I have a ceiling light with 2 separate on -off wall switches. (called a
2 or 3 way system). Switches worked fine but I decided to purchase a
dimmer switch for it. I purchased the correct dimmer (it was for a 2/3
way circuit). The on-off switch I removed had a ground, two red wires
and a black wire - same as on the replacement dimmer unit. I connected
up the matching wires. Now the un altered on-off switch must be "on"
for the dimmer unit to work. I suspected crossed wires so I switched
the two red wires on the dimmer unit with the two red wires in the
outlet. No difference. What is going on?
If electrical work was as easy as connecting matching color wires together
my job would be a lot easier.
The old 3-way switch that you removed had three screw terminals on it. Two
of those terminals were of the same color and the third was a different
color such as black or red. The wire from the odd terminal is the one that
should have been put on the black wire of the 3-way dimmer. It seems that
one of the red wires in the wall box is what gets connected to the black
wire of the dimmer. Connect the black wire from the box to one of the red
wires on the dimmer and forget about it. Now connect one of the red wires
from the box to the black wire on the dimmer and then connect the remaining
red wire from the box to the remaining red wire on the dimmer. Try it out.
If that doesn't work reverse the red wires. If it still doesn't work, post
back and we'll have to identify each wire and start over.
The wire in the wall box that goes to the black wire on the dimmer is
the important one.
The one that is on the black wire now is not it.
Try one of the other ones. If it doesn't work then the last one has
to be it.
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