Dimmer switches in Kitchen

3 Aug 2008
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United Kingdom
Hi there could anyone help?

A friend has told me that the lights in her kitchen have all stopped working.

They consist of :
2 ceiling lights consisting of cascading type chandeliers, separate switches for each.

1 set of under cabinet lighting with two way switches one at each end of kitchen
And finally two wall lights operating off one switch.

A total of 4 dimmer switches to control the lighting in the kitchen.

All lights seem not to operate exept for the wall lights which seem to flicker very dimly when the dimmer for them is switched and operated.

Ive had a look at the back of each switche which are located one above the other on the wall. the common is looped from one switch to the next and next and so on.

the switch wire in each dimmer seems to be constantly live.

I solated each switch in turn from the others and then used a normal switch to test if any of the lights would work..with no look.

Could anyone explain what the problem may be.

The downstairs lighting operates fine and is wired on the same lighting circuit.

I'm stumped as to what may be the cause as all the kitchen lighting went together.

Any advice greatly appreaceated.
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is it a feed through/in line switch - ie all neutrals blocked together in back of box?

I dont remember seeing any neutrals at all as the switch wires were all red unless they were blocked together behind the back boxes within the cavity.
hmmm. Were the switch lines paired in twin and earth and the black conductor sleeved red? Or is it a conduit install with single (red)conductors?

Your comments about the common being looped to each switch but also the outgoing switch lines also being live sounds a bit odd. And the two way switching should have three conductors at the switch.

I'm off to yoga now, but will check in later to see if you've had any more replies

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The two way switching did have three conductors (blue yelow and red) and the switch wires were red and not sleaved red.
It sounds as though your installation might be wired in double covered singles perhaps, or there may be a junction box tucked away somewhere.

I would suggest for the time being you replace the dimmers with normal switches whilst we work out what is going on.

What are you using to test for voltage at the swithces?

Have you tried to test for voltage at any of the fittings? If so, what were the readings for L>E L>N & N>E?

How many wires are at the fittings, and can you see if they are twin and earths, or singles wires?

SB at yoga :eek: I think I need a lie down :LOL:
I think further investigation on my part is called for as my initial investigation was a bit of a rush and limited access and equipment. Need another visit to the property.

Cheers all for advice and comments
Dave - let us know how you get on

RF - I'm not very bendy so you wouldn't need to lie down - trust me! ;)
I don't suppose they are trying to dim non-dimmable (eg low energy) lamps and the dimmers or fittings have blown? If your commons are linked, and 'switch wires' are constantly live, then that is a normal way of wiring 2 way switches. If a 1 way switch or dimmer has a live switch wire, then you will have either a neutral fault or a blown/disconnected fitting or lamp. Use a voltmeter to ensure you are getting 240v.

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