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Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3729
Experience:  30 years Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, Adjunct College Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma: Digital Electronics, FCC Technician License
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I took down a ceiling fan with a remote and installed a chandelier

Customer Question

i took down a ceiling fan with a remote and installed a chandelier but now the switch on the wall won't turn the lights off. i installed a new dimmer switch and it still doesn't work. both have one white, one black and one green/grounding wire.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago. name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question. My goal is to exceed your expectations on Just Answer!
1) How many total wires located in the ceiling box and what are the wire colors?
2) Does the ceiling box contain any groups of wires that were spliced together with a plastic wire nut? Or are all of the ceiling box wires, single wires only an no splices to other house wires?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
1. 3 wires (black, white and copper)2. they are all bundled together out from the ceiling box. i don't see any wires spliced together and the only wires connected with wire nuts are the wires i put together with wires from the chandelier
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the replies.
1) Since all of the ceiling box wires are lone wires and no other house wire splices, the problem must be inside the wall switch box.
2) I assume the wall switch box contains either a group or groups of white and black wires that are spliced together, is that correct?
3) Any chance that you have an AC voltmeter that also has a continuity feature?
4) I suspect that the switched loop conductor (the wire that extends out from the dimmer switch to the ceiling box) is spliced to an "always live" hot wire.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
the switch box has 3 wires: white, black and copper again. i bought a lutron skylark s-600p single pole preset dimmer. i have a voltmeter and i took the switch box plate off and tested all the wires as well as the wires from the ceiling and there was power to all. i'm not sure if it has a continuity feature but i can check the manual. i did not notice any spliced wires comint out of the dimmer switch, just two black wires and a green ground wire.
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the replies.
1) At the dimmer switch, measure if one of the leads has a constant 120 volts with the dimmer in the OFF position. Measure from hot to a bare copper ground.
2) At the 2nd wire lead (switched loop output) from the dimmer switch, measure for 120 volts again, but toggle the dimmer switch OFF and ON. Let me know if you can successfully measure 120 volts on the output of the dimmer when it is only in the ON position. Should measure 0 volts in the OFF position?
3) What is the wiring scheme that was installed at both boxes? EMT Metal conduit or Romex cables or Armored cable such as BX?
4) If a cable system was used joining the ceiling and wall boxes, you are lacking (1) conductor. Double check the switch box as there should be more than just 1 white, 1 black and 1 bare copper?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
ok let me check. i have a silly question. do i need to go switch my breaker off to unscrew the face plate and access the wires inside the switch box.i'm not sure what number 3 means. i can google and try to figure it out. our home was built in 1983 if that gives you any indication.4. that's all the wires that are there. i didn't see any additional cables. the old switch that was there had the black wire wrapped around one screw, the white wire wrapped around another screw and then the ground wire wrapped around the green screw. note our ceiling fan was on a remote so i'm not sure if that means it was bypassing the switch and maybe the switch was wasn't working all along.
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
1) Yes for safety reasons, always a good idea to kill power to the circuit via the breaker in the OFF position when performing a visual inspection inside a ceiling and/or wall box.
2) Take a look at the main electrical panel if the perimeter of the metal cabinet is exposed. EMT Metal conduit is metal pipe. If you have Romex cables, they will have white or yellow on the exterior cable insulation.
3) ON/OFF wall switches installed with remote controlled fans are very common. The wall switch would over ride the remote.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
i was wrong i dont have a voltmeter just something that ells if the wire is hot or not
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
If the tester is a non-contact tester, those testers just light up or provide an audible signal when they detect voltage. The problem with those types of testers is that they detect voltage based on inductance and can provide false indications since they can sense voltage from other nearby circuits.
A 2 wire lead AC voltage tester (a contact type) or better yet, a voltmeter is always recommended whenever working on an electrical project.
Perhaps you can borrow a meter from a neighbor of a friend?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
underneath the breaker box there is a large metal pipe running from it so i would guess EMS conduit
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
ill have to see if a neighbor has a voltmeter or purchase one
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the replies.
1) If the panel branch circuits were wired using EMT metal conduit, you will have numerous conduits sized as 1/2" and possibly 3/4" in diameter. If only one large metal pipe, that is most likely the service entrance conduit from the exterior meter socket.
2) The panel will either have numerous metal conduit piping or numerous white and yellow Romex cables or numerous armored (spiral wound)or possibly a combination of all of these. All depends upon how the panel was originally wired and any additions that took place after the original install.
3) No problem, just reply back to me when you obtain a meter and we can take it from there. Your question will remain open, so just reply back to me like you have been........Thanks........Kevin!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
when i look at the panel i can't see any wires, our breaker panel is on the external side of the house so i don't know if that makes a difference. the wiring inside the ceiling box and wall box looks closest to romex 2 wire with ground
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
If the branch circuit ground wire is a bare copper, then you have Romex cable installed.
Have you confirmed the quantity of wires at the ceiling and wall switch box? If you have Romex cable installed, the hot circuit feed either enters at the ceiling box or at the wall switch box. You can't have just 2 wires in each box. One of the boxes needs to contain a splice for a neutral wire. Double check both boxes and back the dimmer switch from the box but do not disconnect any wires from it. Look behind the dimmer switch for any house wires that are spliced & wire nutted.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
i added 5 files the first two are of the connections from the ceiling to the chandelier. the second two are from the switch box. the last one is of our breaker box.
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the pictures.
1) At the dimmer switch box, the white is being used as the hot circuit feed and the black is the switched loop that extends to the ceiling. Since the ceiling and the switch box does not contain a group of white neutrals spliced together, the ceiling white neutral must originate from another box.
2) Reply back to me when you have the meter and we can take it from there........Thanks......Kevin!