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Posted: Oct 21, 2009 9:57 am
I need some help here. I tried installing a round/push button dimmer switch and a light yesterday, this is how I did it and this is what happened.

1. Turned off breaker
2. Opened already installed wall plug unit and attached new wire to existing.
3. Ran wire about five feet and connected to dimmer switch.
4. Ran another wire up the wall and over and connected to light.
5. Turned on breaker switch.

The light came on immediately and I was happy. I went over to the dimmer switch and tried to dim down the light. Nothing happened. I pushed the dimmer button in to turn off the light and tripped the breaker.
I repeated this and kept tripping the breaker.

Any ideas? I need to chain up 3 more lights to the first one I installed
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 10:01 am
You need to call an electrician.
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 10:05 am
Thanks Scott. That's exactly what I am trying to avoid but thanks for your input.
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 11:01 am
You are creating a short circuit when you push the dimmer button in. You wired it wrong.

Also the dimmer is probably fried now and won't dim anything.

Posted: Oct 21, 2009 11:06 am
Hmm. I double checked everything before I initially turned the breaker on and double checked everything again afterwards. It all seemed to match up just fine.
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 11:18 am
Electrical work and dentistry are best left to a professional.
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 11:22 am
Thanks carney... but I can do this and cannot afford to hire an electrician. I am close. Maybe throw some ideas this way so I can get it to work later tonight.
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 11:33 am | Edited by: Womb Raider
seriously, wiring is not rocket science. I basically wired my entire house by myself, and my rumpus room/shed too. This dimmer switch should just have two black wires going in and out of it, attached to the gold screws. if the wires coming from the outlet have a ground (unshielded copper), you can screw that into the green screw on the dimmer. same goes for a ground wire coming from the lighting if it exists (won't on older houses).

your white wires should be connected with a wire nut in the box with the dimmer switch.

if the light comes on when you turn on the breaker it makes me think you have some kind of 3 way dimmer switch that is hooked up incorrectly. since it's probably already fried, I would go out and get a simple 2 pole 1 way dimmer.
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 11:35 am
2. Opened already installed wall plug unit and attached new wire to existing.

I think this is your problem. You should have ran the wire directly from the main box, or at least from a junction box.
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 11:41 am
I think this is your problem. You should have ran the wire directly from the main box, or at least from a junction box.

not necessarily. you can make junctions in an outlet box.
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 11:41 am
Thanks for the help.

The box I ran from should work just fine according to my electrician friend who told me to do it this way.

There is no ground in that box but there is now that I installed the wire run. I left that ground off. I ran that wire to the dimmer. The dimmer is like you mentioned. Two black wires, one green. From what I've read, it makes no difference as to which black wires you connect your hot or neutral wires to. I even switched them after the first breaker trip and it had the same effect.

The dimmer switch is the most basic and cheap round knob type switch rated at 600watts. The one light I had connected is 50, and when said and done it will be 4 of them, totaling 200 watts.
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 11:52 am | Edited by: Womb Raider
a black wire should not be connected to a white wire, period. and you should never attach a white wire to a light switch.

from what you describe it sounds to me like you have the two black wires attached to the same terminal (screw) on the dimmer, and a white wire attached to the other terminal. with that configuration your lights would always be on, and when the switch is turned on, the current goes straight through the switch to the white, causing a short.

even if you fix the short, the dimmer is probably not going to dim. happened to me once with a nice, $20 sliding dimmer.
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 11:58 am | Edited by: spazZ
Ok, so this is what I have.

From outlet I am connecting to using 12-2 Romex.

The romex has 3 wires: White (neutral), Black (hot) and Green (ground).
In the outlet I connected the White to the white, black to the black and let the ground be for now.

I ran the wire to the switch.

The switch has two black wires and one green (ground) wire.
I connected the white wire to a black wire, and the black wire to the other black wire and the ground to the ground.

What are you saying I need to do exactly?
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 11:59 am | Edited by: Womb Raider
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 12:01 pm
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 12:11 pm
Hah, ok, I think that makes sense. So I need to continue my neutral wire all the way to the light fixture without connecting it to the switch?

The two black wires on the switch are only for the hot, eh?

hmm.. makes more sense now.
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 12:14 pm | Edited by: greg O
Power in, power out. A neutral never connects to anything but a neutral. The black wire from your outlet(receptacle) connects to one black wire from your switch. The other black wire from your switch connects to the black wire that runs on over to your light. White to white always unless someone has hijacked it and is using it as a (hot).
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 12:15 pm
Perfect. Exactly what I needed to hear. Womb and Greg, thanks for your input. Much appreciated.

