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Richmond 500 grid dimmer switch keeps failing

I have installed a 3 gang grid dimmer, with 12 spots on one switch (grid 750w), 6 on another (500w) and 9 on another (500w). The dimmer with the 9 spots has blown twice. once without warning and then a light bulb exploded and the switch wont work anymore. Any ideas on how to fix without replacing the dimmer for the second time in 3 weeks?

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In addition to an individual rating per dimmer, these dimmers have a total recommended rating based on the size of grid used. Assuming you've got three in a double box - the total combined load is 1000W of tungsten or 700W of LV fittings. It looks to me like your trying to dim too much in a limited space and generating too much heat.

Posted on May 28, 2009

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Also look at what your dimming, if it's gu10 lamps these can downrate your dimmer by as much as 50% in some cases. Check with the manufacturer to be sure.
And the above post is right, you'r way overheating the dimmers.
Look intogetting a remote pack, or for a cheaper option replace lamps with a lower wattage e.g 35w.

Posted on Feb 26, 2010

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Too much load? Disconnect some spots and see what happens.

Posted on Feb 02, 2009

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This dimmer switch was installed in the early 1990's. A 12-3 AWG wire is the power source and the dimmer is 10-3 AWG. Two red wires one black

Oh, look! a THIRD question on the dimmer from William!

Yeah, I was wondering about the 10 gauge wire. It means you have a SERIOUSLY "Big" switch, capable of "dimming" a load the equivilent of a Milk-house Electric Heater.

If you are set on replacing it, just choose one rated 500 or 600 watts in the style you prefer. Believe it or not, the wires on the replacement will likely be 14 gauge, tops.

Personally, I like the ones that have the toggle itself as the dimmer, my second choice has a little "slider" next to the toggle (it keeps a "preset" dim for you). but there are maybe a dozen-plus variations.

If you do replace it, SAVE that puppy - it is very very likely good, (the replacement switch will likely get exactly as warm in use) and would cost a LOT to buy a new one of the same rating. It "might come in handy someday", like when you want to put a dimmer on fifteen 100 watt bulbs out in the garage!

Have fun, and good luck, William!

Jan 22, 2015 | Dimmers

1 Answer

Dimmer lights installed but go out after 10 minutes?

Hi Frederick,

I'm an electrician and would like to help you solve this problem. I have several questions to ask to help narrow down the cause.

Is this switch installed in the same box as another dimmer switch?

Did you need to modify the heat sync fins to fit the switch into the box?

Was this dimmer recently installed to replace a switch or old dimmer? If so, what was there before?

How many bulbs and their correscponding wattage and type (incandescent, compact fluorescent, etc.) are being controlled by the dimmer?

Is there any non-lighting load connected (paddle fan, etc.)?

Can you provide the dimmer manufacturer's name & model of the dimmer? You said you have a "2 way" dimmer and there is no such beast - I suspect that you have a 3 way dimmer.

Without answers to the above - I suspect either an excessive heat issue due to overloading or ganging of several dimmers in one large box or improper use of the dimmer controlling a motor or other non-lighting or non-dimmable load.

Leave a comment with the answers and I can help pinpoint the problem.

Feb 28, 2013 | Dimmers

1 Answer

I need a wiring diagram for a Cooper 6482 dual control

Hi John,

I'm an electrician and can help you with this question.

The *best* way to plan for this fixture is to install a "3-wire" cable (romex, bx, etc.) designated as "14-3" where "14" is the size of the conductors and "3" is the number of insulated conductors. A "three wire" cable consists of 3 insulated conductors (white, black & red) and an uninsulated or bare conductor. Sometimes, you may find that the cable has 4 insulated conductors and instead of a bare conductor it will be covered with green or green with a yellow stripe insulation. This 4th wire is the ground wire (insulated or not). Either type of cable is acceptable for use.

By installing a 3 wire cable, you will not be required to use a "special switch" or an "RF switch" which are often much more expensive to purchase and more involved to install. You can use two independent switches, consisting of a variable dimmer for the light and a speed controller for the fan, simple "snap" or "toggle" switches or any combination of both if you install into a "2 ganged box". If you opt to install a single gang box, your switches will be needed to be on a single strap (often called duplex switches) and your choces for control will become limited - and likely more expensive, too.

If you run a 3 wire cable, you can install your choice of switches, if you install only a 2 wire cable, you will be forced to use special switches or a standard switch and a pull chain on the fixture (this option is only available to you if there is a constant power source at the fixture). It will cost a little more for the 3 wire cable, but it will provide the most flexibility when selecting fans / switches.

I hope this was helpful & good luck!

Feb 26, 2013 | Dimmers

1 Answer

Lutron dimmer switch # D1500 1500 120vac Voltage to switch is OK but lights(8 100watts) do not go on.

I can't locate the Lutron D1500 dimmer switch on Lutron web site. Perhaps there is a different number for it.

Anyway, you are attempting to dim a total of 800 watts of light. A standard dimmer switch will not handle this much of a load as they are rated for 600 watts. A 1000 dimmer is the next size up and would be the minimum rating to be used. This means the dimmer would be operating at 80% of capacity and the switch may become warm - but all within acceptable limits.

A dimmer switch rated at 1200 watts or even 1500 watts may be a better choice, as the 800 watt load would present a load that would only be 66% and 53% (respectively) of rated capacity, and would likely run cooler and last a lot longer.

The down side to these higher wattage rated switches is their cost. It is not unusual for the price to double for a 600w vs a 1000w dimmer.

