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I recently bought our house in Australia, and one light wasn't working, so I took a look at it. The wiring was not connected to the light. There were lots of wires coming from the ceiling for the light, and no junction box. 3 Red wires, 1 Black and 1 Green (Earth). There are 2 light switches for the one light. I connected the 3 red to the live on the light, the black to the neutral and earth....but the light comes on and the switches have no effect. Please tell me what I'm doing wrong?

  • If @mjohns answer is of no avail, I think the problem is that you're dealing with a 3-way switch, with two travelers, and a switch leg. A diagram of these switches will help you understand how they work but not how it's wired in your house specifically. – Mazura Jul 17 '15 at 22:40
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It sounds like two of your red wires form a switch loop to one of your switches. The remaining red wire is the hot (I believe called active in Australia?) coming into your ceiling.

By connecting them all together, you have wired your light (and switch) directly to your unswitched power, which is why it stays on. You'll need a multimeter, voltage tester, or electrician to determine which red wire is the unswitched active.

If only one red is indeed active, then one of those two non-actives goes to a switch, and the other comes from a switch (or possibly to/from the same switch depending on how your two switches are wired).

  • One of the non-active reds needs to get wired to the active red.
  • The remaining non-active red should become your switched hot leg that would ultimately need to be wired to your light fixture.
  • You can use a multimeter or voltage tester to try this first-- if the switches don't work with the first combination you try, swap the two non-active reds and try your switch again.

If this whole concept sounds foreign to you, I recommend calling in some professional help (not the therapist kind).

  • Thanks. If i keep scratching my head about this, I might need the therapist kind. Hehe. I did check with a multimeter and found that one was live (Active) power and the other two were not. But don't know how they get wired in. I Googled schematic diagrams, but nothing was really any help...they were all one switch or the two switch diagrams only showed one active and one neutral wire. – Paul Jul 17 '15 at 19:28
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    @Paul, if only one red is indeed active, then one of those two non-actives goes to a switch, and the other comes from a switch (or possibly to/from the same switch depending on how your two switches are wired). So at this point, one of the non-active reds needs to get wired to the active red, then the remaining non-active red should become your switched hot leg that would ultimately need to be wired to your light fixture. You can use your multimeter to try this first-- if the switches don't work with the first combination you try, swap the two non-active reds and try your switch again. – mjohns Jul 17 '15 at 20:28
  • Thanks. I'll give that a go tomorrow and let you know how it goes. – Paul Jul 18 '15 at 10:39
  • Fantastic! That solved the problem...we now have a working light in that room with 2 working light switches. Thank you for your help. 😆 – Paul Jul 20 '15 at 23:50

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