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    Installed new light switch, now it won't turn off

    Asked Apr 19, 2008, 01:10 PM 10 Answers
    Combination light switch and outlet... switch won't turn lights off.

    I installed a new light switch. It is a combination switch/outlet. The switch lights one fixture mounted over the sink (it has three lights on a strip). Inside the box there is one white wire, one black, one red wire. The outlet is on top and underneath that is the light switch. I have attached the white wire to the left hand silver screw on top. I have attached the black wire to the right screw on top (brass) and the red wire to the right screw on bottom (also brass). When the power is on, the lights come on but the switch does not turn them off.

    Last edited by ng1721; Apr 19, 2008 at 02:52 PM.
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    stanfortyman's Avatar
    stanfortyman Posts: 5,300, Reputation: 264
    Electrical & Lighting Expert
     
    #2

    Apr 19, 2008, 01:14 PM


    I know I get snippy sometimes, but how can we help you if you post a question(?) like this? If this is even a question.

    How about some details? More information, like what wires are in the box?
    What was there before? What is it controlling?
    Anything more than simply, "Hey, I just replaced a switch and now it doesn't work."
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    ng1721's Avatar
    ng1721 Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
    New Member
     
    #3

    Apr 19, 2008, 02:05 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by ng1721
    Combination light switch and outlet...switch wont turn lights off.
    I installed a new light switch. It is a combination switch/outlet. The switch lights one fixture mounted over the sink (it has three lights on a strip). Inside the box there is one white wire, one black, one red wire. The outlet is on top and underneath that is the light switch. I have attached the white wire to the left hand silver screw on top. I have attached the black wire to the right screw on top (brass) and the red wire to the right screw on bottom (also brass). When the power is on, the lights come on but the switch does not turn them off.
    Helpful
    ng1721's Avatar
    ng1721 Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
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    #4

    Apr 19, 2008, 02:54 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by stanfortyman
    I know I get snippy sometimes, but how can we help you if you post a question(?) like this? If this is even a question.

    How about some details? More information, like what wires are in the box?
    What was there before? What is it controlling?
    Anything more than simply, "Hey, I just replaced a switch and now it doesn't work."
    Combination light switch and outlet... switch won't turn lights off.

    I installed a new light switch. It is a combination switch/outlet. The switch lights one fixture mounted over the sink (it has three lights on a strip). Inside the box there is one white wire, one black, one red wire. The outlet is on top and underneath that is the light switch. I have attached the white wire to the left hand silver screw on top. I have attached the black wire to the right screw on top (brass) and the red wire to the right screw on bottom (also brass). When the power is on, the lights come on but the switch does not turn them off.
    Helpful
    donf's Avatar
    donf Posts: 5,197, Reputation: 544
    Printers & Electronics Expert
     
    #5

    Apr 19, 2008, 06:28 PM
    NG,

    Let's try it this way. When you disconnected the original fixture, did you find two pairs of Black and White conductors?

    As to the outlet, how far away from water is it? Are you planning to just use the combination of the Switch for the light, or do you intend to feed the outlet from the switch?

    Since switches only carry a ungrounded Hot conductor, where are you planing to get the Neutral that is required? Where is the Source of your power coming from, the wall switch or overhead from the original light's supply line?
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    ng1721's Avatar
    ng1721 Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
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    #6

    Apr 20, 2008, 04:36 PM
    Don, thanks for answering me. We were just trying to replace an old switch plate located in the bathroom which controls the light fixture over the sink and has an outlet on top so you can plug in an electrical appliance.
    We recently had the bathroom remodeld and wanted to update the switch as well. The problem started when the person who did the bathroom work said he thought there was a loose wire located in the wall behind the switch. We took the old switch plate off. Here is what was in the hole in the wall. One red and one black covered wire attached to the left side of the switch box and two white wires which are joined by another piece of white coated white wire (taped together with electrical tape) attached to the right side. So there are two white wires which are joined by a cap to a third piece of white coated wire. This third piece of white coated wire is attached to the right side of the switch box. This all worked perfectly fine until it started acting finicky. Based on what the contractor said, we assumed it was because the white coated wire which is attached to the other two white coated wires had somehow loosened and a connection was not being made.
    We made the connection between these three white wires better (we thought) but putting an eletrical cap on them instead of the eletrical tape and we thought we had the thing back together the way it was originally. Obviously we did something wrong because now, while the light fixture goes on when we turn the power back on from the circuit box, we cannot get the light fixture to go off even when we flip the switch.
    All the wires, black, red and white go up from the hole in the bathroom wall and, I assume, run across the ceiling and power the fixture over the sink.
    We also tried switching the wires around, putting the black one on the side with the white or the red one on the side with the white but these attempts made electrical sparks come from the wall and blew the circuit. So we are at a loss as to what to do. Whatever light you can shed on this would be helpful. If we can't do it ourselves, I will just call an electrician in. Thanks. NG
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    alectrician's Avatar
    alectrician Posts: 7, Reputation: 0
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    #7

    Apr 22, 2008, 07:44 PM
    Please hire a qualified electrician before you burn your house down or electrocute someone, Electricity does kill.
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    Stratmando's Avatar
    Stratmando Posts: 10,788, Reputation: 486
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    #8

    Apr 23, 2008, 07:11 AM
    Sounds like you need to move the wire that goes to the light. Is on the constant hot(line side). It should go on the other side of the switch(the side with the silver screw/neutral).
    But this screw will be brass, not silver.
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    SC-tbfd's Avatar
    SC-tbfd Posts: 58, Reputation: 1
    Junior Member
     
    #9

    Apr 23, 2008, 04:23 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by ng1721
    Here is what was in the hole in the wall. One red and one black covered wire attached to the left side of the switch box and two white wires which are joined by another piece of white coated white wire (taped together with electrical tape) attached to the right side. So there are two white wires which are joined by a cap to a third piece of white coated wire.

    I'm following along trying to learn...

    I can't make sense of this. A red a black and 2? White. Seems that there should be one white or another black depending on where power comes from.

    Can someone clear this up for me?
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    Stratmando's Avatar
    Stratmando Posts: 10,788, Reputation: 486
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    #10

    Apr 23, 2008, 04:59 PM
    You're fine, the 2 whites go together, with a short pigtail(wire) to go to silver screw. This is neutral. Black or red(whichever is constant hot)will go to screw opposite the white screw. That hot will have very small jumper inplace to feed receptacle and 1 side of switch.
    Place the 3rd wire on screw NEXT to white screw.
    Helpful

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