Sometimes, a 1000w dimmer is not sufficient to control a 600w load. This happens when 2 or more dimmer switches are installed in a single location under one wall plate. It is a fairly common arrangement for electricians to install 2, 3 or more "ganged boxes" so that there aren't 2, 3 or more individual switches clustered around a doorway. Even though a two ganged box has twice the area of a one gang box, the issue is about heat dissipation. A box will contain the heat. So the heat is given up from the front of the switch. The metal fins provide more area for cooling. When two or more dimmers are located in a multiple-ganged box, there is too much heat for the space. Two 600 watt dimmers would need to be derated to about 450 watts each (instructions for derating are included with the switch - each manufacturer has their own formulas), and if three 600 watt dimmers were in a single location, they might need to be derated to 300 watts each. So, simply moving to a 1000 watt or 1200 watt dimmer may not get you to the 600 watt level if there are several dimmers that require derating to 50%. Installing dimmers in boxes with standard "toggle" type (non-dimming) switches require no derating as toggle switches do not produce appreciable heat.

Make sure that the lighting load is a type designed for dimming. The popular CFL (compact fluorescent lamps) are not designed for dimming, unless the package specifically states otherwise. Lights that have a filiment but no transformer, ballast, starter, etc. are the only ones suitable for use with a dimmer (again - unless the package / fixture states otherwise). The dimmable types are typically "standard" incandescent, quartz, halogen and tungsten types.

Furthermore, a dimmer switch is not suitable for use as a fan speed control either. There are special switches to provide speed control of fan motors. Use of a dimmer on a motor load is a fire hazard.

I hope this helps & good luck!

Jan 08, 2013 | Lutron Dimmers

1 Answer

I have just changed a two gang switch that controls the bathroom and landing light but now the lights in the bathroom and landing wont work all the other lights work and no fuse has tripped

That could be the culprit - right there.

You see, the new dimmers work electronically. There are no moving parts really. Voltages are changed in some very high tech ways thru transistors and triacs. These are comparatively "delicate" devices to the old snap switch and rotary dimmers that had large moving pieces that could handle a large load (like your short via the screw driver) for a short time. Not so with a transistor or triac however. There are so small, they have no way to dissipate heat like the other switches and *instantly* fail. The amount of current in amps needed to blow the transistor or triac is much lower than that needed to blow a fuse or circuit breaker - so that's why it never opened. That is why the instructions often call for removing power at the panel before installing.

So, unless it is a simple wiring error, my money is on a blown dimmer switch. Double check you work and try again with the power OFF.

Good luck!

Jan 08, 2013 | Cooper Wiring Devices ACE6003W-K ACE"...

1 Answer

Need to install a 2 gang 2 way dimmer switch

Check to make sure your lights are able to be used with a dimmer. Some recessed can lights cannot be used with a dimmer.

Nov 21, 2011 | Dimmers

1 Answer

Can I use a 3-way timer switch on a 2-way light fixture? I want to replace a regular 2-way wall switch and only have a 3-way programmable timer switch

We're having some confusion on the terminology here which is why I don't think anyone's responded so far.

Let's start here:
In the United States, there are three types of wiring circuits: single-pole, 3-way, and 4-way
Internationally, those same three types are instead referred to as: single-pole, 2-way, 3-way

So, when you say that you want to replace a 2-way wall switch, and replace it with a 3-way programmable timer - I think we're talking about the same type of wiring configuration - so yes, it should work.

The only thing you need to look at is that if this is a 2-way/3-way circuit, then chances are that there is another light switch that controls the same fixture, correct? Some programmable timers do not work with standard, 3-way toggle switches in the other location, you may want to investigate what is required at that spot. I would contact the manufacturer of the timer switch you're using for more information.

Jul 06, 2011 | Lutron Claro Screwless 2 Gang Wall Plate...

1 Answer

Have a thyrocon dimmer, says on the bottom, 0180, also 600 w single gang, 500 w two gang, and 400 w three gang, 120 ac volt, the top that turns the dimmer on and off broke, went to Lowe's and Home Depot,...

Lutron shows widest selection of dimmers.
The wattages you posted are standard for multiple dimmers.

Once you identify type of dimmer, add a comment and say if dimmer is single-pole or 3-way.
A 3-way dimmer would be in a hallway, where more than 1 device controls same lights.
Single pole is where one device controls lights.

If I know what dimmer you have, I can search for the product and add another comment.

Or search for yourself:
For example, let's say you have 3-way Skylark dimmer.
Do a google search for 3-way skylark dimmer:
Or 3-way rotary dimmer, etc.

If information above doesn't help, then take advantage of fixya phone service.
Fixya expert can talk with you over the phone for a price.

Dec 22, 2010 | Solar Carlon Thyrocon Dimmer Controls...

2 Answers

I have power running to a 2 switch gangbox. Each

As long as the power is running from the breaker panel to the switches rather than the fixtures then it should be pretty simple.

1. Run a new 2 conductor wire from the existing box to the new box at the top of the stair.

2. Install a switch at the top of the stairs.

3. Disconnect the hot wire that is running to the two existing switches and connect it to one of the two conductors running to the top of the stairs.

4. Connect the remaining conductor on the wire going to the top of the stairs to the two existing switches.

Note that if you want to be able to use the Dimmer function from the top of the stairs this will be much more complicated. You will need to put two new switches at the top of the stairs, run more wire, the new switches will need to be 3 way dimmers and the existing switches will almost certainly need to be replaced as well. The wiring will also be much more complicated.

Jan 09, 2010 | Lutron Claro Screwless 2 Gang Wall Plate...

2 Answers

2 way vs 3 way switch wiring

Yes three way switchig allows you to wire two switchs to operate a light from two differnt switchs 2 way switch is on/off one place only.

Oct 17, 2009 | Lutron Claro Screwless 2 Gang Wall Plate...

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