Simple single pole non-neutral setup for 3 ceiling lights; turn on dimmer and it restarts

Hey everyone! First post, new to inovelli… I’ve got 4 dimmers in the house and I love em.

So I’ve got this really simple single pole setup where one on/off switch controls 3 recessed ceiling lights (not LEDs and wiring diagram below). Well, I swapped it out for an black series dimmer and it tries to work… except while turning on it restarts and flashes the multi-color LEDs. I’m scouring the forums here trying different things like adjusting the min/max dim levels but so far nothing helps. If I set the max to just the right spot (around 60% or so) the dimmer freezes up, lights flicker, and I have to airgap restart.

Any advice? Thanks in advance.


@aaronc - Hopefully your drawing is wrong. The blue line should be connected to the “Load”. You indicated no neutral setup, so this should not be drawn. Can you confirm?

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Yep, my mistake. Corrected above.

Do you have neutrals in that box? How are they wired?

Someone filled the gang box with expanding foam so it is hard to tell what’s going on. Some boxes in this house have a neutral drop but most do not. Enjoy these worthless photos.

Who would’ve done such a thing?

Wow. I’ve never seen that before. In case you are not aware, electrical boxes have capacities based on the volume of the box. Cubic inch calculations using the number conductors and devices insure that the box doesn’t get overloaded. When you put foam insulation inside of a box, you drastically reduce the capacity of the box. An overloaded box can result in conductors and devices overheating, which are obviously unsafe. I know that’s now why you posted here but I thought it appropriate to point out.

So getting back to your original question, you’re going to have to figure out what you have wiring-wise in your box. Without a clear understanding of that, it’s impossible to provide you wiring guidance.

Since you are unsure about neutrals, I’m guessing you don’t have a neutral wired to the dimmer? If you are in a neutral configuration, the dimmer needs one. With a 5 gang box, it’s hard to believe there isn’t a neutral in there which you can hopefully get to.


Bry is definitely on the right track :slight_smile:

I tend to be a little anal but if it were mine I would remove as much of the foam as I could (maybe a plastic knife might help) and create a diagram like the one below. As Bry said there is very likely a matching Neutral in the box somewhere.

In addition to the thermal effects the foam has, if some moisture got in there it could breakdown and melt something (at best). I’m sure the foam used is not rated for insulating mains voltage.

BTW I would add you foam in box photo to the “… I done did it…” list.


First of all, ya’ll are awesome! Amazing community and I appreciate the quick responses.

Secondly… the problem ended up being the bulbs. At first glance they looked like incandescent can bulbs so I didn’t think anything of the load being less than 25w or not dimmable. Looked closer and found they had CFLs inside them. I think load was probably okay but they were definitely not dimmable.:man_facepalming:

I replaced all 3 with dimmable LED 10w cans and dimmer worked like a charm.

Thanks again for the help!


P.S. I appreciate the input in the foam. I’m going to rip it all out and re-wire this summer I suppose.

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Honestly taking it one step further they do make remodel boxes with tabs that extend and grab the drywall on the back side. In this case I’d cut power, rip the box out, and start from scratch with a remodel box.

Personal opinion though.