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Thread: can someone tell me what the heck this is ...

  1. #1
    DIY Member beachfront71's Avatar
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    Default can someone tell me what the heck this is ...

    Hi and thanks,
    Remodeling a room and moving electric .. the picture below reared its ugly head ...

    Can anyone tell me what the heck is going on here and how to clean it up???

    This is the power to a motion flood light on oustide wall .. it is 2 double switches all for this .. I am guessing they rigged up something they had on hand so they did not have to go to home depot to get the right item..

    The light will turn off and on only with the swithc where the 2 reds meet ... all the other switches do nothing with regards to the light no matter what position they are in

    Thanks
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    Last edited by beachfront71; 01-22-2011 at 05:45 PM.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Get two 3-way switches and substitute them. You'd need to show where the power comes from and what's between the switches to know if it would work with what you have. You may not have enough wires, and then again, you might! Depends on how it is currently run. Functionally, if you ganged the two handles on each device together, and wired it properly, you might make this work, but that's what a 3-way switch is internally, a DPST switch (unless I'm all mixed up). Looks like you're missing the traveler between the switches, but those things give me a headache and I may be missing something.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    If as you say the black and white wires are the power coming in then the red wire must be connected to the neutral bus in the panel.

    Is there no white wire at the light? Is this wired in NM cable? Something just don’t seem to be right here!

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    DIY Member beachfront71's Avatar
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    my mistake the RED wire from the light is actually WHITE .. forgot to change when I drew it.

    I just disconnected everything and when I turned the power back on the RED wire from the feed (bottom of picture) is the only one that lights up my indicator as being HOT ...

    Seems like I can just hook up a switch and cap some unneeded wires?
    Last edited by Terry; 01-22-2011 at 03:34 PM.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    What cables are up at the light fixture and how are they connected? Where does the power come from into the switches or lamp assembly? Normally, red is a switched lead, black is constant hot, and white is neutral, but all bets are off when you deal with 3-way and don't know where the power is coming into the circuit.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Member beachfront71's Avatar
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    UPDATED PHOTO:
    the fixture is your basic motion detector light ... black . white . ground .
    I can not figure out where the power comes from ..
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    Last edited by beachfront71; 01-22-2011 at 05:46 PM.

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    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Once again what you have drawn will not work at all for any reason.
    Can you take a picture of it and post the picture?

  8. #8
    DIY Member beachfront71's Avatar
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    My apoligies .. obviously not an electrician
    The RED wire from the feed is not hot ... The WHITE wire from the feed is the hot one....
    I have no pics as I took it all apart ... but the photo is exactly how it was hooked up...

  9. #9
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    The physics of current flow mandates that there be a complete path from the power source through the load back to the power source. What you have drawn does not have a complete path of any kind therefore what you have drawn will not work at all.

    Are all these switches in one box?

  10. #10
    Licensed Electrical Contractor Speedy Petey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beachfront71 View Post
    My apoligies .. obviously not an electrician
    The RED wire from the feed is not hot ... The WHITE wire from the feed is the hot one....
    I have no pics as I took it all apart ... but the photo is exactly how it was hooked up...
    Considering all this, and considering how screwed up it was before, I really think you should call an electrician to fix this. There is some troubleshooting needed here and this is impossible if you don't know what you're doing. Especially via remote control over the web.

    I know what they were doing before. They were using one switch for the MD function, and another for an override to turn the lights on instanty. They were not smart enough to read the instructions telling them about the built-in override feature all MD lights have.

  11. #11
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    According to your drawing EVERY wire goes through a switch, and some switches only have a single connection which makes them open circuits and useless. Your drawing does NOT make sense. What you have to do is back off, remove ALL the switches, determine the FUNCTION of each wire, then rewire the entire mess. You should only need ONE switch unless you are trying to do something esoteric. Black to the hot on the photosensor, and white to ALL the neutrals. The photosensor will have a black, white, and red or blue wire and that one goes to the light fixture.

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