Wiring problem

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Using 12 guage 2-wire, I installed a four gang box with a 2-gang plug and a dual switch to control 2 separate lights. I initially wired directly to the plug which tested showed wired properly. Next is where I started running into problems (here, my lack of basic wiring is my downfall). My ground are pigtailed. I ran hot black on the hot plug to hot on the dual switch. Ran white common from the receptacle to common on the dual switch. Ran both lights whites to the common on the dual switch. When I closed the circuit, saw one of the lights was on with both switches in the off position. When I threw on of the switches, the breaker opened.
Somebody out there has got to know better! I refuse to call an electrician. I've wired a significant portion of my house. I am not ashamed to admit I need help! 1. Where did I go wrong? 2. How do I fix it? Most simple solution, with step by step directions would be appreciated.
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Step 1-- Call an electrician
Step 2-- learn what is a common wire and what is a neutral wire.
The neutral wire does not go to a switch. It goes to one side of the lamp socket. From the other side of the socket a wire goes to one of the switches. The common side of the switch goes to the hot wire.
Did not see it mentioned on where you hooked up the hot wires that go to the lights.
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You never hook a neutral to a switch.
The dual switch has a common (common is not neutral) side where the 2 screws are bridged by a metal tab. That side is where the hot wire from the outlet goes. (If the tab has been broken off then you would need 2 hot wires). The 2 screws on the other side (non bridged side) are where you connect the hots going up to the 2 lights. The neutrals, 1 from each light, would be connected together and to the neutral from the power source (outlet). Kevin
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Did that, thanks. Wiring 1 2 3 from Home Depot confirmed your suggestion.
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"My lack of basic wiring is my downfall" "I've wired a significant portion of my house"
These statements would lead me to believe where the problem lies. Get an electrician to look at the ENTIRE house.
Doug
snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

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Thanks for your vote of confidence. I hadn't had to to do any wiring like this before.
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

I have to agree with the others who are suggesting to get an electron to check out all the work you have done.
" Somebody out there has got to know better! I refuse to call an electrician. I've wired a significant portion of my house. I am not ashamed to admit I need help!"
That statement does not create confidence in your abilities. Electrical work can be dangerous now and even if it works it can turn into a danger for someone later who makes the mistake of assuming it was done right.
You are in over your head. Get a pro. It is cheaper in the long run.
Not many of us are going to offer any other advice as there is just too many other things that you might have done and don't know enough to ask about.
Note, that there is a mix here of those who earn their livings doing this kind of work and many others who do not, but do know enough to give some advice. We are not suggesting this because we believe that everyone needs to be a pro to do the work, but anyone who really does not understand it should not be allowed to do the work.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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Have a cousin that I helped rewire garage and added 200amp panel. He is a journeyman and a supervisor. Try patience when correcting others. IF I didn't want to get it right I wouldn't have asked. I suggest you not go into teaching. Thanks anyway.
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

I was not trying to be insulting, I was trying to express how important and potentially dangerous this could be. I do appreciate you want to get this right, but I believe it is not possible to address all the possible issues in a news group environment to assure a safe situation.
In my professional career I did instruct many of my employees and there were times that I had to say as much to them. They were not stupid or bad people, but they were in over their head based on their experience. I believe that is were you are. You clearly are not stupid or unwilling to learn, but what you want to do is just not safe for you to do at this time.
I suggest (and I should have noted this in my original response) that you pick up a homeowner's guide to electrical work and spend some time with it. However for now, I still suggest that you call in the professional to make sure what is currently being done is done right.
What would you tell a man who asked what kind of saw to use for DIY brain surgery?
--
Joseph Meehan

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I disagree. He started doing the wiring without knowing what he was doing, and sought help and edification only *AFTER* the wiring he put in his house failed in a way that he couldn't figure out and couldn't live with. That *IS* stupid.
If he'd sought help and/or read the damn wiring 123 book BEFORE trying to burn his house down, then he wouldn't have had this problem in the first place.
The fact that he's willing to just wing it and seek help only when a problem manifests itself makes him a threat to every person who enters his house, because sometimes the first manifestation of a problem is 120VAC across someone's thorax.
House wiring is not a Learn-as-you-go hobby. It's learn first, THEN go.
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I agree that someone who is not in the trade should take the time to do their homework first before attempting to do any wiring. The risks to life and property are just too great and someone who has never seen an electrical fire or a person getting hurt is clueless to the danger. Even professionals have accidents. I am asked on occasion by homeowners if I think they can do their own wiring. My first response is to ask if they think I could do their job without any training or experience?
I can honestly say that a good part of my repair business comes from homeowners who bought their houses from do-it yourselfers. I recently did work for a couple who told me that they would never buy another house from someone who claimed to do the home improvements himself. When the real estate agent tells them that the owner did his own improvements they run away.
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

RANT MODE ON IT ISN'T JUST COLOR TO COLOR PEOPLE! You cannot do safe, competent, nor cost effective electrical work without taking the time to actually learn the craft. IF YOU CANNOT OR WILL NOT TAKE THAT TIME THEN KEEP YOUR HANDS OUT OF ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT AND KEEP YOUR "THOUGHTS" ABOUT HOW IT SHOULD BE DONE TO YOUR SELF! Incompetent advice is a bigger danger than incompetent work because the bad advise can cause dozens of hazards in multiple places instead of just one or two in one place. I have plenty of experience suppressing and reporting fires of electrical origin, injuries caused by electric shock, and deaths by electrocution. I AND THE REST OF THE NATIONS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE DO NOT NEED OR DESIRE ANY MORE! rant mode off.
--
Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous
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The neutral (white) NEVER, EVER get attached to a switch!
If you don't understand why get some help, read a book & get someone to check ALL of the work you've done!
Lots of folks "out there" know how to fix your problem, but its a little hard to see from here. IMO way to complicated to diagonose & direct over the net.
You refuse to call an electrician?
Well, put the fire dept & paramedics on speed dial instead.
cheers Bob
snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

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switch; what would go to the light?
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Some people seem to like their fixtures hot- even when the switch is off.
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I expect many here have encountered that kind of wiring at one time or another.
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You are an honest man. Bravo for your honesty. I did get it figured out.
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The first 3-way switch wiring I ever saw had both hot and neutral connected to the switches, and the light wired between the common terminals. It worked fine, although that was before I learned about it not being safe.
Don't do this: switch 1 switch 2 -----------*-------------------------------* H \\ *---------light-----------------* N \\ -----------*-------------------------------*
The light can be off, and still hot.
--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

I say go for it m8. If you breakers are working the worst that can happen is you blow up your switch :) Maybe shock yourself a few times. Burn the wall a bit.
Anyway, try drawing a diagram or posting a picture thenyou get good advice. If you followed wiring 1-2-3 from home depot, what dont you understand?
Throwing a switch should have no way to open a breaker. A light switch will only have _black_ wire connected to it, so there is no way it can open a breaker. The black wire is the hot wire. You say you ran the 'whites to the common on the dual switch.' That is just wrong.
When you say dual switch, are you talking about a 3-way switch? Whats a dual switch. maybe a home depot link?
--
Thank you,



"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor
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wrote:

I'd call a "dual switch" 2 half-size switches that fit in the space of one receptacle. You don't connect neutral to that either.
--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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