Dumb question.. (household wiring)

Hi! I don't know if this is the wrong place to post this.. if so, sorry. I'm hoping someone here can help me.. I'm trying to install a dimmer switch in my dining room,
which previously had a regular lightswitch. So, inside the wall box, there are two bundles of wires. One has black, red, white, and bare wires, the other has black, white, and bare. I'm assuming the white is neutral, and bare is ground. Anyway, the configuration looks to be a 3-way switch, but there isn't another switch that controls this fixture. SO.. I wired the switch according to the instructions for the 3-way, since this was the only wiring configuration that had the 4/3 wires in the wall box. I should add that the dimmer switch has a black wire, a green wire, and two red wires. When I wired it according to the instructions, the dimmer worked fine, dimmed the light.. only problem, it dimmed the BATHROOM light. (The bathroom and dining room are on the same circuit.) The dining room light didn't come on at all. Can anyone help me out here? Thanks in advance!
Amy
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Amy wrote:

Amy     The dimmer output will probably need to be on the red wire. The usual practice is to use the red wire as the switched lead to the light and the black wire as the feed through to the other rooms and outlets. Wire it acording to the single switch instructions using the black from the black,white,bare cable and the red from the black,white,red,bare cable.
--
Tom Horne

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Hmm. Okay, another dumb question.. what do I do with the black wire from the b/w/r/b cable? Just cap it off? Thank you very much.. it's sad, I'm in eng. school right now (computer, not ee).. I can wire a breadboard, but I can't replace a lightswitch!
Amy
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Amy wrote:

You splice both black wires together with the supply wire for the dimmer. The output wire for the dimmer gets spliced to the red wire.
--
Tom Horne

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Ahh. Got it. Thank you SO much!
AMy
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I'm so surprised that anyone in this group lives long enough to receive replies to posts !!!

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Me too, actually. I should probably leave this to the professionals..

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Hahahaha., nevertheless it's been handled quite nicely i would say & Amy no-one is born all knowing, plus, the number of professionals that don't know or dare to do a thing about household electrical wiring is staggering };-) Roy (Amy) Me too, actually. I should probably leave this to the professionals..
Hi! I don't know if this is the wrong place to post this.. if so, sorry. I'm hoping someone here can help me.. I'm trying to install a dimmer switch in my dining room, which previously had a regular lightswitch. So, inside the wall box, there are two bundles of wires. One has black, red, white, and bare wires, the other has black, white, and bare. I'm assuming the white is neutral, and bare is ground. Anyway, the configuration looks to be a 3-way switch, but there isn't another switch that controls this fixture. SO.. I wired the switch according to the instructions for the 3-way, since this was the only wiring configuration that had the 4/3 wires in the wall box. I should add that the dimmer switch has a black wire, a green wire, and two red wires. When I wired it according to the instructions, the dimmer worked fine, dimmed the light.. only problem, it dimmed the BATHROOM light. (The bathroom and dining room are on the same circuit.) The dining room light didn't come on at all. Can anyone help me out here? Thanks in advance! Amy
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It is important when working on wiring is to remember/mark what was connected where. If you had done that, you'd know what went to the old switch and thus what should go to the dimmer.
--
-Mike

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Not necessarily.. The old switch had two screws on it, the new dimmer has four wires.. the old switch wasn't even grounded, the bare wires were just capped off.. So, I don't think it was wired correctly to begin with, plus, it was an entirely different type of switch. But thanks.

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It is still important to remember how things were wired even if things are wrong. When you removed the old switch you have two wires that you know are involved with the switching of the light you want to dim, and certainly these two wires are two of the ones going to the dimmer. It's then an issue of which two wires on the dimmer and what should be done with the others. You also correct mistakes like disconnected grounds when in there.
--
-Mike

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Nah, it isn't rocket science. There is a need to take precautionary steps though. Start by getting a good multi-meter and ALWAYS check that you have the power removed before doing anything. Some other advice: If you must work on live power, or it is for some reason unknown if the power is off, keep one hand either in your pocket or grab the back of your jeans, if possible. It's a learned skill, but one that results in you living another day. Lay out the circuit in your mind or on paper. In pre-existing residential wiring, you are liable to run up on all kinds of wierd things. Tracing out the circuit with a multi-meter is sometimes a required hassle. The most important thing is to just make sure the power is off.
--
Anthony

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Power was definitely off.. I'll admit I'm a bit clueless, but not THAT bad.. anyway, it's working perfectly now. Thanks everyone who replied!
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