basement wiring project...question

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  #1  
Old 08-30-06, 06:15 PM
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basement wiring project...question

I am re-wiring part of basement and the first step is to put a three way switch (SwitchA) at the top of the stairs, with another at the bottom (SwitchB). These two switches will control two lights in the cellar. Light B has a direct connection to Light A for its power, so light B is dependent on light A. Currently light A gets its power from the other half of the cellar. I am splitting the lights off fromt that side, so I need a new power source to power lights A & B. My question is where is the best place to bring power to light A? Should I run the power through one of the three ways first, or to the light first? what I would like to do is borrow the power frorm a junction box that controls a few outlets. So by that I mean run a 12-2 wire from switch A to the junction box. would doing that mean that my switches would now control the outlets, because that's obivously not what i want to do. If anyone can point me straight, I'd appreciate it. I'd really prefer not to have to run a completely new circuit to feed power to two lights, I really want to tap into that junction box that feeds the outlets. I'm a little to novice to try it without hearing the best way to do it. Thanks
 
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Old 08-30-06, 06:25 PM
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engineer? or designer?

Just kidding but that kind of detail and instruction usually comes from one of those two sources. anywa, in answer to your question if the junction box is constantly hot then you can run a hot leg off of it to the switch to control the lights.

Here's the few catches that i feel obligated to include.
1. This junction box must be accessible now and in the future if you plan to finish the basement completely
2. be sure that the circuit you are planning on coming off of is a shallow circuit (meaning not already loaded with devices or appliances.
3. running 12/2 wg for lights is implying that you are running off of a 20 amp ckt. (unless thats the only kind of wire you have)

If you have more questions feel free to repost
 
  #3  
Old 08-30-06, 06:59 PM
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Why 12-2 (and 12-3)? Is this a 20 amp circuit? If not then go and buy 14-2 (and 14-3). Do not mix 12 and 14 gage wire on a circuit.

One other caution. If the existing wire between the lights is 14 gage, then you MUST feed this with a 15 amp circuit, or change the wire between the lights.


As for the layout. You can run the power:

a) To the first switch, then to the second switch, then to the first light.

b) To the first switch, to the first light then to the second switch.

c) To the first light, then to the first switch then to the second switch.

d) I can go on and on.

My point is this. You can run the wire just about any way you want. Make the wire runs as short as possible. Also look to minimize the number of cables at any one location, unless the location has a fairly large junction box.
 
  #4  
Old 08-30-06, 07:18 PM
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Thanks guys for the replies and advice. The current circuit that controls all the lights are on a 15amp circuit. The outlet circuit that I wanted to tap into for power is 20amp. The existing wire I have between Light A and Light B is 12-2 wire. Is that what the difference is between 15A and 20A, 15A uses 12-2 and 20A uses 14-2?
What happens if 14 and 12 guage is mixed on the same circuit? I wont' do it, just curious and trying to learn what I can.
 
  #5  
Old 08-30-06, 07:34 PM
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14/2 is made for 15 amp ckt, yes 12/2 is made for 20 amp ckts...you don't mix the two for obvious hazards putting 20 amp ckt on 14/2 will burn your house down. 15 amps on 12/2 is not a safety hazard until you move out and sell the place and then someone else has your idea and tries to run 20 amps through it..not good...

Thus I would run a new ckt from the panel if possible just for possible future purposes. run lighting ckts on 14/2 or /3 whenever possible...why? because very few lighting ckts will take twenty amps (speaking residential here)

As far as how to run your three way ckt...run a new homerun (ckt from the panel) to the bottom basement switch (so if you need to it will be easier to come out of to finish the basement) then run 14/3 to the top of the stairs. out of the top of the stairs run tour switch leg (thats the 14/2 wire going from the switch to the lights) to make the joint in the bottom basement switch

1 make a joint on all your grounds
2 make a joint on all your whites
3 make you hot wire (thts coming from the panel) go to the three way switch on the common screw, your other black and red will be your travellers

upstairs
1 make a joint on all your grounds
2 make a joint on your whites (neutrals)
3 put your black from the switch leg (defined above) on your common screw on our three way switch...ypour travellers will tie attach to the other screws on the switch
 
  #6  
Old 08-30-06, 07:39 PM
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awesome explanation and directions. I am going to do with a new circuit, as you suggested. This will be my weekend project. Thanks for all the help, both of you!
 
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