2-combo single pole lightswitch problems

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Posts: 5
Joined: Thu May 02, 2019 7:53 pm

Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:41 pm

I have a '71 mobile home (aluminum wiring) that has a 2-combo single pole (on-off) switch in the bathroom. The top switch turns on a light (never had any issues) the bottom switch turns on the ceiling exhaust fan and a light (based on location, fan would be supplied with power first). I have not had any problems with the fan turning on/off, but the light will turn on and be very dim and remain dim (not flickering). When I switch it off, the fan turns off and the light remains turned on (very dim) for a good 3-4 seconds.

I have replaced the light fixture and this did not fix the problem (we have always used a 60W LED bulb both before we started having problems and now). I have also replaced the lightswitch twice (as we thought the switch was not properly cutting and that is why the light remained on). The switch is supplied w/ three black wires (one live, two load) and a ground and has been installed based on manufacturer instructions.

When we first moved in we had no problems with this switch (about 8mo ago)-we replaced the switch for cosmetic reasons (was beige and we wanted white). The light started wigging out some time after that. When I replaced the light fixture, it worked correctly for about 5 switch flips before wigging out again, and when I more recently replaced the light switch it made no difference.

Not sure if the ceiling fan is taking too much juice (is shorted somewhere and needs to be replaced too) so the light doesn't have enough to run (the ceiling fan does have a small green light that turns on, not sure if that makes a difference like the light in some lightswitches does), or if the wiring in the bathroom is shot.

If the wiring is shot/needs to be replaced is this a whole house problem (because it is aluminum-would they need to redo the breaker box and everything), or can they replace just the room?

It is safe to say this house looked nice when we got it and has been a money pit since we moved in....so it would be nice if this was a DIY situation.

Thank you!

Posts: 238
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:33 am
Location: Anna, Tx

Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:52 pm

I would start with the easy stuff first.

Take the LED bulb out and replace it with a standard incandescent bulb. I have had some LED bulbs that have done some weird and strange stuff.
Opportunity has a shelf life.

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Posts: 5673
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:01 pm
Location: Weedsport, NY

Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:12 pm

I would put a clamp on amp meter on the line and see what the fan is drawing, you could have a fan on the way out.
Aluminum wiring CAN cause problems. The problem usually is a result of differing expansion/contraction rates of the aluminum wire & brass contacts causing an arc. I have seen methods that involve crimping a copper pig tale to the aluminum wires.

"If I can't fix it, I can screw it up so bad no one else can either."

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