I just added 5 dimmable recessed lights to my living room. I'm certain it's powered correctly.

Incoming power hits the 3-way dimmer switch. Both traveler wires head to the other 3 way switch (non-dimmer) and connect to traveler terminals. The lights then connect to the hot terminal. All neutrals and grounds connected.

Set dimmer to 50% and flip toggle on dimmer. Lights are on. Move to other switch and toggle. Lights go off.
Back to dimmer switch and toggle. Lights back on. Back to other switch and toggle. Lights go off.

All 4 combinations works as they should.....until they don't.

Here's the issue.

If I'm running the dimmer at 10% and I head to the non-dimmer 3 way to turn them off, they go off. When I go to turn them back on, they don't go on.

To get the lights to go back on I have to return to the dimmer switch, turn it off, raise the dimmer, and turn them on.

Any idea why the standard 3 way switch would have issues powering the lights on when the dimmer is set to low?

TLDR: 3 way dimmer switch attached to 3 way toggle switch. Wired correctly. If lights are at most dimmed setting, regular 3-way switch can turn them off, but then not back on.

  • 4
    What type of recessed lights did you install? Are they LEDs, CFL, incandescent, etc.? Do you know what model dimmer you have? In general, LEDs and CFLs require compatible dimmers, so it's possible that you just have a compatibility issue between the new lights you installed and the dimmer switch. – Nick Anderson Aug 30 '18 at 21:22
  • This almost sounds like problems you can run into with a motors -- they require more power to start up, so if you lower the available power when it's running, it'll keep running, but you can't start it back up again. I think florescent lights are similar -- high voltage, then it drops to a maintenance level ... it's why most don't work with dimmers. – Joe Aug 30 '18 at 23:13
  • Yeah -- this sounds like a low-end pop-on problem where the lights won't quite start up properly when switched to a dimmed hot. What make/model/type are the fixtures/bulbs used, and the dimmer for that matter? – ThreePhaseEel Aug 30 '18 at 23:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.