I had two single pole switches that were working fine before I attempted to change one to a smart light switch (right switch that controls the two outside light fixtures).

I forgot to take a photo before of the wiring, but now I can't get them to work and control the two recessed lights above (left switch) and the two outside light fixtures I mentioned above (right switch). So here I am.

I just can't find the combo the wires were before. I've included a drawing of the wires I have, also two photos of what is inside the box. There are three sets of wires. As I mentioned, the right switch used to turn two outside fixtures on, and the left switch used to turn on two recessed lights above.

One thing I do remember is the red wire was not used at all. And, I think there was a pigtail or connection splitting one of the hot wires. I have just recently realized that I have another hot wire that is white (which I thought were all neural). I had tried keeping all the grounds together, all of what I thought was neutral (white) wires together, and split the black hot wire to both switches. While using the grey on the left switch and the black on the right to connect the switches. That did not work. I tried a few other combinations. No luck. I'll buy you a beer if you can help me. This is annoying me so much. All the switches check out on my multimeter. Thank you for reading.

I have been reading that the fixtures could be receiving power directly from my box and then have lines to my house to add switches, versus the lines coming into the house and then hooked up the switches and ran back to the fixtures. I'm just stumped after trying what feels like every combo.

electrical box and wiring diagram

  • Stop trying combinations. You will find lots of them that will work and will kill you. Logic it out. Were any of the switches connected to one single cable only? May 6, 2020 at 5:30
  • Do you have a spare receptacle? Kill power and tack the bottom 2 hot+neutral wires and a ground wire, just hang them temporarily off the screws. Stick a 3-lamp tester in there, and also a hair dryer. Then turn the power on. Does the 3-lamp tester act normally? If you turn the hair dryer on, does it work normally, do the 3-lamp tester's lights go out? Check the outdoor and recessed lights, do any of them turn on when the hair dryer is on? May 6, 2020 at 5:39
  • 1
    Just because you find voltage on a white wire doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a hot. It could be a neutral connected to a powered load. See here for more: diy.stackexchange.com/questions/38367/…
    – DoxyLover
    May 6, 2020 at 6:28
  • The first thing you need to do it determine the always hot and neutral.
    – JACK
    May 6, 2020 at 15:03
  • I'll have to try what Harper says later. The black and white bottom wires are both giving me voltage when I use my detector. The other wires are not. Thank you all for the help. May 6, 2020 at 17:13


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