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Don Young Don Young is offline
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Default Can't figure this switch out... anyone help?

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I have a double gang box that has two single pole switches- each
switch controls one overhead light fixture. The switches were nasty
looking so I decided to swap them out. Unfortunately when I removed
them they just disintegrated before I could look at all the wires.
Now I am stuck trying to figure this circuit out.

Two 14/2 romex cables come into the box. Grounds are tied and
pigtailed- but not any of the other leads. However, there is a two
inch long white wire that was used as some sort of "jumper" between
the two switches. It's looped at both ends, so I know it was attached
to the switch's side terminals, as opposed to the rest of the wires
which used the switch's "push-in" terminals.

Fixture #1
One romex cable runs straight up to this light There is continuity
across the white and black as long as there is a bulb in the fixture.
I removed the fixture and verified there are no other wires up there.

Fixture #2
The other romex has a hot white and a non-hot black. The white lead
is not marked. If I connect a switch across these two wires, the
fixture that was controlled by it (before I messed everything up) will
work. I can't (easily) get at this fixture to see what other wires
may or may not be up there.

I can't understand how this was all setup to work properly & within
code. Assuming Fixture #2 has a neutral somewhere else besides that
box I am working in, where is the neutral for the other fixture?

As far as I can tell, you have determined that the #1 fixture socket is
connected across the leads of the switch cable but not whether the cable
runs directly from the fixture to the switch or whether either of these
conductors might in fact also be connected to a hot or neutral lead in
another box. I would use a test lamp with long leads to check whether either
lead, at the switch or at the fixture, is connected to a neutral or hot

I know you have discounted it but it would certainly seem most likely that
the neutral for that fixture was somehow connected to the ground if it was
working and has quit working only because of your work in the switch box. Of
course it is possible that something has come loose somewhere else.

Don Young