I currently have the following switch in my dinning room. I would like to replace it with a dimmer.

This is how it was configured originally.

enter image description here

When I tried to replace the original with the dimmer it started to dim the other three lights on the circuit porch entry light, indoor entry light and doorbell connect to a low-voltage transformer.

How can I connect the dimmer to only service the dinning room and allow power to flow to the switch’s without dimming the other lights?

Can any one identify the original switch? and offer some suggestion to restoring the dimmer and other lights or if I can have a dimmer work in this manner at all?

There is one continuous hot wire, Two other “traveler” wires black, a bare ground and from what I can tell three Neutral wires all bound together with a nut.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Let me know if you guys need more info.

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  • Are there any other screws on the switch? Oct 4, 2020 at 19:14
  • "travelers" are utilized in 3 way and 4 way switching, not a single toggle switch. You have an always hot wire connecting to a want to be always hot wire and then a load wire. You have to figure out which is which.
    – JACK
    Oct 4, 2020 at 19:42
  • The other side only had ground. Otherwise everything was on the side I showed in the picture posted Oct 4, 2020 at 21:45
  • So I did figure out which one was continuous and I can set it up as a single pole just not sure what to do with the other two black wires. I added an image to the original post the black wire with painter tape is always hot. Oct 4, 2020 at 22:16

1 Answer 1


The two black wires at the top are the hot from the panel and the hot continuing to the other loads. They are connected together inside the existing switch. The black at the bottom is the switched hot to the lights.

You need to connect together the top two wires and connect those to one side of the dimmer. The bottom black needs to be connected to the other terminal of the dimmer. The bare wire is ground and goes to the green screw or wire on the dimmer.

Assuming the dimmer has built-in wires, use a wirenut to connect the two hot wires to one of the dimmer wires. If it has screw terminals, add a short piece of wire (pigtail) between the first terminal and the wirenut and two hot wires. Do not try to put two wires under a screw; this will not make a reliable connection.

Also, if your dimmer needs a neutral wire, you’ll need to tap into the bundle of white wires. Don’t separate the whites but add a wire to the bundle. You may need a larger wirenut. Also, don’t use the ground wire as a neutral; it will probably work but can be very dangerous.

Edit based on new photos: I was able to identify the dimmer from your photos and found the installation instructions here. You tried to wire the dimmer as a three-way switch but you need it as a single-pole switch. You must not use the YL terminal on the far side from the BL terminal; only use the BL terminal and the YL terminal next to it.

You need to connect the two wires originally connected at the top of the switch to the black terminal using a pigtail (short piece of wire) to a wirenut. The black wire originally connected to the bottom terminal of the switch connects to the single YL terminal.

Now I'm going to assume you've lost track of which wire is which at this point. Normally, I'd discourage experimentation with house wiring as dangerous but in this case, using only these three wires, it is safe, With the breaker turned off, wirenut together two black wires with a pigtail to the BL screw and connect the other black wire to the YL screw. Turn the breaker back on and see what happens. If everything works correctly, turn off the breaker, tuck the dimmer back in and turn the breaker back on; you're done. If the main light is always on or all lights are dimmed, turn the breaker back off and switch wires. Continue until you get the correct combination.

  • If installing a smart dimmer, you'll probably need to tap the neutrals, white, wires. How you doing out west?+1
    – JACK
    Oct 4, 2020 at 19:43
  • @JACK since he has dimming happening, I assume it doesn’t need a neutral although he could have bootlegged through ground. I’ll add a comment. There is a lot of smoke in the air here; otherwise, things are pretty good, thanks.
    – DoxyLover
    Oct 4, 2020 at 20:06
  • For context let me show you guys the dimmer way I had it installed originally. I just need it to dim locally. I believe I set it up via the instructions 3-way I know that incorrect now. My lack of electrical knowledge is showing lol Oct 4, 2020 at 21:52
  • Using this site frommy phone but I added photos to my original post. Oct 4, 2020 at 21:55
  • @SecurityGreek Please see my latest edit at the bottom of my post.
    – DoxyLover
    Oct 4, 2020 at 23:00

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