(206) 949-5683, Top Rated Plumber, Seattle
Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Dimmer switch confusion

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    michigan
    Posts
    4

    Default Dimmer switch confusion

    Hello Smarter People,
    I feel pretty sad that I cant figure this out myself, but I'm not an electrician and I need some help. I replaced a light fixture in my house this past weekend and also decided to put it on a dimmer. Pretty simple and I've done this before, but when I turned the power back on, the light was on even though the switch was in the off position. I turned the power off, switched the 2 wires going into the switch and powered up again. Once again the light is on with switch in the off position! I called the guy that sold me the light and he said I put the switch in upsidedown, so I turned it around and it works like it's supposed to, as far as the light being on when the switch is in the up position, but now my dimmer, which is a slide right next to the switch, operates the opposite of what it should. When I push the dimmer upwards the light should get brighter, but it gets dimmer instead. Do I just need to take down the fixture itself and switch the black and white connections? The wire that came with the light was all one color. Thank you for any guidance you can provide. Have a great day!!

  2. #2
    Electrical Contractor Jim Port's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    156

    Default

    Did you buy a dimmer or a fan speed control?

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    michigan
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Hey Jim,
    It's definitely a dimmer. I've used the same one in 3 other spots of the house and they all work great.

  4. #4
    Electrical Contractor Jim Port's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    156

    Default

    Any chance this is a 3way/ single pole convertible dimmer? That might explain the upside down.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    michigan
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Any chance this is a 3way/ single pole convertible dimmer? That might explain the upside down.
    Thanks Jim,
    I'm 99 percent sure it is just a single pole dimmer. I installed the exact same model on a different light and had no problems. I think I'll take the light down and switch the black and white connections to the light. Maybe that will do it for me. I've just never had such a problem replacing a switch with a dimmer before.

  6. #6
    Electrical Contractor Jim Port's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    156

    Default

    I'd say you have the dimmer wired across one of two bulbs that are in series.
    One bulb gets dimmer and the other gets brighter.
    There is only one fixture, the OP said nothing about two bulbs and one getting brighter while the other dimmed. The OP said the dimmer is dimming when it should be getting brighter. This is opposite of the way the same style dimmer is operating in other parts of their house.

  7. #7
    Electrical Contractor jbfan74's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Newnan, GA
    Posts
    129

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 10ZA View Post
    Thanks Jim,
    I'm 99 percent sure it is just a single pole dimmer. I installed the exact same model on a different light and had no problems. I think I'll take the light down and switch the black and white connections to the light. Maybe that will do it for me. I've just never had such a problem replacing a switch with a dimmer before.
    Do not take the light down and switch the black and white wire.
    This has nothing to do with your problem.
    If you look at the dimmer, on the yolk, it wil have top on one end.


    If you only have two wires at the dimmer, and a black and white at the fixture, the dimmer may be bad.

    Did you disconnect any other wires at the switch or fixture?
    Yes I am A Pirate-Jimmy Buffett

  8. #8
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    21,401

    Default

    Were there only two wires at the dimmer box? If there are more, then rather than just a switch loop, you may be feeding power through that box, and getting the wrong leads connected is a possibility. Some dimmers need a neutral as well as the switch legs to work properly. If all of the dimmers are identical, you could swap this one with one of the others and see if the problem follows, or it works there.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  9. #9
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Posts
    25,633

    Default

    Whatever your problem is, it is at the switch NOT the wires in the light fixture. Changing them will do ABSOLUTELY nothing to solve your problem. It would be nice if we could be there to actually see your switch and test the wires to and from it, because trying to troubleshoot it remotely, especially from your description may not be going to happen. Many dimmers are adaptable to 3 way use depending on whether you use all the wires and use them properly.

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    michigan
    Posts
    4

    Default Thank you for all advice

    Quote Originally Posted by jbfan74 View Post
    Do not take the light down and switch the black and white wire.
    This has nothing to do with your problem.
    If you look at the dimmer, on the yolk, it wil have top on one end.


    If you only have two wires at the dimmer, and a black and white at the fixture, the dimmer may be bad.

    Did you disconnect any other wires at the switch or fixture?
    Thanks everyone for your advice with my dimmer switch dilemma. I ended up replacing the switch with a new one (same model) and it works fine now so it must have just been a faulty dimmer. I do appreciate all the feedback and especially the berating of the guy who wanted me to try something unsafe with some type of gloves! It's nice to know that there are experts out there willing to help someone like myself who tries to do things but is certainly no expert. Thank you again guys!!

  11. #11
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    1,460

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 10ZA View Post
    I do appreciate. . .the berating of the guy
    Is this a description of you?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadisti...ality_disorder

  12. #12
    Licensed Electrical Contractor Speedy Petey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    NY State, USA
    Posts
    975

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Thatguy View Post
    WTF is this all about?

  13. #13
    Electrical Contractor jbfan74's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Newnan, GA
    Posts
    129

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    WTF is this all about?
    You have to ask????
    Yes I am A Pirate-Jimmy Buffett

Similar Threads

  1. Flickering Bulbs On Dimmer Switch
    By Kiko in forum Electrical Forum discussion & Blog
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 09-04-2009, 09:46 AM
  2. Roof Mounted Attic Fan on a Dimmer Switch?
    By bjferri in forum Electrical Forum discussion & Blog
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 07-22-2009, 10:25 PM
  3. Connecting the dimmer switch to the nuetral line?
    By Erico in forum Electrical Forum discussion & Blog
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 04-15-2009, 07:27 AM
  4. 3 way with a dimmer
    By rockycmt in forum Electrical Forum discussion & Blog
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 01-08-2009, 08:25 AM
  5. Light Dimmer ?????
    By edlentz in forum Electrical Forum discussion & Blog
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 08-18-2008, 06:14 PM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •