Weird Switch wiring

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by ms21117, Aug 13, 2007.

  1. ms21117

    ms21117 New Member

    Aug 13, 2007
    I have a total of 4 switches in a bathroom 1 to overhead lite; 1 to lite beside sink - 1 to fan and 1 dead . It's the Leviton switch - I attached a pict. In wiring it if I have my Hot wire attached to one bottom brass screw of switch 1 and jump the top brass screw of switch 1 to the top brass screw of switch 2 and then connect the lead to 1 lite to the bk wire of switch one; the second lead to the other lite to the other bk wire of switch one and the lead to the fan to the bk wire of switch 2....shouldn't that work?? when I did it and turned on one of the light switches (switch 1) both lights came on????

    Attached Files:

  2. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    Dec 30, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY and Fire Island, NY
    Can you rephrase that, slowly, with shorter sentences & more punctuation? I've read it 4 times, and I'm still not making sense of it.

    You have 2 double switches, for a total of 4? Are switch 1 and switch 2 each one half of a single double switch? Or are they the two double switches that equal a total of 4 switches? and so on. More detail, please...
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  4. ms21117

    ms21117 New Member

    Aug 13, 2007
    sure- I have 2 of the above switch units - for a total of 4 switches- switch unit #1 has 2 switches as does switch unit # 2. does that clarify? Thanks!
  5. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Oct 20, 2005
    New Hampshire
    Look carefully at both switches. Is one of the screw terminals on one side connected to the other screw on that side by a little brass tab?

    If one of the screw terminals on the switch is connected to the adjacent screw terminal, then that is intended to be where the hot incoming lead is connected. Then you use a jumper between the dual-switches to make the input sides of the other switch hot.

    Using your meter (You MUST have one to be working on electrical things), check to verify that each of the unused terminals is off when all of the switches are off, and that each one (and only each one at a time) comes ON when its switch is on. If you don't have a neutral in the box with the switches you can test to the ground (You should have a ground).

    Now connect your wires. I suggest that the fan and the light with the fan be connected to one dual switch; and the other light be connected to one of the switches on the other dual switch.

    Sometimes the fan and the light are connected at the fan, and that could be the cause of your problem if you have installed the fan and the light in the fan on different dual switches.

    You haven't mentioned the neutral, but I assume that the neutral is correctly connected to each light or fan.

    You haven't mentioned if you have a multi-wire branch circuit. Is there only one HOT coming into the switch box?
  6. jbfan74

    jbfan74 Electrical Contractor

    Jun 14, 2007
    Electrical Contractor
    Newnan, GA
    If you look at the pic. you posted, you will see the two screws that are close together. On the oppisite side of the switch, the screws wil be more toward the top and bottom. These are your load connections, and the screws that are close together are your line connections.
    Make sure all your hots feeding the switches connect to the screws close together. Make sure that the loads, lights, fans, etc. are connected to the screws on the other side!
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Why did you use a double switch for the final light, instead of a conventional single device switch? In essence, assuming everything else is proper, you connect the hot wire to both common terminals, (they are the ones close together with a jumper bar between them. Do not remove the jumper connection). Then you run your device wires to the darker screws on the other side, these are usually far apart. If you do this properly, there is no way for one switch to operate two devices.
  8. ms21117

    ms21117 New Member

    Aug 13, 2007
    Thanks- Bob yes the tab is there and intact. You mentioned the fan and light connected at the fan...and that made me think...there is a plug near the switches that I changed and when I took it out I noticed that the black and white wires were reversed (that is w/ grounding "hole" facing down - the white wire was on th right) When I put the new plug on I wired it I wonder if the previous owner "Jerry rigged" this wiring in some way???? I'll perform the tests you suggested and see what happens.....could the previous owner have back fed the circuit in some weird way??

    hj- I agree with you and the wiring you desribed (except that I have 2 double switches) is the way it is....

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