The old house owner had done this wiring themselves, and we decided it was time to switch these old dimmer switches out for smart dimmer switches. The new switches need a ground, neutral, load and line and as seen in the picture we already have the ground and neutral, but aren’t sure which black wires are load and which are line as they are sort of “daisy-chained” together (completely new to electrical work, i’m sure there is a name for this). The instructions on the new switches were to take one of the light switches out, and then turn the circuit breaker on in order to figure out which one carries energy and which one doesnt (with a voltage detector). Any help would be great as right now we really just need to figure out which of these wires are live/load but we don’t want to mess up the wiring in this wire box.

1st pic 2nd pic

  • It'd sure help if you created a sketch of what you have, because the tangle of wires is difficult to suss out.
    – Huesmann
    Commented Jul 6 at 12:36

1 Answer 1


Completely new to electrical work

The "smart" advice for this is to stop work. Most localities require a permit or license for electrical upgrade work. There's a clear indication that you're unqualified for those.

The next step is either get some expert help with this project, or start studying the basics of residential electrical systems and building codes.

You will need some basic tools and an understanding of how to do this safely. Without those, and a permit, it's unreasonable to post a photo of some tangled wires and expect someone to "figure out which of these wires are live".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.