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# 3-way switch circuit controlling 4 recessed lights

#1
07-27-06, 10:24 AM
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3-way switch circuit controlling 4 recessed lights

Can somebody explain to me the simplest way to wire the following:
3-way switch circuit controlling 4 recessed lights
The line from panel is 14/2
200 amp panel
15 amp breaker

In all my research there seems to be a number of ways to do it...

Brian

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#2
07-27-06, 10:33 AM
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Try this link below......onward switched power for more than one light is explained after the diagram.

http://www.selfhelpandmore.com/switc...y/3wayboth.htm

#3
07-27-06, 01:06 PM
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No way is simpler in my opipion. The way to do it depends if it is easier or shorter wiring to bring power to a switch or a light first.

The thing not to do, is try and put more than one light between switches. You can put one light between switches and then run power for the other lights from the first light.

Tell us the room layout and where power comes from. I can suggest my best way.

#4
07-27-06, 06:57 PM
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Currently there is a light in the middle of my kitchen that is controlled by the two switches. I'll have to trace the lines next time I'm in my attic. I do know that the light and switches share a 15 amp circuit with two other room's lights, the oven hood, and two porch lights. I'll also have to determine if this circuit can handle the additional load of 4 recessed lights instead of a single light. I'll post back when I can get a better idea of where the wires are coming from.

Brian

#5
07-27-06, 07:14 PM
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Are you just wanting to add the can lights to the existing 3- way circuit and do away with the current kitchen light?

#6
07-27-06, 09:07 PM
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Yes, the four recessed lights would replace the current light.

#7
07-27-06, 09:37 PM
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I'll assume you are going to install a can light at the existing kitchen light location. At any rate if you need to extend the existing wiring to reach the first can light you will need a junction box.

You havent said if power comes to the light fixture first or to the switches first.

Last edited by Roger; 07-28-06 at 12:15 AM.
#8
07-29-06, 06:50 PM
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If you are replacing the one existing light with four lights, then just connect the first replacement light, and all additional lights, to the wires presently connected to the existing light.

#9
07-31-06, 07:02 AM
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OK, I got up in the attic this morning, and the 14-2 supply goes to the light. From there, there is a 14-3 (running to the first switch I assume), and another 14-2. My guess would be that this is going to another light in the circuit, not controlled by the switch? (This circuit has the 3-way switch-controlled light, as well as three other interior ceiling lights, the oven exhaust fan, and two porch lights.

Since the light I'm replacing is not in line with where the new recessed lights will go, do I flip that junction box for attic access, and run a 14-2 to the first recessed light, keeping all conections the same, and then continue to run 14-2 between all recessed lights?

#10
07-31-06, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by brian6
Since the light I'm replacing is not in line with where the new recessed lights will go, do I flip that junction box for attic access, and run a 14-2 to the first recessed light, keeping all conections the same, and then continue to run 14-2 between all recessed lights?
Yes. Install a junction box in the attic since can lights typically have one built in which you likely cannot use. I recommend a large square box rather than a rectangular single gang box. In this junction box make all identical connection to what is presently there. Connect your new 14-2 to the same two wires that presently connect to the light wires. This is most likely a connection to the incoming white neutral and the outgoing white neutral with the white wire, and a connection to either the red or black wire of the 14-3 that goes to the switches. This new 14-2 is then run to the first light, then to the second light, and so on.

#11
08-04-06, 11:08 AM
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OK, I installed the recessed lights, all daisy-chained off of the first. I installed them through the attic (I give it to all you guys that do that for a living...it was HOT up there) I made the electrical connections in a new square box where the old fixture was located. Everything is working great!

I was a little surprised to see the old wire configuration though. It went like this:

Three white wires nutted together with the black of the old fixture
Three black nutted together, isolated
single red connected to single white of fixture, and of course, all grounds tied together.

So I kept that configuration the same, but it seemed to me to be backwards, color wise.

#12
08-08-06, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by brian6
I was a little surprised to see the old wire configuration though. It went like this:

Three white wires nutted together with the black of the old fixture
Three black nutted together, isolated
single red connected to single white of fixture, and of course, all grounds tied together.

So I kept that configuration the same, but it seemed to me to be backwards, color wise.
I am probably over-thinking this, but is the above wiring configuration ok? When I connected the 14-2 that runs to the first recessed light, I connected the black to the three white wires, the white to the red, and grounds all together (as it was before with the fixture)

#13
08-08-06, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by brian6
I am probably over-thinking this, but is the above wiring configuration ok? When I connected the 14-2 that runs to the first recessed light, I connected the black to the three white wires, the white to the red, and grounds all together (as it was before with the fixture)
No. The white wires of the lights are neutral wires. They get connected to your power neutral, which shouldbe white. The black wires of the lights are hot wires. They get connected to your power hot wire, which should be black.

From the post describing the connections to the original light, the hot and neutral were reversed. You should have fixed this mistake.

#14
08-08-06, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by racraft
From the post describing the connections to the original light, the hot and neutral were reversed. You should have fixed this mistake.
OK, how do I fix this?

Would I connect white the the three nutted white, black to the red, and connect the three black together?

How do I test which wire is actually the hot and neutral?

#15
08-08-06, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by brian6
OK, how do I fix this?
Tell me ALL of the wiring in complete detail at the first light.

Originally Posted by brian6
How do I test which wire is actually the hot and neutral?
Use a meter or a simple light tester and test each wire against the ground wire. The hot wire carries voltage and will register 120 volts or light the light, while the neutral wire is grounded and will register no voltage and won't light the light.

#16
08-08-06, 08:12 AM
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The original junction box had 3 wires in it (two 14-2 wires, and one 14-3). Inside the junction box:

Three white wires nutted together with the black of the old fixture
Three black nutted together, isolated
single red connected to single white of fixture,
all grounds tied together.

This light was controlled by a three-way switch.

Edited this part:
The circuit that this light is on has other switched lights (no other are three-way), 3 interior lights and two exterior lights. The interior lights all seem to have the power feed through their light box, then on to a switch loop. The exterior lights must get their power at the switch, since the connections outside are to a single 14-2 (black to black, white to white).

#17
08-08-06, 08:15 AM
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Swap the black and white wires of the lights.

However, just to be sure, I would verify that the red wire feeding the lights is switched hot by checking it with the ground wires using a meter or light tester.

#18
08-08-06, 08:18 AM
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OK, I will do that! Thanks!

#19
08-08-06, 08:21 AM
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So, the red should be hot when the switch is on, and dead when the switch is off?

Is is most likely that whomever hooked up the original light got the black and white reversed?

#20
08-08-06, 08:31 AM
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Yes, the red should be hot when the switches are in an on configuration on.

Hopefully the original installer got the wires reversed. If for some reason the red wire is not the switched hot wire then there are worse problems to deal with.

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