Electrical Issue

Can anyone shed some light in regard to the following situation:
I have a light outside controlled by one individual light switch. I also have a light in our dining room that is controlled by a separate individual light switch. When I turn on the switch for the light outside, that light is extremely dim. What is interesting is that our dining room light also turns on at the same time, although, it is also dim. This light switch should not be turning on our dining room light. Is the most likely scenario that something has been miswired? Just to clarify, when I turn on the dining room light switch, it only turns on the dining room light, so that works properly. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Hi, How long has it been like that? Since dining room light works OK, you have check wired connected to the outside light switch with meter.     
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
We had a standard light outside originally. It was taken off when we had some siding replaced. Just now did I finally install a new light, several months later. The previous light did not have this problem. The new light I installed uses two 150 Watt bulbs, and has a motion sensor. The wiring is as follows:
Black and Red wires from light go to Black wire from recepticle box White Wire from light goes to to White wire from recepticle box Ground to Ground
I did test the outside light switch with a meter and it's showing correct voltage.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Don't test it with a meter. Use a pigtail socket and an ordinary light bulb. You might want to check the installation instructions for the motion sensor, but I think that the black wire from the motion sensor goes to the black in the electrical box and the red wire gets connected to the light fixture black wire. There should also be a white wire from the motion sensor that should be connected to the other white wires.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The original way I wired the light was as follows:
Black wire to Black from box White wire to White from box Red wire was capped Ground to ground
However, this wiring scheme caused both the dining room light and outside light to flicker non-stop. Therefore, I uncapped the red wire and added it in with the black wires. Doesn't flicker now, but clearly it isn't working correctly.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

For now take the motion sensor out of the equation completely and just try to get the lights to work with the switch. You should confirm that the black wire is actually the hot and the white is really a connected neutral. Are there any other wires in the box?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I should have clarified that the motion sensor is part of the unit and cannot be removed. The manufacturer has everything wired between the motion sensor and lights. I will take a look at the black and white wires tomorrow to verify they are hot and neutral. The only wires coming out of the box are a black, white, and ground.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Trying connecting a temporary pigtail socket and bulb to the black and white and see what happens.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
First off, mm is right about the lights being in series. This could even be caused by just a loose connection on a neutral somewhere (the switch, for example) depending on how things are wired.
But my point is: did you even _read_ the instructions on your new light? And if you did, why don't you try _following_ them? You seem to think that if you just connect wires randomly, and the red wire in particular, you will stumble on the right configuration. Thirty seconds with the installation instructions will tell you the right thing to do with the red wire.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Were missing some wires here. You only discuss 5 wires above.
The red wire is the control wire that should FEED the outside light's black wire. The black wire from the wallbox (which comes from the Circuit Breaker) should feed the light switch. The other side of the light switch should be tied to the black wire from the motion detector.
So we have
motion detector red - light bulb black motion detector black - light switch leed A circuit panel black - light switch leed B motion detector white - light bulb white - circuit panel white - any other whites
your main issue will be understanding which black is from the circuit panel.
--
Thank you,



"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I am assuming that each light is on the same circuit breaker. I'm thinking that the outside light no longer has a neutral connection and the circuit is completed through the dining room light. With the outside switch on and both bulbs burning dim, if you were to unscrew the dining room light bulb does the light outside get brighter or go out completely?
Did the outside light ever work properly?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hi John,
Ok, this is really getting weird. I started taking bulbs out of my dining room light....there are 5 in all. After removing the first bulb, the outside light got really dim. Once I removed a second bulb, the outside light went out completely. As I put the bulbs back in, the outside light got brighter and brighter.....although it is still very dim compared to what it should be.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 5 Apr 2006 18:55:54 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

No, this all makes sense.
First, you didn't change the dining room wiring (except for connecting one wire to it, it will turn out) so the dining room switch works right.
But you did add the outside light. The simplest** explanation of how you wired it is Hot wire (black?); switch; outside light; junction box where you conected the second wire of the outside light to the wire that runs from the dining room light switch to the dining room light.**** Maybe you did this by putting two wires on the same screw, or maybe you used a pigtail, or maybe you the wire came from another box, and you didn't know it was from the dining room fixture. This is what you have to fix. Makeing a sketch of all the wires, including what collor they are and what they go to (IF you know) is the first step. Include where you think they go, even if your not sure, but put those labels in a different color.
****This would mean that when the outside light is on, the current runs through the outside light, then through the dining room light, and then to the neutral wire, or maybe to the ground. That's why each light is dim. Because there is twice as much resistance in the line, and roughtly speaking, half the current, and so each bulb is dimmer.
But its' not quite that becuase the dining room has more than one bulb, although they may be only 40 watts each, not the 100 watt you may be using outside. So every time you unscrew a dining room bulb, you increase the total resistance of the dining room, and even less current flows through the outside light. The outside light needs more current than the dining room lights, becuase the outside is 100 wattts, so it goes black first. But all the current going though the dining room lights is still going through the outside light. It's enough to make 40 watt lights glow, but altogether, it's still not enough to make the 100 watt light glow.
**Make a drawing of what I call the simplest. Then you can rearrange that drawing (while keeping things electircally the same***) until it more closely matches your situation, including wire colors, boxes, and everything.
***Electrically the same would include say, two wires running to the same switch, or the same light, but reversing the wires. So it would work the same but would look more like your situation. The same thing can happen when a whole bunch of things are in a row, but reversed, like the swtich and the outside fixture.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I am glad I read your post before replying; your idea is better than mine... That must be it. They are obviously in series, but I couldn't quite figure out how that could be.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    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.