convert lighting fixture


Old 09-28-00, 12:19 AM
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I have a lighting fixture in my garage that turns on with a cord that is attached to it. Can I add a switch to this light so that I dont have to walk up to it everytime I want to turn it on? I dont know if this will help any but the light is wired with black, white, and copper cables.
Old 09-28-00, 07:42 AM
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Yes, it's pretty easy (especially in a garage where appearance isn't critical).

I'm going to assume that the ceiling box has exactly one black, one white, and one copper (no more). Post again if this is not true.

Simply run a cable of the same type (14/2 or 12/2) down to where you want the switch. Install a box for the switch. At the switch, attach the black and white to the brass screws of the switch, and the ground to the ground screw. Tape the end of the white wire black.

At the ceiling box, attach the two Romex black wires to each other and nothing else. Connect all the ground wires together. Connect the Romex white (from the switch) to the black wire from the light. Tape the end of this white black. Connect the Romex white (the preexisting wire) to the white wire from the light.

Make sure you properly secure and protect the new wire you run, and use correct size wire nuts correctly installed. Don't forget to shut off the breaker before beginning.

If you're unfamiliar with wiring, read a book first so you understand the basics.
Old 09-28-00, 10:22 AM
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I agree with everything John said exept the white wire. At the ceiling box, you should connect the white from source to the white fixture wire. The white from the switch should be connected to the source black wire. Then connect the black from the switch to the black of the fixture. It doesn't matter which terminal on the switch these white and black wires are attached to. The only difference here is this: when you attach the wires to the fixture, you will have a black and white instead of two whites. This is the proper way to wire a switch leg. Easy way to remember is "white down, black up".
Old 09-28-00, 12:06 PM
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Okay, what I said and what Handyone said are electrically the same. The only difference is in wire color. I'll defer to Handyone.
Old 09-28-00, 08:16 PM
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Just thought I would defend both replies. John Nelson is right as of the 96 NEC. A Code change appeared in the 99 NEC requiring the white to be reidentified with black tape and the reidentified white wire is only allowed to supply the hot to the switch not from the switch to the fixture. The reason this new rule as introduced is the electronic "smart switches" now being incorporated into the electrical construction field requiring the hot to be connected to the "smart switch" in the right place. The following is a copy of that section on the 99 NEC.


2. Where a cable contains an insulated conductor for single-pole, 3-way, or 4-way switch loops, and the conductor with white or natural gray insulation or a marking of three continuous white stripes is used for the supply to the switch, but not as a return conductor from the switch to the switched outlet. In these applications, the conductor with white or natural gray insulation or with three continuous white stripes shall be permanently re-identified to indicate its use by painting or other effective means at its terminations and at each location where the conductor is visible and accessible.

Hope this helps


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