Joining 2 wire with 3 wire cable


Old 11-11-02, 09:42 AM
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Joining 2 wire with 3 wire cable

I am finishing my basement and are doing the electrical work myself. Eveything is going fine except that I need to join a 2 wire cable with a 3 wire cable. This needs to happen in a fixture/lamp that I have moved to the storage area I am building.

Actually - this kind of wiring was already in place. The 2 wire came from the general box from the outside and went into that fixture "A". From there the electrician had pulled 3 wire cabling to the switch and a second fixture.

I had noticed too late that the 2 wire cable was the one coming from the outside bringing in the electricity and had already unhooked everything and moved the fixture. So, now I am sitting there with my cabling apart. :-(

Anyway - I moved the light that need to go and pulled new cabling. I am just not sure how to hook it up. As it was hooked up and working before there must be a way to do it again.

I do not really know now how I can joing the 2 cables.

Black goes to black
white goes to white
ground goes to ground
Red goes to ????



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Old 11-11-02, 09:56 AM
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Some more information:

black/white coming from outside with power into fixture/lamp
black white/red going to second fixture from first fixture/lamp
black/white/red going to switch

Would I at the first fixture hook up the

incoming black to outgoing red

outgoing black to the fixture

white to white + white to fixture/lamp



Old 11-11-02, 10:13 AM
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Location: Calgary Canada
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Is there three way switches involved in this? Is the circuit feeding other receptacles or outlets downstream of the fixture.

It is important to know this as it will determine what is hot and what is not.

It is not normal to run a three wire cable for nothing so it is more then likely used for some thing and what it is going to will dicate how it should be wired
Old 11-11-02, 11:10 AM
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Yes, there is a 3-way switch involved. That switch is for the light fixture on the stairway (which is different from the 2 light fixtures described above). It is fed though the same circuit that I am talking about above.

The 2 fixtures involved are downstairs in the basement and are tunred on/off by a regular switch.

There's also a smoke detector fed by this circuit.

The order in which they appear is:

1) incoming 2 wire cable from out side
2) fixture 1
2) 3 wire cable
4) fixture 2
5) 3 wire cable
6) switch box with 2 switches (see above)
7a) smoke detector
7b) fixture on stairway (not involved at all)
8) Switch for fixture on stairway

What do you think?


Old 11-11-02, 11:27 AM
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Thanks for the help, guys.

I will need to look at the switch one more time before I post something wrong here. As I am still at work this will happen later today (I am in Colorado / Mountain Time).

What will I need to look for at the switch? I guess I can forget about the regular switch but I do look for the 3 way switch and what is connected to the black on the switch?


Old 11-11-02, 12:04 PM
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Thanks for the additional explanation. Very helpful. I think I will now be able to figure it out.

I will post later on today to let you know how things are going along.

Again - thanks for your help!!!!!!

Old 11-11-02, 12:47 PM
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hey piranha, quick solution here, go to and click on BEST 3 WAY, for a great diagram.
Old 11-11-02, 06:37 PM
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Ok, here I am.

I got the 2 lights working fine on the standard switch.

The 3 way switch ist working, too - BUT - when I turn off the standard switch the 3 way switch no longer has power.

I am too tired now to find out why this happened.

What's your opinion on this? Why would the 3 way switch loose power when the standard switch is turned off?

Old 11-12-02, 02:23 PM
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i just read ur last message, now the way i'm see it is you don't want all the lights on at once, so what i would do is this, from ur power coming in to the room don't go directly to the switch,instead install a junction box,( just a small 3 or 4" box) go into this box( before i get to far ahead of myself GET RID OF THE 3 WIRE AND THE 3 WAY SWITCH) now back to the junction box from here feed ur standard switch, which i believe is a single pole switch. Black into the top of the switch and black on the bottom of the switch tie both whites together (power coming in and power going to the lights. All your doing is putting a switch inline to your lights, to shut them off and on. Now from the junction box to your 3 way switch box, install new single pole switch and run 2 wire from junction box to the new switch box, from switch box, run 2 wire to your other set of lights, same as before black on top of switch and black to lights on bottom of switch, tie both whites together at switch box, now when you get to your second set of lights black to black and white to white, this should solve your problem.NOTE**** AT THE JUNCTION BOX TIE ALL3 BLACKS TOGETHER WITH WIRE NUT, AND THE SAME FOR THE 3 WHITES, AND THE 3 BARE COPPER WIRES. MAKE SURE POWER IS OFF
Old 11-12-02, 08:12 PM
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Thanks everyone for your help!

I got everything to work perfectly now. It looks like that whoever had done the original wiring had swapped the color connectionwise at one point (at least that's how it looked to me). I swapped the red and black one at the switch level and everything was up and running.

Again - thank you so much! Awesome forum, awesome members!!!!!!!!!!

Have a great day!

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