The switch was wired like this:
Hot wire on ground, ground on hot and hot wire on hot wire. Hmmm…. a novel way of wiring together a switch on the circuit. This resulted in the switch being hot and explains why there was tape over the screws in the plate(they were hot too) and why Piero was getting zapped. It is a wonder that all of us weren’t getting zapped.
So Eduardo figures out which wire goes to the light and which wire goes to the rest of the circuit and wires up the switch ‘properly’. This left one wire hanging loose (that was hot all the time) and the lights wouldn’t turn on. Hmmm…..
So Eduardo calls me in asking for some ideas. I asked him what he did and then suggested that perhaps this left over wire needs to be wired into the switch for some reason. Very carefully (because we were working with live wires to see if the lights would turn on when different wires touched), Eduardo goes to touch the left over hot wire to one of the screw-ins on the switch. In the process, he hits the ground. Voila! Lights. Removes the wire from ground…. no lights… touches ground… lights. Hmmm…. interesting
We have no idea what is wrong with the circuit but Eduardo decides to twist together the ground and the hot wire and cap it with a wire nut. The lights work, the rest of the circuit works and the switch is no longer hot. He presumes that some other mistake has been made in the circuit but is afraid to go looking for it in case other interesting things pop up that he won’t be able to handle.