how to conceptualize wiring diagram


Old 06-26-06, 11:47 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Denver
Posts: 26
how to conceptualize wiring diagram

Hi all,
I've been going along with my Complete Wiring Guide and come to the point where I'm ready to design the circuits for our basement. Unfortunately, my book treats everything like it's at the end of the run. We have a tiny basement and I'd like to do this all on one circuit because the box is getting full. I'm aware that basement recepticles need to be GFCI. I'd like to do two lights (each on a single pole switch) and three non-switched (i.e. always on) recepticles. The way the wire comes into the basement it looks like would make the most sense to put one of the switches/lights first and then go from there.
Our basement will likely remain unfinished for some time and when it's done it'll basically have room for the washer and dryer (already wired) in a little wash room (not a bathroom) and a den or small bedroom (9x10 room). I can't seem to conceptualize how to plan my wiring and figure out where I need 2 wire and three wire. How do I start to get this on paper? Is there an online resource that shows diagrams for more than one light or recepticle on a circuit?

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Old 06-26-06, 12:10 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Do not install a single circuit and pout both lights and receptacles on it. The first time the breaker trips and you are in the dark you will regret that you saved a few bucks. If you do not have enough room in your box then use tandem breakers or install a sub panel.

I recommend 20 amp circuits, which means 12 gage wire. I would go ahead and make each receptacle a GFCI receptacle, which mans using only the LINE terminals on each GFCI.

To answer your question regarding when to use two conductor (plus ground) cable and when to use three conductor (plus ground), that is trivial. Use three conductor plus ground when you need to carry constant power and switched power. Use two conductor cable when you need to carry only on or the other (constant power OR switched power).
Old 06-27-06, 05:00 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 85

Based on my own experience, do not skimp on lighting and particularly on the number of outlets. When I finished my basement my critics scoffed that I overdid the electrical work. As time passed and our needs also grew I found that I yet needed more outlets. Luckily, without too much fuss, I was able to add more power outlets, lighting, TV cable outlets, etc., to accomodate added equipment (fax, shredder, battery chargers, heater, etc.). In short, reasonable overplanning won't hurt.

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