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Problem Light's + Switch wiring

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  1. #1
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    Default Problem Light's + Switch wiring

    Hi All,

    New to the forum... I have a problem with two of my lights in my home.

    the problem is with the Master Bedroom / En-suite lights, basically they just decide to stop working and work when they want.

    For example If I turn the bedroom light on and it doesnt work I can sometimes get it to turn on by turning on the ensuite light / heat or fan, it will then flicker a bit and then come on.

    Or sometimes if I turn it on and it doesnt work but leave the switch on for a while (sometimes 5 mins sometimes 1 hour or more) it will turn on by itself.

    Hoping someone can shed some light on it and where I might be able to look... the bedroom switch looks fine but the bathroom switch I wasnt to sure about and have pictures attached to see if someone can tell me if it is wired right and if it may be the cause, otherwise any other places to look?

    Thanks for your time.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails img00043-20100530-1027-custom-.jpg   img00042-20100530-1026-custom-.jpg  

  2. #2
    Seasoned DIY droog's Avatar
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    I am no sparky but I do not like the look of that picture.

    Your best bet would be an electrician.

    Regards Dave

  3. #3
    Retired Marine Engineer 1K Club Member Ashore's Avatar
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    Not how I would wire it if I was a sparkie , but i'm not so my advise is to get a sparkie in
    Ashore




    The trouble with life is there's no background music.

  4. #4
    2K Club Member chrisp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kayman View Post
    Hi All,

    New to the forum... I have a problem with two of my lights in my home.

    the problem is with the Master Bedroom / En-suite lights, basically they just decide to stop working and work when they want.

    For example If I turn the bedroom light on and it doesnt work I can sometimes get it to turn on by turning on the ensuite light / heat or fan, it will then flicker a bit and then come on.

    Or sometimes if I turn it on and it doesnt work but leave the switch on for a while (sometimes 5 mins sometimes 1 hour or more) it will turn on by itself.

    Hoping someone can shed some light on it and where I might be able to look... the bedroom switch looks fine but the bathroom switch I wasnt to sure about and have pictures attached to see if someone can tell me if it is wired right and if it may be the cause, otherwise any other places to look?

    Thanks for your time.
    The gang-of-three switches is wired right - but to an old standard when black could be used as an active. What you have is one active (the red wire in the light switch) which is looped to the centre switch (using black!) and then looped to the bottom switch (using red). There are three "switched actives": the white in the top switch to the light; the black in the centre switch to the fan; and the red in the bottom switch to the heater. Other than the poor choice of colours (i.e. using the black as an active), the wiring looks fine.

    The problem will most likely be elsewhere. I'm guessing that the active "loop" is broken at the light fitting and is just barely making contact. I'm guessing that the screw at a fitting has been over tightened and it has severed a wire. Switching the en suite unit is either heating the fitting a little or vibrating it a little and making the connection.

    Please get an electrician in for this one. I'd guess (I'm doing that a lot) that if the en suite light unit is removed, one wire will break clean away from it. I'd leave both fittings turned off for now as there is a risk of arcing at the fitting.

  5. #5
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    I see the light switch has a crack in it. The switch mechanisms look like they have been in use for a while. When it doesn't work, and when you use the other switches on the same plate, this must cause the vibration for the worn internal contacts to make properly and the light turns on.

    May be a good idea to get an electrician to replace the light switch single gang mechanism and see if that works.

    I have come across something similar before.

  6. #6
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    The attached diagram is how your switches are wired. What is not known is anything about the external wiring. Also, the attached diagram assumes that the purpose of wire colours has been adhered to. In my attached diagram, yellow represents your white wire.
    My diagram is drawn in the de-energised state, which means "all switches are off".

    This arrangement, according to the above & excluding any external wiring, functions as follows:

    1] Nothing will happen unless the 'Heat' switch is turned on.
    2] If the 'Heat' switch is turned on, the 'Fan' switch then becomes 'online'. If the 'Fan' switch is turned on, a direct 'short circuit' to neutral will result. In this case, a circuit breaker should trip.
    3] Since 2] is not apparent in your situation, external wiring is therefore a major problem.

    Summary.
    The switches have been wired incorrectly according to wiring colours. If, for some very strange reason they are wired correctly (I don't think so), the colour coding represents a fault. This should be rectified immediately!!!!

