hooking up recessed lighting with 3-way switching


  #1  
Old 12-12-03, 09:00 PM
fprinc
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hooking up recessed lighting with 3-way switching

What I have is several scenarios
1) I have 8 recessed lights I am installing in an unfinished basement I am finishing, and hooking them up to 3 way switches.
Can I, link all the cans together with 14/2 and run 14/2 from the end cans to each switch, then run 14/3 from switch to switch, with power running to one of the switches, or do i have to run 14/3 throughout all the cans and from the cans to to the switches. Also, in the same room I have 2 sconces and a lv spot can light. I believe the cans will take a 60 watt bulb, not sure of the lv can and the sconces will probably be halogen. can I run them all on the same circuit? I also want to install 3-way dimmers on the 8 can lights, and I believe it will have to be higher rated dimmers, up to 600 watts. is this true? What type of 3'way dimmers do you recommend?
2) how many outlets can I have on one 14/2 circuit, through a common area like a rec room.
3) a new code in our area says that we must isolate the bedroom circuit for outlets and install a safety breaker( whatever its called )that allows the breaker to switch off if some little kid sticks a bobby-pin into the electrical recepticle, and thus not allow the tiny tot to get electrcuted,, something I did when I was a young pup,. I have heard that the lighting also has to be on the same type of safety breaker, If so do I run a new circuit just for the lights and a seperate one to the outlets?
3) I also am installing a hot wired smoke detector in the bedroom and another outside the bedroom. They need to react simultaneously, How do I do this, do I run power to one and then 14/3 from the one to the other, how does the wiring get connected in order for them to react simultaneously.
Thanks in advance for the advice,,, fpr
 
  #2  
Old 12-12-03, 09:36 PM
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It sounds as though you are half-way to figuring out the entire setup, just asking for a solid conformation.

Run the home run to the 1st 3way, 14-3 between the 3ways, and 14-2 from there on through the 8 hihats (cans). Ordinary (non electronically "smart") 3way dimmers are only installed in one location, not in place of both 3way switches. Wire the 3way dimmer into the 3way switch that is 1st in the run. The black and red will be the travelers between the 3ways. Avoid the economy dimmers, and Lutron to not have an annoying hum when the lighting level is low.

You have upto 1440 watts to use a 15A circuit.
Receptacles count as 175 VA.

The maximum number of receptacles allowed on a circuit is a debated issue, the common rule of thumb that is accepted is a maximum of eight (8) receptacles per 15A circuit. Use the screws, not the back-stab holes.

For bedrooms, ALL devices/loads must be AFCI protected.
AFCI = Arc Fault Circuit Interupter
Detects the electrical charachteristics of an arc on the line, such as when the bed or dresser is shoved against a lamp plug, pinching the wire together with damaged insulation. This is a method of reducing the number of fires that start due to electrical faults in sleeping quarters. Eventually, all "living" spaces (living/fam/rec RM) may be required to have such, by the NEC.

Smoke Detectors:
Run 14-2 to the 1st unit. Use 14-3 between the smoke heads.
There is a 3rd wire pigtailed on the smoke, and it will be orange, yellow, etc. Connect it to the Red in the romex. If one unit sounds, it signals the others to do the same through that wire.
If there will be a smoke detector in a bedroom, the circuit must be AFCI prtected. Typically AFCI breakers cost $35.00, more or less depending on the model of panel.

In all, it sounds like there will be a lighting circuit, 2 receptacle circuits, and a smoke circuit. The cost of dividing the loads up into more than the minimum number of ciruits is cheap while the walls are open.

gj
 

Last edited by green jacket; 12-12-03 at 09:56 PM.
  #3  
Old 12-12-03, 10:16 PM
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Can I link all the cans together with 14/2 and run 14/2 from the end cans to each switch, then run 14/3 from switch to switch, with power running to one of the switches?
Yes.

Can I run them all on the same circuit?
Yes.

I believe it will have to be higher rated dimmers, up to 600 watts
600 watts is the most common dimmer rating. You can find some lower and some higher, but both are more rare.

What type of 3'way dimmers do you recommend?
I recommend you just put one 3-way dimmer for each set of lights. There are many kinds of dimmers, and it is mainly a personal choice. A lot depends on how often you plan to change the dimming level. I prefer the ones that turn on and off easily, returning to exactly where you set the level last time, with a separate control for dimming. I like the ones that have a normal looking switch with a slider next to it. But that's just me. As I said, it's personal taste. I disagree a little with green jacket in that I believe you need not necessarily install the dimmer in the "first" 3-way. Put it in whichever switch box is more convenient. When using dimmers, always use name-brand bulbs (e.g. GE, Philips, Sylvania) to avoid buzzing problems.

How many outlets can I have on one 14/2 circuit, through a common area like a rec room?
As many as you want, but I recommend you limit yourself to eight. I would also suggest you use the largest boxes you can find (22.5 cubic inch single-gang boxes), use 12-gauge wire, and put it all on a 20-amp circuit.

a new code in our area says that we must isolate the bedroom circuit for outlets and install a safety breaker( whatever its called )that allows the breaker to switch off if some little kid sticks a bobby-pin into the electrical recepticle, and thus not allow the tiny tot to get electrcuted
Well, not exactly. The AFCI requirement is for fire safety, not electocution safety (although most AFCI breakers have limited GFCI protection too). So keep the bobby pins out of the receptacles. Check locally, as many areas have not adopted the AFCI requirements exactly as specified in the NEC.

