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I replaced a ceiling fan with a regular light a while back that originally had 2 switches that worked it. When I was done only one switch worked. I was okay with this because I didn't use the other switch anyway. Well yesterday I removed the switch (the non used one) to put a blank plate on the wall. (To get rid of the switched that were of no use). So I capped off all wires from the switch, but now I can't use the original switch I'd been using. (It makes sense that I cause disruption in the way things connected it just didn't occur to me that it would happen). What can I do to make connection behind this plate without putting a switch back in, if anything?

The red and the black at the bottom are the hot, nothing on the others. There are three sets of wires, any help would be appreciative. They can be labeled as A B and C.

enter image description hereI replaced a ceiling fan with a regular light a while back that originally had 2 switches that worked it. When I was done only one switch worked, I was okay with this because I didn't use the other switch anyway. Well yesterday I removed the switch (the non used one) to put a blank plate on the wall. (To get rid of the switched that were of no use). So I capped off all wires from the switch, but now I can't use the original switch I'd been using. (It makes sense that I cause disruption in the way things connected it just didn't occur to me that it would happen). What can I do to make connection behind this plate without putting a switch back in, if anything?

The red and the black at the bottom are the hot, nothing on the others. There are three sets of wires, any help would be appreciative. They can be labeled as A B and C.

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  • This is not a general question. This is particular to the wiring of that circuit. With good photos or a wiring diagram an absolute answer is possible. Without it, no answer is possible other than, "Undo whatever you did that broke the circuit." – feetwet Jul 23 '19 at 0:25
  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. You should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to participate here. – Daniel Griscom Jul 23 '19 at 0:49
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    Can you post photos of the wiring involved? – ThreePhaseEel Jul 23 '19 at 1:14
  • @feetwet My answer may or may not be complete/best, but there are definitely answers possible here. Would it be better if the switch removal could simply be "undone"? Yes. But that might actually be harder than simply figuring out the remaining wires and the other switch. – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Jul 23 '19 at 1:29
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To know for sure, we need to see pictures of the wiring and switches. But I'll make an educated guess:

Common (Shared) Hot

The two switches shared a common hot wire. One hot in, two switched hots out. There are three ways to connect one hot to two switches:

  • Two switches built together with a common hot This is the easy way - essentially two switches in the space of one. I know you didn't have this, because if you did then there would be no way to remove one switch without removing the other switch. But listing it for completeness.

  • Pigtail Hots This is the preferred method because it avoids the problem you found. The hot wire comes in to the box and is connected to two short wires, pigtails. Each pigtail connects to one of the switches.

  • Daisy Chain Hots Hot wire comes in and connects to switch # 1. Another wire connects from switch # 1 to switch # 2. The two connections on switch # 1 could be two wires under one screw (not usually recommended, but often done anyway) or one wire under a screw and one wire in a backstab connection. If you disconnect all wires from switch # 1, then there is no longer any hot wire for switch # 2.

You need to look at the wires going to the remaining switch. You should have one wire going out of the box to the light and one wire going out of the box back towards the circuit breaker. What I suspect you will find is that one of the wires actually has the other end loose, but capped, in the box. That is your formerly-hot wire. The hard part is figuring out which wire from the removed switch is the hot wire. The easiest way to figure this out is a non-contact voltage tester: enter image description here

With the breaker on, use the tester to identify the hot wire. Turn the breaker off and then connect that wire to the switch instead of the loose/capped wire.

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  • I will need to get the voltage tester tool. In the meantime, I am just wanting to make the connection without having switches. I wanted to put a plain face plate over the wiring. I don't need to have switches because they didn't work anyway, but they must have made some sort of electrical connection. – Diana Jul 23 '19 at 1:50
  • Most likely the original configuration was to have one switch for the fan itself and one switch for an attached light. Many fans don't have lights, and many newer fans that have lights control everything with a remote control so that the switch (just one switch) turns power to everything on/off but isn't even needed since you can do everything with the remote. – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Jul 23 '19 at 1:52
  • Is there a way to make the wires connect for the power without using a switch. Where I can just have it capped off or something behind the solid switch plate? – Diana Jul 23 '19 at 3:16
  • Yes. If you figure out which wires should be on the switch and then just wire nut them together, you can then take out the switch. But then the light will be always on. Is that what you want? – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Jul 23 '19 at 3:25
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    You are right, I just can't believe I brought this on myself by my own stupidity! I think my son-in-law has a friend that is an electrician so I might get a "friends & family" discount...... (fingers crossed) – Diana Aug 13 '19 at 1:26

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