, turns on the living room light, and at least one receptacle

Are you able to confirm this ?

Also, the kitchen switch looks OK .... but hard to make out the wiring from that angle
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by MegantheEngineer » Mon Nov 09, 2015 9:10 am

i can confirm that the switch in the kitchen turns on the living room light (only if the problem switch in the living room is on also)

but i need to do some more checking when i get home to determine if the kitchen switch also switches a receptacle.

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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by emtnut » Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:18 am

Sounds good. I think it's a receptacle.

I'll only be able to check in late tonite, but maybe if Aaron is around he can help out.

From what I see so far, you will be able to use the #3 numbered cable for your 3 way switch (Shannon gave the hook up details). The #5 numbered cable, we know the black goes to receptacles. The Red wire (if it proves feeds another receptacle(s) ) , you would just hook up to the 'hot' to permanently power it on.

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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by Shannon » Mon Nov 09, 2015 8:16 pm

Ya I think the other wire has to be switching a receptacle . I use usually 2 different ways of wiring 3 way switches and it makes my head hurt figuring out other ways now.LOL I like things simple.

BTW emtnut, nice to put a face to the name!
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by MegantheEngineer » Mon Nov 09, 2015 8:33 pm

Ok, I've done more troubleshooting.

The kitchen also switches the receptacles.

I attempted to wire the receptacles as shown here, but it didn't work. So I switched the red to red into red to white. And the red/white to white to red/white to red. This attempt was just ignoring the outlets for simplicity. But in this second setup the lights did come on when I hit the switch in the living room and the kitchen switched it on and off. However if I switched the living room off, the kitchen could not turn it on.

So I guess the receptacles must be booked up on here somehow to get this working properly. Idk, this is a tough one for me.
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by MegantheEngineer » Mon Nov 09, 2015 8:35 pm

Sorry, that should have said

" I attempted to rewire the dimmer setup as shown "

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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by emtnut » Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:42 pm

Shannon wrote: BTW emtnut, nice to put a face to the name!
Thanks ... I feel right at home here.
I can be a bit off beat, so let me know if I get out of hand. (If I had feelings, they might be hurt :) )


Wasn't sure about the "kaboom" signature... seein' as this is electrical :mrgreen:
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by emtnut » Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:49 pm

Easiest way to think of 3 way switches ....

The 2 brass screws, are your 'travellers' ... Just hook the 2 of them together. Use the red and white wires. Red to Red, White to white. Red to white, White to red ... doesn't matter !

The 'black' screw is the important one. On one switch it gets power (line in) , on the other switch it goes to the live on the light .

If you follow that thinking, follow up above what Shannon said , and your in business.

If the old 'switched' receptacles aren't working yet... just hook up that red wire to your main HOT.

I'll be around for a bit if you need me

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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by Shannon » Tue Nov 10, 2015 9:10 am

emtnut wrote:
Shannon wrote: BTW emtnut, nice to put a face to the name!
Thanks ... I feel right at home here.
I can be a bit off beat, so let me know if I get out of hand. (If I had feelings, they might be hurt :) )


Wasn't sure about the "kaboom" signature... seein' as this is electrical :mrgreen:

Its all good, no problems ....so far!
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by emtnut » Tue Nov 10, 2015 2:56 pm

Megantheengineer,

Let me know if you want me to make you up a drawing of the wiring.
Sometimes just the text can be hard to visualize, especially with 3-way switches !

Wayne
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by MegantheEngineer » Tue Nov 10, 2015 9:04 pm

Ok, guys, thank you so much. I'm SO CLOSE!

I got the 3 way and 3 way dimmer working perfect (the kitchen switch had all 3 screws brass but common was written on the switch on the white wire, so when I used that as common everything was good)

But then!!! I wanted to add the living room outlets which I did like in the top of the picture. And that worked fine too, staying on no matter which switch was flipped.

But here's the trouble, I went to add the outside light timer like in the bottom of the picture, and now somehow, if I flip off the living room dimmer switch, the outlets go dead.

What the heck.
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by emtnut » Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:26 pm

I'm having a hard time making out the picture, so I did one up showing just the utilitec timer and outside light/receptacles.
Careful maintaining your wiring on the 3 way and kitchen light when you do this.
And yes ... your almost there !!

The light dotted line is the white (neutral)
Grounds not shown, but make sure all your grounds are connected together and to the back of your metal box too.
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by Shannon » Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:35 am

should work, guys.
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by MegantheEngineer » Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:44 am

OHH I get it,

can't wait to go home tonight and try it.

what do you mean by 'maintain your wiring'?

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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by emtnut » Wed Nov 11, 2015 10:23 am

MegantheEngineer wrote:
what do you mean by 'maintain your wiring'?

Just meant the 3 way switches are working, careful when your rewiring to maintain those circuits.

I'm looking forward to the outcome too !
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by MegantheEngineer » Wed Nov 11, 2015 10:38 pm

I GOT IT!!!

So excited! Thank you so much for your help!

Now my 3 way dimmer is actually working and either switch can be used to turn it on! And the outlets are just always on, and I got my excessively complex outside light timer setup and running.

Thank you Shannon and EMTNUT it would've taken me another month to figure out on my own.
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Re: Replace 2 light switches with a dimmer switch and a time

Post by emtnut » Wed Nov 11, 2015 10:50 pm

Hey, That's awesome Megan ! :D

Thanks for the finished pic too ... Looks great, good job !

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