Would you reckon my dimmer is shot now?
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 12:17 pm
I can build build build but when it comes to electrical work, I have never really touched it. There is always time to learn something new.

Posted: Oct 21, 2009 12:27 pm
Would you reckon my dimmer is shot now?

probably, but it wouldn't hurt to try it out first and see if it still works.
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 12:33 pm
Did you put batteries in it?
Use a lyden jar for that warm analog feel.
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 1:00 pm
If this is for your studio and you're using a regular off-the-shelf dimmer it WILL cause noise in any audio gear...even if the dimmer is on it's own circuit.
To avoid that you'll need to run completely seperate tech power for the gear.
Either that or go out and spend big bucks on some serious industrial rheostats.
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 1:06 pm
Gear and lights will be on different breakers if that means anything.
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 1:08 pm
Ooops, I just re-read your post. hmm...
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 1:10 pm
On a side note, I recorded in there a few weeks ago and had very minimal to no-noise. Is it just a dimmer that causes that?
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 1:16 pm
run completely seperate tech power for the gear.

and what do you mean by this?
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 2:26 pm | Edited by: Luke Warm
Dimmers are often just kind of a nightmare cuz they cause noise in gear, they make the lights buzz and they hum themselves. But anything that's not part of the audio rig can cause noise...even if it's on a seperate circuit.
Ideally you'd want two breaker boxes from the main feed into your building. One for gear, one for everything else. And then there's additional transformers and whatnot that should be added to the tech power to make sure that it's well-isolated. Admittedly I'd don't know all the details cuz I've always had the luxury of having an electrician on the studio builds I've worked on.
At RSA we moved into a prebuilt room that doesn't have tech power so we just got a big beefy power conditioner for the gear. And instead of dimmers, we just have lamps so we can turn off the overheads and vary up the lighting mojo as needed.
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 2:44 pm
Ahh. I do have a power conditioner but not one as beefy as that. I guess I'll just go with a normal switch for these overhead can lights.
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 2:52 pm | Edited by: spazZ
btw... this is a low budget build. I am doing everything myself (mostly). It's more or less just a fun project.
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 3:12 pm
this is a low budget build. I am doing everything myself (mostly). It's more or less just a fun project.

I completely understand...I built one of those myself...and the dimmers were nothing but trouble. Unfortunately it never got finished since it was in my friend's house and he needed the space for the newborn.
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 3:26 pm
Awesome. Hey, do you have more photos of any studio projects you've worked on? I like looking at them, especially the low-budget ones.
Posted: Oct 21, 2009 6:13 pm
You're a nothing but trouble.
Posted: Oct 22, 2009 8:00 am
I forget the name at the moment, but there is a kind of dimmer that uses a different kind of resistance to dim. They don't cause as much noise. They cost about twice as much though.
Posted: Oct 22, 2009 8:08 am
I have a semi-expensive dimmer ($20-30) in my bedroom and it is definitely superior to a cheapo one. I haven't plugged any amps into the circuit or anything, but with those cheap dimmers you can actually hear a high pitched whining noise coming from the lights. There is also less "flicker" in the light itself.

I don't cut corners when it comes to "setting the mood."
Posted: Oct 22, 2009 8:57 am
It's probably on account of some squirrels chewing through the junction box.
--Jack Burton
Posted: Oct 22, 2009 9:19 am
Alright, I re-wired this shit the right way last night. Dimmer wouldn't dim but it would go on and off without tripping the breaker, so I removed it and installed a regular switch. If I feel I really need to, I'll put in an expensive dimmer at some point.
Posted: Oct 22, 2009 4:09 pm
photos of any studio projects
Not exactly low budget but...
Music + Arts studio ...bad name for a studio...but nice place!
Posted: Oct 22, 2009 8:12 pm
Dimmers are often just kind of a nightmare cuz they cause noise in gear, they make the lights buzz and they hum themselves.

no shit. whatever happened to throwing semi-sheer scarves over lamps and watching the incense smoke swirl around the room while you track and mix?
Posted: Oct 22, 2009 9:15 pm
... as the scarves check fire and the studio burns to the ground. didn't somebody write a song about this?
Posted: Oct 25, 2009 10:24 pm
I don't belong here in this thread.
Posted: Oct 26, 2009 10:10 am
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