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Old March 5th 06, 04:22 PM posted to alt.home.repair
John
 
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Default Why won't this light turn on?

I have a ceiling light in the hallway with two light switches (dipoles?). The
ceiling light has 4 bulbs. The other day the hallway light wouldn't turn on
with known good bulbs.

Not knowing anything about electricity I *assumed* that one of the switches
had to be defective so I replaced both on/off switches -- that didn't solve
the problem.

There's electricity in both boxes to other lamps so I know (think) that it's
not a circuit breaker problem.

Before proceeding any further (e.g. replace the lamp fixture), I bought a
simple current tester to see if there's any electricity in either of the
light switches.

Not knowing what/how to test, I put the test probes on each of the wires for
both switches in every conceivable configuration. The diode never glowed.

Beside laying out a few hundred dollars for an electrician to deign making
his royal appearance, what can I do first to resolve this problem?

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Old March 5th 06, 04:42 PM posted to alt.home.repair
Speedy Jim
 
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Default Why won't this light turn on?

John wrote:
I have a ceiling light in the hallway with two light switches
(dipoles?). The ceiling light has 4 bulbs. The other day the hallway
light wouldn't turn on with known good bulbs.
SNIP


Before you dig into it, study up he
http://www.wfu.edu/~matthews/courses/p230/switches.html

Jim
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Old March 5th 06, 04:42 PM posted to alt.home.repair
scott21230@gmail.com
 
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Default Why won't this light turn on?

"Not knowing anything about electricity I *assumed* that one of the
switches
had to be defective so I replaced both on/off switches -- that didn't
solve
the problem. "

Are you an auto mechanic by trade? From your above decribed behavior,
I'd say so.

Have you checked to see if any of your breakers have tripped? Include
any GFCI's in the house as well. You never know how many stupid things
someone before you may have done so, putting an inside light fixture on
a circuit after a bathroom or garage GFCI is certainly possible.

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Old March 5th 06, 05:08 PM posted to alt.home.repair
Tony Hwang
 
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Default Why won't this light turn on?

John wrote:

I have a ceiling light in the hallway with two light switches
(dipoles?). The ceiling light has 4 bulbs. The other day the hallway
light wouldn't turn on with known good bulbs.

Not knowing anything about electricity I *assumed* that one of the
switches had to be defective so I replaced both on/off switches -- that
didn't solve the problem.

There's electricity in both boxes to other lamps so I know (think) that
it's not a circuit breaker problem.

Before proceeding any further (e.g. replace the lamp fixture), I bought
a simple current tester to see if there's any electricity in either of
the light switches.

Not knowing what/how to test, I put the test probes on each of the wires
for both switches in every conceivable configuration. The diode never
glowed.

Beside laying out a few hundred dollars for an electrician to deign
making his royal appearance, what can I do first to resolve this problem?

Hi,
Brave man, sounds like you replaced switches without even bothering
turning off the breaker at the panel? You should've checked breaker for
the light fixture before anything else.
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Old March 5th 06, 05:29 PM posted to alt.home.repair
John
 
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Default Why won't this light turn on?

Tony Hwang wrote:
John wrote:

I have a ceiling light in the hallway with two light switches
(dipoles?). The ceiling light has 4 bulbs. The other day the hallway
light wouldn't turn on with known good bulbs.

Not knowing anything about electricity I *assumed* that one of the
switches had to be defective so I replaced both on/off switches --
that didn't solve the problem.

There's electricity in both boxes to other lamps so I know (think)
that it's not a circuit breaker problem.

Before proceeding any further (e.g. replace the lamp fixture), I
bought a simple current tester to see if there's any electricity in
either of the light switches.

Not knowing what/how to test, I put the test probes on each of the
wires for both switches in every conceivable configuration. The diode
never glowed.

Beside laying out a few hundred dollars for an electrician to deign
making his royal appearance, what can I do first to resolve this problem?


Hi,
Brave man, sounds like you replaced switches without even bothering
turning off the breaker at the panel? You should've checked breaker for
the light fixture before anything else.


Brave I am not. I turned off one breaker at a time until the other lights in
the same box turned off before swapping out the switch. I didn't trust the
labels at the breakers.
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Old March 5th 06, 05:34 PM posted to alt.home.repair
Rich256
 
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Default Why won't this light turn on?

