Thursday, April 1, 2010

Flippin Switches!

Somebody please remind Sandra to remind me that if I think something's going to be simple, but I've never actually done it before, we're looking at 2 hours, not 15 minutes!

The plate of switches in the hallway controls the porch light (left), doorway light (center), and hallway light (right). All of them down means they're all off. All of them up means they're all on. The problem is that the doorway light is a three way switch that has the motion sensor on the bottom. If the top switch is off, then the auto feature of the motion sensor doesn't work. So, I decided to turn the center switch upside down! Simple, right?

I removed the wall plate, noticed that the right screws were a bit tight. Odd, but kept going. I unscrewed the center switch, rotated it 90 degrees, and the light turned off! Crap! Was it the wiring? I checked the wires, and they were all secured. After rotating it back and forth a few times, I think there's got to be something inside the switch which keeps it from working when upside down. Like a mercury sensor or something. But, from all my twisting, one of the old wires cracked! Great. I had to unscrew the connection, strip the wire, then reconnect it. Not bad, but I didn't feel like removing the other switch (right). I reconnected it, rotated the center switch, and the left side wire snapped! This kept happening until some of the wiring was too short to be used! I ended up replacing the two connecting wires (they ran power into the other two switches) as well as using a new three way switch for the center. I installed it as needed (on is down, off is up). Perfect.

Now to screw everything back in place... In trying to put everything back, I found that some of the screws were stripped and had to be replaced. Good thing there was a bucket of electrical stuff in the garage! I salvaged some screws from there, and put everything back into the wall. As I secured the plate, I discovered something else! The switches weren't even! I had to screw in the bottom right first, then top left to get everything askew in just the right way, so I could secure the wall plate. 2 hours down, and finally it all works. Time to go to Target!

No comments:

Post a Comment