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Thread: Electricians-How do I hook up a dimmer switch?

  1. #1
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    Question Electricians-How do I hook up a dimmer switch?

    I need to install a dimmer switch in my dining room.(Well I don't really need to but I've been told to) The light is controlled by two separate switches & I will install the dimmer in one of them.
    My current switch has 2 black wires, one red wire and one bare ground wire hooked up to it.
    The dimmer I bought has 2 red wires, one black wire & a green wire(the instructions say the green is the ground, so I know how to connect that)
    Anyone know how I should connect the other 3 wires?
    Thanks
    Dennis

  2. #2
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    Dennis,
    There should be instructions in the box or on the box that the dimmer switch came in. If you can't find help here go to Google and type in how to hook up a dimmer switch.
    David B

  3. #3
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    Dennis, sounds like you have a 3 way light control (two switches, one light) so a dimmer may not work at all. Or at least not without some extra wiring and another wall socket. You might look to see if there is a dimmer that will replace a 3 way switch...I've never seen one, but then I haven't looked for one either.
    Sparky, we need a sparky here!! Someone with proper knowledge will be along shortly with a good answer. Jim.
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  4. #4
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    Dennis,
    You will hook up the two red wires to the "Runners" or "Travellers". Different people call them different names. In your case, the 2 reds wires hook up to one red and one black. The black wire in your electrical box will be going to your light or a power supply. Hook that black to the black wire on the switch. Hope this helps.......
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  5. #5

    Dimmers

    Dennis,

    You can't use a standard dimmer, you need a three-way dimmer. There should be a wiring diagram or instructions in the box it comes in.

    They are pretty common. One other thing, make sure you kill power to the circuit before attempting to install the dimmer (three-way or standard) as the surge of hooking up hot can destroy the electronics in the dimmer.

    Good luck.

  6. #6
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    If his dimmer switch has 3 wires on it, it is a 3-way switch. A single pole dimmer would have only 2 wires.
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  7. x2 on Jim's post.

    In addition, be careful what you try to dim, AFAIK compact fluorescents are still not dimmable. Incandescent only

  8. #8
    Turn off breaker feeding this circuit.

    Sounds like you have already purchased a 3 way dimmer, should say for sure on the package/box. The wires that were connected to your old switch could be one of several color configurations. When working with a 3way switch arrangement, always look at how the wires are attached to the old switch. Most 3way switches have two like colored screws, and one odd. It can be 2 silver colored screws and one black, or 2 brass colored and one silver, etc. The two like colored screws are the travelers. The wires that were there on your old switch would be connected to the red wires on your new dimmer switch. The wire that was connected to the odd screw on the old switch would connect to the black. Bare wire is of course ground.

    If you cant remember what wire went where, go to the other switch, pop off the switch plate and look at the colors on the two like colored screws, should be the same for the other end.

    Make sure the power is off, not just for safety, but some electronic dimmers can be damaged by connecting while energized.


    HTH!
    Matt

  9. #9
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    Smile Dimmer is Done!

    Well I installed the dimmer & everything worked the first time. In the course of the installation I had to shut off the breaker, none of which the electrician had labeled. I have about 40 breakers & the very first one I tried was the right one, as they say a small miracle. This must be my lucky day,I think I'm going to go out & buy a lottery ticket .
    Thanks for all your help
    Dennis

  10. #10
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    Dennis,
    Did you mark the breaker so you will identify it the next time you need to shut it off?
    Glad everything went well on your installation.
    David B

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dennis thompson View Post
    Well I installed the dimmer & everything worked the first time. In the course of the installation I had to shut off the breaker, none of which the electrician had labeled. I have about 40 breakers & the very first one I tried was the right one, as they say a small miracle. This must be my lucky day,I think I'm going to go out & buy a lottery ticket .
    Thanks for all your help
    Dennis
    Sorry, you already used your luck up. Lottery ticket will be a bust. BTDT!! Jim.
    Coolmeadow Setters...Exclusively Irish! When Irish Eyes are smiling....They're usually up to something!!
    Home of Irish Setter Rescue of North Texas.
    No, I'm not an electrician. Any information I share is purely what I would do myself. If in doubt, hire an electrician!
    Member of the G0691 fan club!
    At a minimum, I'm Pentatoxic...Most likely I'm a Pentaholic. There seems to be no known cure. Pentatonix, winners of The Sing Off, s3.

  12. #12
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    David
    I did mark the breaker, now I only have 39 more to figure out
    Dennis

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