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    edcpa2002's Avatar
    edcpa2002 Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    May 18, 2006, 08:16 AM
    Connecting 3 dimmer switches on one circuit
    In my basement I have three separate single pole light switches that control the recessed lighting. These separate switches were all next to each other and somehow were interlinked with one another. I've moved these switches to one wall and put them in a three gang box, so I can control the lights from one location. I needed to extend these wires to get it across the room. I used junction boxes where the extensions were made. These switches were all connected somehow, but now that I've extended these wires to another part of the room, I'm not sure how they were connected. I'm certainly no expert in electricity, but I need basic help and proper terminology. Now I have 4 separate wires tangling down for 3 light switches. One of the wires had a red tape mark on there for some reason. What's odd is that only one of the wires has power when I turned on the breaker. The others do not light up when I tested it. All 4 wires have a black, white and ground wire.

    I'm not sure which way the current is going. All I know is that all these wires are hooked up to the high hats in three separate rooms and only one of the wires gets power. What do the white wires do. What do the black wires do. Do I need to connect all the white wires together for all three switches, all the black wires together. I would appreciate any help on this.

    Also, would I be able to use three dimmer switches in a three gang on one circuit or should I use two dimmers and one regular switch. Can you explain how to connect the dimmer switch. The dimmers that I have, have a ground wire and two black wires. Do I have to connect any white wires to these black wires or do all the black wires get connected together. Any help would be appreciated.
    tkrussell's Avatar
    tkrussell Posts: 9,659, Reputation: 725
    Uber Member

    May 19, 2006, 03:25 PM
    I had to think about this question for a while trying to figure out how to answer. So you moved the switches the first time, and then second, and lost track of what is what?

    You need to test each cable to figure out which is the hot feed. Process of elimination leaves the three remaining cables that obviously go to each group of lights.

    The hot feed black will feed the line side of three switches, each black switched leg from the three cables each goes to the load side of each switch.

    All the neutral whites get spliced together and capped. As do any ground wires, and a pigtail to each switch green ground terminal and to the box, only if metal.

    A dimmer is only a switch, the feed connects to one black of each dimmer, and each black from each group of lights to each dimmer.

    In this case, I believe, no blacks ever get connected to any whites. There are situations that a black may get connected to a white, only if the circuit is wired a certain way, which does not seem to apply here, and I am not going to get into here, if not necessary.

    When dimmers get ganged together, caution must be used . The load of each lighting circuit must be known, the proper size dimmer must be used, and when ganged together, and the rating of each dimmer must be derated.

    Derating is done either one of two methods, either smaller lamp wattage lamps are installed, or the dimmer is rated larger than if installed alone.

    Your statement "I'm certainly no expert in electricity, but I need basic help and proper terminology." concerns me. I have used all the proper terminology, which, I believe far exceeds the expectation of basic help.

    I also caution you that if this wiring, or any for that matter , is not done exactly as it should, loss of property can occur, and most importantly, injury to people or loss of life can occur due to fire or electrocution.

    I urge you, if you have any other question beyond this explantion, to call in a qualified licensed electrician to straighten out this situation. Also, in the event of loss of any kind, I doubt your insurance will cover any damages, if it is proven the work was not done exactly according to code.

    The cost may be, and should be no more than, $500.00. I am sure that you will agree this is not too much to preserve your investment of property, and safety of yourself and your loved ones.

    I do not particularly care if you are offended by this answer. My purpose is to help people keep their loved ones alive and homes from burning down.
    letmetellu's Avatar
    letmetellu Posts: 3,151, Reputation: 317
    Ultra Member

    May 19, 2006, 08:48 PM
    The last five paragraphs are well given advice and I have seen many other questions that need the same advice given to them. Thanks tkrussell for not caring about whether you get a good report from your answer or not. You could have saved someone lots of money or ever more you could have saved their life.

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