I've not completely ruled that out, but fixtures I have seen with
pull chains do not appeal to me as things I want in my LR. I can
drill a hole and mount a pull switch on some other fixture, but if
I go with a fixture with a glass cover, as is likely, then I have
to run the chain somewhere else, rather than let gravity decide
where the chain ends. All that is what got me started down the
wireless remote route with which I started this question. For
now, I am hoping to find switched black wires in the switch.
You make one real good point I had not considered. I'd been
thinking that if I did go the pull chain route, then I would just
leave the switch in the On position. Pulling the switch,
attaching the wires and installing a blank plate over the hole
makes a lot more sense. No point in getting it turned off by
OK, I will check the switch out now. If that does not get me
where I want to go, and if looking around the box armed with my
new knowledge does not give me still more questions to ask here, I
may go back to my original plan of finding another way to turn
things off and on. I could remove the switch entirely and operate
whatever light fixture I ultimately install by either remote or
chain control, I guess.
Off to find my "neon" tester. I have a RatShack digital
multimeter somewhere (but where?!??) as well, but it sounds like
it won't really tell me any more than will the simple bulb.
Took way too long to find a tester, and it is getting late so I
will give up soon. Here is what I think I see so far. First,
there are a whole batch of white wires off to one side of the
switch box held together with a "nut." I do not see what they
do - they do not connect to the switch.
Second, there are two black wires twisted together part way back
in the box. This seems to be the source wire, since I get a neon
light with the switch on or off. A third 'jumper' wire is twisted
(poorly) onto those two wires. That jumper goes into the switch.
Third, there is another black wire that goes into the switch that
I do not see connected to anything else as I look deeper into the
box. I assume it is the switched wire.
Fourth, there is a large red nut just lieing loose in the box. I
will put it over the jumper twist.
Fifth, and I am not sure about this right now, there seems to be a
red wire off in the corner of the box. It does not seem to be
attached to anything, and to just sit there bare. What, if
anything, does that suggest? Will investigate further now, but
probably will not report back until tomorrow.
Sixth, I am under pressure to get off line, and will do so now.
I have time for one last followup:
A) Whoever twisted the black wires should be shot. I did them
much better, if not professionally.
B). The red wire is not connected to anything. The bare end does
not like it has ever been twisted or connected to anything. Is
this something I should be twisting into the source wire, on the
assumption that from there it goes on around the room to the
outlets that work only when the switch is on?
C) That's all for tonight. Hope to have time to play with the
switch tomorrow night, assuming you guys confirm the red needs to
join the twist.
That's the way it should be. Switches are strictly in the hot
side of the circuit, you should never be interrupting the
neutral wire with a switch. Bundled whites = good.
Yes, should be. You can confirm that by seeing your light
track the action of the switch.
Sunds like a good chance that's where it came from, if there
was no nut on that twisted mess.
Suggests that one of those cables coming into the box is a
14*-3 w/ground (it could be 12-3 w/g, for you nitpickers out
there) which is a piece of romex that carries two 120VAC
circuits. The Black and Red are the two hots, then there's
a White neutral and a bare ground.
That's entirely possible. Not practical, but possible.
!!! NO !!!
No. If it *IS* a live 2nd hot leg on the source
cable, you wil create a dead short across the 240V when you
touch it to the black, blow the breakers, and likely knock
yourself on your ass from the sparks and/or startling you'll
See, that's just it. Not to cop out on you now, but this
literally falls under the category of "I can't see it from
here" and all of the describing in the world can't take the
place of me bing able to eyeball it and start pulling other
cover plates, looking underneath that wall in the basement,
etc. Anything beyond what I'm about to say on the red wire
would be a total guess.
Your report so far says there is only one hot wire leaving
the switch. That means that somewhere in one of the duplex
boxes or maybe even in the light fixture box, the wire for
the outlet loop is attached to the switched hot intended for
the light fixture. That's just plain wrong, unless somebody
actually *wanted* the situation you have now.
Best advice I can give you is to:
a) test the end of the red wire to see if it lights the
tester. If so, it means it's hot. Screw a small (black)
wire nut on it and tuck it back into the box.
b) If by some chance there is no voltage on that empty red
wire, you may want to start pulling the outlets out of the
boxes and looking for a similar red wire in one of them.
Start with he ones physically closest to the switch.
In any case, DON'T connect it to anything until you're sure
where the other end of it goes!
c) If the red wire was cold, AND you found another loose red
wire in an outlet box, then we'll talk. But if not...
If the red wire WAS hot, either just go with your plan to
abandon the switch all together, or spend the cost of an
electrician for an hour to come in and fix it.
Baisez-les s'ils ne peuvent pas prendre une plaisanterie
Sorry to take so long getting back. It has been a busy weekend,
and I have barely had time to get the switch plate off. The red
wire is definitely NOT hot. NOt sure why, but it seems to me more
likely that if there is a loose red wire on the other end, it will
more likely be at the light fixture. Wherever it is I fear it
will be several more days before I get to look for it. Time seems
an increasingly scarce commodity.
Thanks for all the advice so far.
Take your time! lol
And actually, the red wire report is probably good news.
If the red wire wasn't hot, that means it's likely not on the
feeder cable coming in. IOW, It is *leaving* the box going
to either the light fixture or the start of the switch loop.
Once you figure out where the other end is, let me know, and
we'll take it from there.
LOL It's hard to walk away from a challenge, and you got me
hooked on this one.
Baisez-les s'ils ne peuvent pas prendre une plaisanterie
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.