I do agree with green jacket in that more circuits are better than fewer. Also, put the lighting and receptacles on separate circuits to avoid annoying lighting flicker.
 
  #4  
Old 12-12-03, 10:46 PM
fprinc
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Re: hooking up recessed lighting with 3-way switching

Thanks for the answers, it helps considerably.
Next set of questions for the experts.

4) 200amp panel means whats? all breakers should add up to 200amps? I hope not..
5) I have 3 panasonic exhaust fans (1) variable 60-110 CFM, (1) 150 CFM, (1) 90 CFM to install, (storage, laundry, bathroom) respectively. how many circuits do I need and of what amperage should they be.
6) A list of all my electrical locations and needs:

Existing, 1/220 amp for dryer.
Existing, 1/15-20? amp for washer.
Existing, 1/15 amp for furnace.
Existing, whatever is setup for Electric HW tank.

Need, 1/20 amp GFCI for 2 bathroom outlets.
Need, 1/15 amp GFCI for jetted tub.
Need, 1/15 amp AFCI circuit for 7 bedroom outlets.
Need, 1/15 amp AFCI (?) circuit for the smokies.
Need, 1 or 2 20 amp circuits for 18 total outlets in the basement I need to hook up, this excludes bedroom and fore mentioned outlets, also, of these 18 outlets: an entertainment setup and a computer setup will be within, how should I manage these areas to best protect the devices?.
Need, recommendation for Exhaust fans metioned above.


Lighting to include:

Need, 1/15 amp for rec room 8 cans, 1 LV can, 2 sconces ( I have an additional 4 more cans in a nook in the recroom, what circuit can these go on)?.

Need, 1/15 amp circuit for 1 storage light, 2 cans and 2 flush mount laundry lights, 4 hallway can lights, 1 closet light.

Need, 1/15 amp circuit for 1 flush, 1 halogen multiple bulb wall light ( both in bathroom), I guess I can put the 4 recroom nook lights on this circuit.

Need, 1/15 amp AFCI (?) circuit for 3 overhead bedroom lights.

I suppose they will ask for a GFCI outlet at exterior of back slider to., can this go on the bathroom circuit?

Lastly, I need to upgrade the grounding status, I know that I need to have 2 ground rods , one grounded to the other, and one needs to be grounded to cold, hot, gas and then to the panel?

Several sub questions here:
grounding rod diameter?
depth? 8ft.? and copper?
distance 2nd rod from first.
gauge of ground wire from 2nd to first, solid or stranded?
gauge of ground wire from first rod to cold, hot, gas and panel? and in any specific order. solid or stranded?

And thats it for the basement, oh yah the rest of the house is attached to this, and all functioning or existing.. Hope I have room in the panel....

Any recommendations for above scenario would not go unappreciated.... Thanks in advance.... FPR
 

Last edited by fprinc; 12-13-03 at 12:08 AM.
  #5  
Old 12-13-03, 06:42 AM
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A 200 amp panel means that the panel is fed with a maximum of 200 amps from the utility. There will be a 200 amp main breaker where the wires enter the panel. Switching this breaker shuts off the entire panel.

Your breakers do not need to add up to 200 amps or less. However, if you try to run more than 200 amps at one time you will (hopefully) trip your main breaker, even if the individual breakers are all supplying less than their rated capacity (15, 20, 30, etc. amps).
 
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Old 12-13-03, 11:12 AM
J
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4) 200amp panel means whats? all breakers should add up to 200amps? I hope not..
Your hope is fulfilled. Adding up breakers is meaningless.

5) I have 3 panasonic exhaust fans (1) variable 60-110 CFM, (1) 150 CFM, (1) 90 CFM to install, (storage, laundry, bathroom) respectively. how many circuits do I need and of what amperage should they be.
Fans use a trivial amount of power. Check the amp ratings on the motors. You can probably easily put them on the same circuit, either 15-amp or 20-amp.

Need, 1 or 2 20 amp circuits for 18 total outlets in the basement
Two or three. Put the computer area on one circuit. Put the entertainment center on another. Probably put remaining receptacles on a third. Depends on how much computer equipment and how much entertainment equipment you will have.

Need, 1/15 amp for rec room 8 cans, 1 LV can, 2 sconces ( I have an additional 4 more cans in a nook in the recroom, what circuit can these go on)?
They can all go on the same circuit. Lighting load is easy to figure. Just add up bulb wattage.

I suppose they will ask for a GFCI outlet at exterior of back slider to., can this go on the bathroom circuit?
All outdoor receptacles must be GFCI protected. It cannot go on the bathroom circuit (at least not the one serving bathroom receptacles). But you can put it on pretty much any other circuit.

Lastly, I need to upgrade the grounding status, I know that I need to have 2 ground rods , one grounded to the other, and one needs to be grounded to cold, hot, gas and then to the panel?
This is a really complex subject and cannot be covered easily. The grounding rods and cold water supply within 5 feet of entrance provide grounding. The other things you mentioned do not provide grounding, but receive it. We are talking here of course about the grounding electrode system, not the equipment grounding system.

Several sub questions here: grounding rod depth?
distance 2nd rod from first.
gauge of ground wire from 2nd to first, solid or stranded?
gauge of ground wire from first rod?
At least 8 feet of ground contact (i.e., 8-foot rod completely underground, or at least 8 feet of longer rod underground). At least six feet between rods. Usually 4-gauge solid, but there are some other options.
 
 

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