Question about Leviton Decora Light Dimmer Switch

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My girlfriend has a leviton illumatech IP106 that keeps "not working". after a number of months. It is operarting a standard dining room 6 light chandelier. A couple of her friends have replaced this in the past...now its my turn. Upon inspection I noticed it was wired incorrectly. A red and black wire on the switch were wired to 2 black wires out of the wall with a wall red wire capped. I know little of houshold wiring but have an avionics tech background. One of the black wires has a potential of 122vac the other 7vac and the red is ground. I assume the swith black goes to 122vac and the switch red goes to ground. But there is an additional red & green on switch. The red is for three way installs (whatever that means). Does the green get used?

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As a general rule for timers and dimmers:

The Black dimmer wire connects to black hot wire coming from breaker (122V line)
The red dimmer wire connects to Load (wire going to chandelier)

The wall red wire that is capped could be a couple different things. a) It could go to a second switch that was used to control the chandelier. b) it could be another wire that goes to same ceiling box as chandelier to be used to control a fan, except you don't have a fan. In the second case, if you install a fan with a light, you could control fan and light separately.

The green is a ground wire that connects to bare copper wire in box. The bare copper connect back to main breaker box on the Neutral busbar.
White wires that are twisted together inside your light switch box also connect back to to main breaker box on the Neutral busbar.
The ground wire and neutral are a redundant safety system to protect you from electrical devices and appliances that have 'shorted'
The black hot wire connects back to the circuit breaker.

For example, each circuit breaker controls one area of household lighting. The black white and copper wires leave breaker box in a single romex cable. The romex travels to a junction box in the area where the lights are located. The junction box is usually a switch box or a ceiling box. From the junction box, the romex travels to each other switch, light and receptacle box in the area. So each box has 1 hot and 1 neutral and 1 ground that is connected in a line that leads back to breaker box.

Here's a couple pages that make home wiring easier to understand:
http://waterheatertimer.org/See-inside-main-breaker-box.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/240-v-water-heater-circuit.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/Install-owb.html

Posted on Oct 15, 2010

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