help newbie with light switch

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  #1  
Old 12-11-05, 11:59 AM
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help newbie with light switch

I'm very new to wiring and need some guidance. I have an existing 3-way light switch that controls the cellar lights. This switch is located at the top of the stairwell. There is another switch downstairs that controls the same lights. I want to add a ceiling light to go above the top of the stairwell and I want it to be controlled with all the other cellar lights. Here is what I have:
Currently the existing switch has a red, black and white wire. I have run two wire romex from the ceiling light into the outlet box that the switch is in. This has one black, one white, and one bare wire. My light switch has two screw on each side. On one side is a gold screw at the top with a green screw on the bottom. On the other side there is a gold screw at the top with a black screw on the bottom. I also have a brand new switch that has just a green screw on one side, with two gold's on the other. Not sure if it matters which one I use. Can someone guide me on what connects to what, which colors together, etc? I'm so close to being done this project I'm just a little fuzzy on how this should connect. Thanks
 
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Old 12-11-05, 12:41 PM
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A web site with diagrams

Perhaps this website will illustrate what you are trying to do:
http://www.handymanwire.com/articles/3wayswitch.html
 
  #3  
Old 12-11-05, 01:47 PM
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unfortunately, I'm still confused. I just need to know what wires connect where. The existing switch that I am dealing with, I guess you could consider, it is at the "end of a run". It only has three wires coming into it, a black red and white wire. Now all I want is to add a light to this end of the circuit, using 2 wire romex, black and white. Can anyone tell me which wires go on the switch, which ones get wired together with a wire nut, etc?
 
  #4  
Old 12-11-05, 01:55 PM
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You can't do what you want from this switch box, for two reasons:

1. You do not have a neutral at the switch.

2. You do not have the switched hot wire at the switch.


You need to run from one of the existing lights to the new light.
 
  #5  
Old 12-11-05, 01:57 PM
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You may or may not be able to connect at the switch. It would depend on the exact wiring. Chances are about 1 out of 3 that you can connect here. If you tell us what the wiring is at the switch we can helkp you determine if this is possible.

However, the easiest way to connect your new light is to connect it to one of the existing cellar lights. This will work regardless of what the wiring is.
 
  #6  
Old 12-11-05, 04:01 PM
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ok, I traced it out to what I could see and this is what I have:

Switch A (the one I want to add a light off from) has a 3-wire that goes
to Switch B (the other switch for the cellar lights). Switch A has the Black
and White wire's hooked to one side of the switch, with the Red one on the
other side.

Over at Switch B, it has the white and black wire from Switch A coming into one side of the switch, with the black wire from another run of romex attached to the other side. (I'm assuming this is to continue to the lights already up and running). The red wire coming in from Switch A appears to be joined with another wire (I can see it has a wire nut on it but can't quite tell what its paired with as there is another switch in the same box that controls an outside light)

I put a brand new 2-wire run from the new light and brought it down into the existing switch box at Switch A. It was here I was hoping I could connect the wires together. Now it doesn't sound so promising. Am I clear on what I have for a setup so you can determine whether I can do what I need
to do? Appreciate all this help.
 
  #7  
Old 12-11-05, 04:37 PM
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You cannot connect any load from switch A. There is no neutral in the box. it is a switch loop.

You need to connect another light from either one of the existing lights, or from switch B. However, switch B has three cables coming into it and the switch, so it not likely you can easily (or within code) add a another cable there.
 
  #8  
Old 12-11-05, 04:37 PM
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It's impossible to do this with a cable to switch A.

You didn't provide enough detail to know whether it can be done with a cable to switch B. We need to know more about the wiring in that box to know.

It can certainly be done, and can always be done, with a cable to an existing light.
 
  #9  
Old 12-11-05, 04:44 PM
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ok, I guess I will have to hook into an existing light. I don't know enough about what is going on over on Switch B to mess with it. So here is my plan this time around:

There is an existing junction box nearby the Switch A location, where two of the cellar lights come into. I will add a 2-wire into this junction box, and bring the other end into the outlet box at Switch A. So at Switch A I would have three different wires, one 3-wire and two 2-wire. Now what needs to attach to what at Switch A for this to work?
 
  #10  
Old 12-11-05, 04:56 PM
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Nothing get attached to switch A at all. Leave it alone and don't touch those wires (except the ground wire, if you do go into the box.

If at all possible I recommend that you avoid using the switch A junction box. I realize that you ran a wire into it, but you can remove it just as easily. Too many wires in a switch box increases the chance of an accidental incorrect connection and/or an accidental short. Plus, it makes it very difficult to get all the wires back in and then get the switch straight and all the way in place.

What you need to do is to connect your two wire cable to the two wire cable that feeds a light. You connect the black wires to each other, the white wires to each other and bare ground wires to each other.

If you want you can run a wire from the junction box you found to switch A and then tie into your new light cable, but again, you are making more work and possibly confusing someone later on.

I also suggest that you make sure that this junction box you found really and truly is for the basement lights, and not for some other reason. You should probably make a note as to how all the wires in that junction box are connected before you try to add your new wire.
 
  #11  
Old 12-11-05, 05:08 PM
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ok, I think I follow you. You are saying leave the Switch A alone and as it was before I even took the plate off it. I need to take the 2-wire from the new light and connect the other end into an existing light?
 
  #12  
Old 12-11-05, 05:37 PM
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Exactly.

And I am adding filler to the message to make it long enough to get around the "too short" check.
 
  #13  
Old 12-11-05, 06:55 PM
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Thanks so much for the guidance and patience with a newbie!
 
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