John wrote:
wrote:
"Not knowing anything about electricity I *assumed* that one of the
switches
had to be defective so I replaced both on/off switches -- that didn't
solve
the problem. "

Are you an auto mechanic by trade? From your above decribed behavior,
I'd say so.


Auto mechanic? Bummer. No, a software engineer.


Have you checked to see if any of your breakers have tripped? Include
any GFCI's in the house as well. You never know how many stupid things
someone before you may have done so, putting an inside light fixture on
a circuit after a bathroom or garage GFCI is certainly possible.


I first checked all the breakers and GFCIs. They're fine. When I turn a
breaker on/off, it affects all the other lights in the box. Curiously,
the switches are on two different breakers. Before starting to replace
the second light switch, I was fortunate to accidentally flip another
switch in the box and to my shock, the light turned on. I found the
other breaker and turned it off.

How do I use the tester to verify that there's power coming into the
light switches? If it was a single switch, I wouldn't be asking such a
lame question.



Did you look at the site referenced by Speedy Jim?

http://www.wfu.edu/~matthews/courses/p230/switches.html


What you have is the three way switch configuration. Did you replace
the switched with the proper type (Three way)?

The four lamps are in parallel.
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Old March 5th 06, 05:51 PM posted to alt.home.repair
John
 
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Default Why won't this light turn on?

Rich256 wrote:

John wrote:

wrote:

"Not knowing anything about electricity I *assumed* that one of the
switches
had to be defective so I replaced both on/off switches -- that didn't
solve
the problem. "

Are you an auto mechanic by trade? From your above decribed behavior,
I'd say so.



Auto mechanic? Bummer. No, a software engineer.


Have you checked to see if any of your breakers have tripped? Include
any GFCI's in the house as well. You never know how many stupid things
someone before you may have done so, putting an inside light fixture on
a circuit after a bathroom or garage GFCI is certainly possible.



I first checked all the breakers and GFCIs. They're fine. When I turn
a breaker on/off, it affects all the other lights in the box.
Curiously, the switches are on two different breakers. Before starting
to replace the second light switch, I was fortunate to accidentally
flip another switch in the box and to my shock, the light turned on.
I found the other breaker and turned it off.

How do I use the tester to verify that there's power coming into the
light switches? If it was a single switch, I wouldn't be asking such
a lame question.




Did you look at the site referenced by Speedy Jim?

http://www.wfu.edu/~matthews/courses/p230/switches.html


I'm looking at it now. I don't quite understand it yet. It'll take a bit of
time to sink in.


What you have is the three way switch configuration. Did you replace
the switched with the proper type (Three way)?


Yes, I bought identical replacements and when I replaced the wires, I swapped
them in the identical configuration.


The four lamps are in parallel.


Oh, when I took the lamp down I thought it was in series. One wire led to
the next like in an Xmas tree.

Let me ask the question just one last time: How do I use the tester to see
if there's any power reaching the switch to begin with?
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Old March 5th 06, 06:42 PM posted to alt.home.repair
Sev
 
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Default Why won't this light turn on?

Yes, do be careful. It sounds like there is break in the circuit at
some point before power arrives at the switch. You say you tested
every possible configuration of wires and diode didn't light. Tester
itself is good, yes? Check on known good receptacle, hot(small slot)
to neutral or ground. Then with power on(wear gloves), check at each
screw terminal of switches to any ground- bare wire in box or box
itself if metal. If diode doesn't light, switches aren't getting power.
You will have to trace circuit to see how they are fed. If you are
lucky, you may see an obvious loose wire in one of these adjacent
boxes. But since you say some of these appear to be on a different
circuit, the break may be in a switch/ recep/ junction box in a nearby
location. Can you identify everything which is affected when when you
turn circuit off? The problem could be in one of these boxes.
Actually, I'm now wondering if you are right when you say things are on
different circuit- you mustn't rely totally on labels at panel- only
trust what you test. Hope this helps a little- do consider getting
someone more knowledgeable to help- even a pro- might not be as much
as you think

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Old March 5th 06, 06:58 PM posted to alt.home.repair
Sev
 
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Default Why won't this light turn on?

Is it storytime? My older bro was very mechanically inclined- still is-
half of the little I know I learned from him. As a kid, he fooled with
transformers, too. Told me of occasionally getting shocked. At age 5, I
was jealous of this gap in my experience, decided to close it by
carefully sticking something metal in outlet. Oh! so that's what he
was talking about.



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