How to replace switch w dimmer in a box w 2 switches and only 3 wires.

Question

Hello, I love the videos. I was wondering if you know this too: I have 2 switches powered by 1 red, 1 black, 1 white and a jumper. I want to replace one of the switches (lets call this the right one) with a dimmer. So, currently the left switch has the red wire and jumper, the right switch has white, black and jumper. Both lights work, right one has a [dimmable rated] LED bulb now.

If I replace the right switch with a LED dimmer and connect black, white and jumper the same way as before (using the matching colored screws not using the unique brass colored screw) only the left switch turns anything on. If I connect the white wire to the brass-colored screw on the dimmer, neither light works.

Is there anyway to get a dimmer to work given I currently have only the 1 red, 1 black, 1 white and jumper? Does the new dimmer require a ground? Currently the dimmer has no ground and the green wire is just hanging there for now.

Thank you,
Victoria
in Utah

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Victoria 3 years 2 Answers 624 views

Answers ( 2 )

  1. Isn’t this what everyone means when they call something “retro” or “Classic”? ha ha. I did get the dimmer to work by moving the ‘jumper’ wire and the black over to the common screw, attaching the white on the opposite side traveler screw. The “classic” switch on the left still has just the red wire and jumper wire, same as before. Yay. Then taping it with electrical tape  before pushing it back in, just as a precaution.

  2. wow some old wiring. It’s not the end of the world not to have that ground connected. But than again it really depends on the dimmer itself.

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