    Also, your problem does sound like faulty switch mechanisms. If a switch no longer 'positively clicks' into position (it feels strange), it is most likely a worn out switch mechanism.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails switching.jpg  

  7. #7
    2K Club Member chrisp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kayman View Post
    For example If I turn the bedroom light on and it doesnt work I can sometimes get it to turn on by turning on the ensuite light / heat or fan, it will then flicker a bit and then come on.
    Quote Originally Posted by elkangorito View Post
    Also, your problem does sound like faulty switch mechanisms. If a switch no longer 'positively clicks' into position (it feels strange), it is most likely a worn out switch mechanism.
    elkangorito,

    The mechanism maybe the problem, but my reading of the problem is that it is the bedroom light that is intermittent - but can the 'fixed' by playing with the en suite light/fan/heater unit. i.e. it concerns two separate rooms.

    Also, I believe that the black (in the sheath with the red) is being used as an active to the fan - it isn't being used as a neutral - a very poor colour coding scheme!

  8. #8
    The Master's Apprentice Bedford's Avatar
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    Firstly, I'm not a Sparky, but the way I see it, is that it's a problem with the neutral between the ensuite and bedroom lights, i.e. when the ensuite light is turned on, after there is enough heat build up to reconnect the neutral to the bedroom light, it will work.

    As others have said, get a Sparky to check it out.

    This is assuming the bedroom light is on the end of the circuit after the ensuite.
    Last edited by Bedford; 1st Jun 2010 at 11:43 AM. Reason: added last bit.
    "The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the Government and I'm here to help." óRonald Reagan

  9. #9
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    The switch wiring here looks to me like the house originally had a red / white to a single mech for a light - as would be normal.
    At a later stage someone has added a IXL tastic or similar heat light / fan unit and ran a 2 core from the switch to the light / fan unit in red/ black twin providing 2 more switch wires. looks like they have stripped back the wires and used a bit of cutoff red for one bit of active loop and the other bit of cutoff (black) for the other active loop.

    If the fault was in this switch area the bedroom light would not have a fault (as the active does not loop to the bedroom light switch).
    Probably a broken wire (still just touching) in the bedroom light, bathroom light or the one preceeding these on the circuit.
    having a guess.... If the bedroom light is the end of the line after the bathroom fan/light unit I would suspect the wiring in the bathroom heat/light/fan unit as the most likely place as it would have been added and they often have crappy little terminals to join the wires in.

    Good luck!
    Peter

  10. #10
    Sparkwah
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    Agree with Peter
    It's better to be dead and cool than alive and uncool

  11. #11
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    Thank you everyone for the detailed help and response, really appreciate it.

    Peter you are right there is a single switch just outside the bathroom that has no wires going to it so the previous owners defiantly had replaced a single light with a heat/fan/light unit.

    From what everyone is saying it does sound like a wire JUST making contact or corroded, I have called a sparky and will let you know what the problem was once he fixes it.

    Thanks again for all the help and guidance.

    K

  12. #12
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    It makes me wonder how some people get their electrical license with some of the responses you see on here.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattski2008 View Post
    It makes me wonder how some people get their electrical license with some of the responses you see on here.
    which response and do they have a license to begin with???
    It's better to be dead and cool than alive and uncool

  14. #14
    Soldiers Earned Your Right To Free Speech watson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattski2008 View Post
    It makes me wonder how some people get their electrical license with some of the responses you see on here.
    Got any answers then Matt?

  15. #15
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    I had a license but due to living in Thailand for about 4 years, it is no longer current. Mind you, I could get one of my family members in Australia to pay the required amount & then I would be licensed again.

    My original 'A' Grade electricians license, issued by the Energy Authority of NSW, states, "Unless suspended or cancelled this license shall remain in force during the lifetime of the holder."

  16. #16
    Old Chippy - 4K Club Member
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    Most jurisdictions use different terms now - so you need qualifications that are pre-requisites for becoming registered or licensed and to undertake work you need to be currently accredited with the regulatory authority (which might require tests too) - and unless you pay the appropriate fee(s) at the specified interval (annually or sometimes for 3 or 5 years) you can't do electrical work. So no such thing a license for life whatever your original said - they like collecting fees!
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

  17. #17
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    is the light in bedroom a flourescent ? try a new starter n tube in it...old starters n tube can take 10 min or more to fire up

  18. #18
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    Hi All, sorry I forgot to reply and thank you again for all the responses.

    The problem was with the IXL tastic, the neutral wire was quite loose on the connector and was JUST making connection, so that connector re-done and it is all good now.

    The bedroom light was the last in the series hence it would flicker or not work when the IXL one was not making contact.

    Thanks again.

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