Dimmer switch confusion

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by 10ZA, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. 10ZA

    10ZA New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    michigan
    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. Jim Port

    Jim Port Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Maryland
    Did you buy a dimmer or a fan speed control?
  3. 10ZA

    10ZA New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    michigan
    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. Jim Port

    Jim Port Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Maryland
    Any chance this is a 3way/ single pole convertible dimmer? That might explain the upside down.
  5. 10ZA

    10ZA New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    michigan
    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. Jim Port

    Jim Port Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Maryland
    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. jbfan74

    jbfan74 Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    131
    Location:
    Newnan, GA
    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?
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,262
    Location:
    New England
    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.
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,021
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    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. 10ZA

    10ZA New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    michigan
    Thank you for all advice

    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. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
  12. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
  13. jbfan74

    jbfan74 Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    131
    Location:
    Newnan, GA
    You have to ask????
Similar Threads: Dimmer switch
Forum Title Date
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog 3-way switches with dimmers for lighting? May 2, 2014
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog GFCI, Dimmer Switch, Outdoor Lamp Posts with Receptacles Mar 27, 2012
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Standard 3W and 4W switches co-existing with master/remote dimmers Dec 7, 2010
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Flickering Bulbs On Dimmer Switch Sep 3, 2009
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Roof Mounted Attic Fan on a Dimmer Switch? Jul 19, 2009

Share This Page