Wiring question

I am changing out two adjacent light switches and came across a wiring challenge that I'm hoping someone can help me with. Please forgive me in advance for my lack of proper terminology...
The first switch is connected at the top screw to a black wire, and at the bottom screw to an older wire with brown cloth insulation.
The second switch is connected at the top and the bottom to the same type of brown-cloth insulated wires. However, at the bottom screw, there are two wires attached to the one screw, one of which is the same wire attached to the bottom screw of the first switch (?!).
This can't be good, right? Can I fix this on my own, or is it time to call in an electrician?
Many thanks for your help!
Kimberly
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Switches will have the same color wire on both sides. They interrupt the hot wire which is nowadays the black wire. The brown-cloth wire is just an old old wire type. (maybe so old you might consider getting AFCI breakers).
When you say 'fix', what exactly is broken? If your just changing the switches, be very careful as the older wire and especially its insulation can be very very brittle.
--
Thank you,



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If I understand you correctly, You probably have a hot connected to one side (the bottom) both switches and then a wire from the other side (the top) of each switch to the device it controls. This is quite normal.
Switch 1     |------/ --------- To device 1     -----| |------/ ---------- To device 2         Switch 2        
On 20 Feb 2006 18:17:38 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

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Thanks for your help. So it is normal for the "hot" wire on device 1 to be coming from device 2? To clarify, it appears that I have 2 "hot" wires connected to device 2... one from the "source" and one that connects to device 1.
My problem is that I don't see any way that I can successfully connect the two wires into the one bottom "screw" on device 2 as they were on the "old" device 2. There is just not room for them to both fit under the screw, b/c the screw will only un-screw so far. Is this making any sense? Again, thanks for your patience.
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You shouldn't put two wires under one screw. The proper way to make the connection is to pigtail them together under a wirenut, so in your case you would have the feed wire and the bottom wires from each switch connected together under a wirenut

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On 20 Feb 2006 19:28:02 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Does that switch have 3 screws? If so don't disconnect anything until you have all the wires identified as to where they came from.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Well whatever the hot wire touches becomes hot as well. So you have one hot wire doing to device 2 from the source. Then you have a wire going from that screw onto device 1.
The replacement for this is like so. One hot wire comes from the source. You attach two new black wires into a wirenut with that 'source' wire. Now you have 3 wires in this wirenut, 1 feed, 2 output. Then each out goes to a light switch
source ---------- NUT ------- out 1 ------- out 2
out 1 ------- switch 1 out 2 ------- switch 2

Well sometimes switches will have a screw connection as well as a small hole that you stick the wire into. If your switch has both, then you dont have to put both wires on the screw. One wire can go into the hole. But the above technique is probably simpler than the hole technique if you don't know about the hole.
--
Thank you,



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dnoyeB wrote:

Thanks very much for your help. That makes perfect sense. Can the older type insulated wires go into the hole? For some reason I thought they had to be attached at the screw.
Otherwise I will just attach two new black wires as suggested.
Thank you!
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I cant say if they can or not. Depends on the wire type and gauge. Id probably put the old wire on the screw. But be gentle.
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On 20 Feb 2006 19:28:02 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I think it would be better expressed that a hot wire is going to switch 2 and from there to swtich 1. Look at Nospam's drawing and imagine that the wire that goes off to the left joins the other wires further down, before it gets to swtich 2, rather than between 1 and 2. Electically, it is the same. Only physically is it any different.

How do you know, why does it appear that you have two hot wires to device 2, that is switch 2. You would have to turn OFF switch 2 and use a meter to measure the voltage at each of the wires, between it and the metal box if it is metal, or some other neutral or ground.
If one of the wires is hot, when the switch is ON, both will be.
Does each swtich work? It turns something on and off, and doesn't do anything it shouldn't? If yes, then the odds are very high that there is no problem.

This part is a problem, and RBM gives the soluton.
Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let me know if you have posted also.
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