Adding light fixture to existing switched outlet

Old 09-13-04, 09:17 AM
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Adding light fixture to existing switched outlet

Did a search but couldn't find the answer (though I know it must be around here somewhere):

On the roof of my garage, I have a switched outlet (to turn on a plug-in flourescent lamp). I'd like to add a "hardwired" flourescent (left over from a kitchen re-do) to this both the plug-in lamp and the hardwire lamp are switched.

Can I use the "load" terminals on the downstream part of the switched outlet for power to the new lamp (easiest b/c of access; and I'd use the ground in the box), or do I need to pigtail additional wires in the box and make the connection to the primary cables before they go to the outlet?

Thanks much for your help!
Old 09-13-04, 09:27 AM
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"Load terminals" implies a GFCI recepticle outlet in the ceiling. You can use either the load terminals or the line terminals of this recepticle.

If you use the load terminals then ground fault in either light will trip the GFCI and you will be in the dark. If you use the line terminals then a ground fault in the plug in light will trip the GFCI but you will still have the new light, and a ground fault in the new light will trip nothing.

If this were my house I would not have a GFCI recepticle in the ceiling.

Be sure that you use the correct wire size. Use 14 gauge wire if this is a 15 amp circuit, or 12 gauge wire if this is a 20 amp circuit.
Old 09-13-04, 09:44 AM
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Thanks for the quick reply...I guess I misused the terms a bit -- I wasn't sure what you call the "inbound" vs. "outbound/passthrough/downstream" terminals on a regular outlet; it isn't a GFCI up there.

Just wanted to make sure that it was kosher to attach the new lamp directly to the outlet's terminals rather than pigtailing in the box before the outlet, and it sounds like it is.

I'm using 12/2 Romex.
Old 09-13-04, 10:34 AM
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I'm a bit fuzzy on the details, but yes, you can connect new wires directly to the receptacle if there are unused screws on it.

But you mentioned that you planned to "attach the new lamp directly to the outlet's terminals" and also that you are "using 12/2 Romex". Those two statements seem to be contradictory to me, but perhaps you attach an unusual meaning to the word "directly".
Old 09-13-04, 11:46 AM
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Don't worry, you'll understand my special blend of electrical terminology before I'm done and have burned down the place (crosses fingers)

Romex 12/2 from the unused screws on the switched outlet up'n'over to the flourescent fixture (10' away) and then wirenuts to the ballast in the flourescent. I have those stress-relief type deals to hold the Romex onto the fixures/boxes (where it enters the box).

Is it OK to attach the ground wire from the ballast itself (screw/nut where it attaches to the fixture) to the receptacle's ground screw, or better to use the junction box's main ground screw (where the receptacle's ground is connected)? That is, there is no ground wire coming out of the ballast...label says to ground the ballast fixture @ the attachment point (or something like that). Just doublechecking that and the connection point near the receptacle.

I'm actually working on this as we speak so will report success as soon as there's light!
Old 09-13-04, 03:41 PM
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Mission accomplished!

Noticed a post just below mine (diff subject) but with a comment about a "1 wire, 1 screw" rule for wires. There was an additional (empty) grounding screw on a grounding plate in the box, so I used that.

Thanks for the assistance!

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