Adding light using power from switch, but odd problem


Old 02-23-06, 09:38 AM
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Adding light using power from switch, but odd problem

I'm attempting to add a light, at the top of my basement stairs using the power from the switch, which controls the 3 lights in the basement. There's a 14/2 coming into the switch, with the white and black going to each of the two switch terminals.
I've fished 2 other 14/2, from the existing switch to the new light I want at the top of the stairs. I disconnected the wires going to the switch and marreted them to one of the wires going to my new light, so that the power continuesto the new light them back down to the old switch. The light is a standard plain procelain light with 2 connections for HOT and 2 for neutral. My problem is now the following. When I flick the switch to on, the basement light work but my new one, at the top of the stairs doesn't. When I flick the switch to OFF, the basement lights go off, but The new one lights up!!?? I don't get it. Can anyone help?

Thanks in advance

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Old 02-23-06, 09:54 AM
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This is one of our top ten questions. You attempted the impossible. There's no "power" in that switch box. It just contains a switch loop. And therefore, it's impossible to add anything to it.

The simplest and most effective thing to do when you want another light to run off an existing switch is to run your new cable from the existing light to the new light. Most people are reluctant to do this because it is more likely to cause drywall damage. But drywall repair is cheap and easy.

Or if you want to put the new light on a new switch, then just find another source of power. An unswitched receptacle which is not in a kitchen, bath, dining room, or laundry area is usually suitable.
Old 02-23-06, 09:54 AM
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When the switch is in the "Off" position, the new/old fixtures are in "series" across 120 volts. You'r problem is that the absence of a Neutral-connection in the switch outlet-box.
Old 02-23-06, 09:57 AM
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You cannot do what you want. The switch is wired as a switch loop. There is no neutral at the switch.

You may have also overfilled the switch box with three cables into it.

You need to rerun your wires in some manner.

You either need to replace the wire from the switch to the basement light it is fed from with 14-3 and rewire appropriately. If your box will be overfilled then this option is not legal.


Undo what you have already done and run a wire from the new light to any of the existing lights. This is the better solution.
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