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#620349 - 08/17/10 06:11 PM Wiring a Dimmer Switch to recessed lights
jcraw84363 Offline
newbie

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 6
Loc: New Jersey, USA
Here’s my problem: The single pole dimmer switch I just installed does not turn on the lights. Another switch does - so the recessed lights all work, but are on the wrong switch. Installed 4 recessed lights in the kitchen, and wired a single pole dimmer switch – placing a new box in the kitchen for the dimmer switch. I cannot use the kitchen’s existing circuit due to over-load.

The dimmer switch has two black and a green wire. I then ran a 14-2 wire to the dimmer switch from a junction box in my attic. I also ran a second 14-2 wire from the same junction box in the attic to the dimmer switch. Each of the black wires coming into the dimmer switch box, connect to the two black wires on the dimmer switch. The two white wires are connected together, and the ground wires are all connected (3) together.

I also have coming into the attic junction box a 14-2 wire from the first of the four recessed lights boxes. The other three recess lights are connected together. I have fourth 14-2 wire coming into the attic junction box from which I thought I was getting my “power source” from. So this makes 4-wires coming into that attic junction box.

This fourth wire comes into the attic junction box from another junction box that controls an outside light. This 2nd junction box has a 14-2 wire coming in from a light switch in a closet, and another 14-2 wire going out to the outside light (so there are three 14-2 wires connected in this second junction box.

There are two 14-2 wires coming into the outside switch (one supplies the power source). Now the outside light switch controls both the outside light and my 4 kitchen recessed lights.

I need help! And, thanks in advance.

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#620350 - 08/17/10 06:28 PM Re: Wiring a Dimmer Switch to recessed lights [Re: jcraw84363]
jdevlin Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 8146
Loc: Welland Ont. Canada
You tapped into a switched power source. You need to find another source of power that is not controlled by a switch.
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#620351 - 08/17/10 06:29 PM Re: Wiring a Dimmer Switch to recessed lights [Re: jcraw84363]
ront02769 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/03/04
Posts: 10129
Loc: New England
poke around here and see if you find anything

you have I believe way overe complicated things. plus be sure that you have the recessed lights connected in parallel instead of series. ront

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#620352 - 08/17/10 11:00 PM Re: Wiring a Dimmer Switch to recessed lights [Re: jcraw84363]
MCA Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/09/06
Posts: 4943
Loc: Illinois
Quote:

I then ran a 14-2 wire to the dimmer switch from a junction box in my attic. I also ran a second 14-2 wire from the same junction box in the attic to the dimmer switch.




Thats repetitive. You just nneded one drop to the switch, it would be a switch loop (where both wires are hot). So at the junction box you have power in, power to the lights, and power to the switch and power from the switch (unnecessary to have 2 cables dropped to the switch). Power in hot goes to the hot that goes to the switch. Hot from the switch goes to the hot to the lights. If you connected all the hots togather then your lights will always be on. And if another switch controls it then you tapped off of a switched load, as explained. Find an appropriate line to tap off of (another lighting circuit or another live component of that lighting circuit), make sure you don't tap a kitchen receptacle circuit or other restricted use circuit.

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#620353 - 08/18/10 06:24 PM Re: Wiring a Dimmer Switch to recessed lights [Re: ront02769]
jcraw84363 Offline
newbie

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 6
Loc: New Jersey, USA
I am not sure what you mean by paralle vs. series. I connected light number 4 to #3, #3 to #2, and #2 to #1. I then ran the hot wire into #1. All lights work.

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#620354 - 08/18/10 06:29 PM Re: Wiring a Dimmer Switch to recessed lights [Re: MCA]
jcraw84363 Offline
newbie

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 6
Loc: New Jersey, USA
You are correct if the line is at the end of a circuit; two wires if my light source is mid-way between circuits-so the experts say.

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#620355 - 08/18/10 08:20 PM Re: Wiring a Dimmer Switch to recessed lights [Re: jcraw84363]
3phase Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 6849
Loc: Licensed Electrical Contractor...
Quote:

There are two 14-2 wires coming into the outside switch (one supplies the power source).


If this truly is the incoming power then the black from it should always be live, no matter if the closet or outside lights switches are onor off. It does sound to me like you tapped into a switch leg if the recessed lights only work if the outside lights are on.

Quote:

This 2nd junction box has a 14-2 wire coming in from a light switch in a closet,


This wire sounds like it might be the incoming power to me however.
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#620356 - 08/19/10 06:26 AM Re: Wiring a Dimmer Switch to recessed lights [Re: jcraw84363]
ront02769 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/03/04
Posts: 10129
Loc: New England
pls. check series vs parallel wiring. BOTH will 'work', except that in series if one fixture goes the entire string goes (just like those christmas lights).

ront

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#620357 - 08/19/10 06:55 AM Re: Wiring a Dimmer Switch to recessed lights [Re: ront02769]
jdevlin Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 8146
Loc: Welland Ont. Canada
Quote:

pls. check series vs parallel wiring. BOTH will 'work', except that in series if one fixture goes the entire string goes (just like those christmas lights).

ront



Lights will also be dim when wired in series.
_________________________
Please do not Private Message with questions that can be answered in a Forum. I will not respond.

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#620358 - 08/19/10 11:24 AM Re: Wiring a Dimmer Switch to recessed lights [Re: jcraw84363]
kamzoil Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/30/08
Posts: 1274
Loc: the great southwest USA
Quote:

Here’s my problem: The single pole dimmer switch I just installed does not turn on the lights. Another switch does - so the recessed lights all work, but are on the wrong switch. Installed 4 recessed lights in the kitchen, and wired a single pole dimmer switch – placing a new box in the kitchen for the dimmer switch.
...
Now the outside light switch controls both the outside light and my 4 kitchen recessed lights.


Does the dimmer switch ever do anything?

If the only issue is that you are tapping power from a switched power source (the outside light switch) then I would expect the dimmer switch to work properly while the outside light switch is turned on.

In other words, while the outside light switch is turned on, is the dimmer switch able to do anything? What does it do? Can the dimmer dim the lights as you would expect it to? Can the dimmer turn the lights off and on?

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