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    mustaine's Avatar
    mustaine Posts: 6, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Mar 6, 2006, 05:53 AM
    Blew something?
    So here's my situation. I needed to change a regular electrical outlet and then a dimmer switch to a regular flicker switch. The outlet went beautfully. White wire and black wire and grounding wire all hooked up nicely and it worked! I was very proud of myself until I screwed the dimmer change up. I removed it expecting to see a white and black wire, but instead it was intertwined with a few black wires. I was lost and totally lost track of what wire was what. I guessed and flicked the power on and then the sparks flew for a second or so. I shut the power down, and tried a diff. combination but now it doesn't work at all, and neither does the outlet that is about 4 feet directly below the light switch area. Basically Im curious as to what happened. Im on a breaker panel not fuses, so it can't be that. I assume I just shorted out a wire, but Im hoping it won't be too much to fix. Any answers from anyone out there?
    tkrussell's Avatar
    tkrussell Posts: 9,659, Reputation: 725
    Uber Member

    Mar 6, 2006, 12:03 PM
    One of the black wires at the dimmer is the feed, it was spliced with other black wires going elsewhere to feed other outlets, one probably the outlet you worked on.

    There should be one wire at the dimmer that did not connect to the large splice , and only went to the dimmer. This wire should be going to the outlet or light the dimmer was/is controlling.

    Either you spliced something wrong, of when you pushed the wires back in the box, you may have pinched or nicked a wire, assuming a metal box.

    What is the dimmer controlling?

    You will need a tester to check for the one hot feed in the dimmer box. If you know which wire is being controlled by the dimmer, then all the other black wires should go to the feed.

    If there is no power at all in the box, then ned to check all the breakers, not just check to see if they are tripped, but need to open the box and test each breaker to be sure there is power leaving.

    Opening the panel is dangerous and should only be done by a pro, unless you are skilled and knowledgeable enough working around live power.

    ANother thing that can happen is that a splice in another box feeding the one you worked on may have failed. Finding that will require opening every box in the circuit one at a time.

    I hope this helps. If not get back with more questions. Any chance of furnishing pictures of what you have? It may help to see what you have.
    labman's Avatar
    labman Posts: 10,580, Reputation: 551
    Uber Member

    Mar 6, 2006, 12:54 PM
    Yes you need a tester. If you don't have one, I was at Home Depot today. They had a clearance on a set of four for $20. Everything a DIY needs to get started, a multimeter, a voltage detector, and outlet checker, and a test light. Voltage detectors are slick. They work through the insulation of wires. Touch it to a hot wire, and the end glows red. Find the doodad that lights it on one side, and not the other, and you have the culprit. You do not have to open up housings and expose electrical contacts. You are looking at where your hand is, not where the meter is. Most people are capable of doing repairs and not get hurt if they use a little sense. The voltage detector makes it even easier.

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