Bulbs glowing but not fully lit.

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  #1  
Old 09-24-06, 02:12 PM
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Angry Bulbs glowing but not fully lit.

I'm having an issue. Just completed wiring a 3-way switch for 6 can lights. I've checked my work it's clean and accurate. The problem is when I turn them on, I only get a faint glow from the bulbs. I'm figuring that the cans for some reason aren't getting enough juice. I'm thinking that I need to go out and get a multi-tester, but where do I stick it? Do I put it into the light bulb socket?
And then my next issue is, lets say I put the multi-tester into the light-bulb socket, and it says that not enough power is entering the fixture, then what do I do?
Sincerely,
she-rah
 
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  #2  
Old 09-24-06, 02:36 PM
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You need to draw, or explain all your wiring connections.

It sounds like you have something wired in series.. either this entire string of lights in series with another circuit, or these lights wired in series with eachother.
 
  #3  
Old 09-24-06, 03:11 PM
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Red face Bulbs glowing, but not fully lit

I have 12-2 running from the panel to the first switch, 12-3 running from the first switch through all the cans and to the second switch, which is the end of the circuit. This circuit only has 6x60W bulbs in the fixtures, making only 360 total watts for the circuit. It's on a 15 amp breaker... also new.

I will go make a sketch of how it's connected... then figure out how to get a scan of it to you. I don't see anything in here that lets me post a picture... Thanks for your reply!

she-rah
 
  #4  
Old 09-24-06, 03:26 PM
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You cannot wire what you discribed without using #12-4 for parts of the circuit.

You can use photobucket.com to upload images and post a link here.
 
  #5  
Old 09-24-06, 03:28 PM
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Don't bother with a sketch. You wired it wrong.

To go with your design, you need 12-4 (or 12-2-2) between the lights.

The proper wiring using 12-2 and 12-3 would be to go from the first switch to the second switch with 12-3 and then to go from the second switch to the first light, then to the second light, then to the third light, etc., using 12-2.

Or you could go from the first switch to the first light using 12-3, then to the second switch using 12-3. You also go from the first light to the second light, then to the third light, etc. using 12-2.

Decide how you wish to correct it, and we can provide further information if you need it.
 
  #6  
Old 09-24-06, 03:46 PM
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Unhappy Bulbs glowing but not fully lit.

Really? Seems my 3-way switch diagrams from both Home Depot and Sunset Magazine publications, not to mention the Google Search are incorrect. I've noticed that most of the diagrams, with the exception of Google, show only a single fixture between two switches. The 3-way switch option from Google showed 12-3 from switch to fixture, 12-2 from fixture to fixture with two runs between each.
Could it be that 12-3 can't carry the amount of juice necessary for all six cans?
Sorry to ponder so much, it's just that no one has made mention of 12-4 wiring to me with regard to this problem. Obviously there are many different ways from point A to point B on this one.
I'll continue drawing my diagram for you. Thanks for the "how to" on getting it to you.

she-rah
 
  #7  
Old 09-24-06, 03:51 PM
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As I stated, you can place ONE light directly between the switches. The other lights need to be PARALLELED off the light.

THe drawing you have are, most likely, correct. You incorrectly made a transition from ONE light between the switches to six lights. If all six of the light bulbs are the same size (wattage) then they are each getting 20 volts, instead of 120 volts. Further, if you remove any of the lights bulbs they will all go out.

To fix the problem you need to rewire. You also need to understand how to properly wire light bulbs so they are in parallel and not in series.

How do you wish to rewire?

Another way to salvage the installation is to ADD a piece of 12-2 between each light, but that will make the wiring more confusing and you MAY run into a problem with box fill issues, which would be bad.

I recommend 12-3 between the switches and then you can leave the existing wiring in place and just modify it a little.
 
  #8  
Old 09-24-06, 03:54 PM
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Red face Bulbs glowing but not fully lit

I've stopped drawing my picture. Racraft, what you are saying is more a long the lines of what I have been hearing while troubleshooting this thing with "the boys".
My only question now is, how come I've got "faint glow", instead of "nothing at all", or fully lit?

she-rah
 
  #9  
Old 09-24-06, 03:57 PM
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Here is a drawing of what you would need to do with the switches on each end of this run.

http://members.cox.net/jwhite480/SwLtLtSw.jpg

I would take the 12-3 out from the last light to the last switch.
Run a new 12-3 from switch to switch. Then making the fix would be easy.
 
  #10  
Old 09-24-06, 04:03 PM
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Tha faint glow is because there is 20 volts across each bulb. To glow at the proper brightness, the bulbs need 120 volts across them. More than 120 volts and they glow brighter (too much and they blow out). Less than 120 votls and they glow dimly. Too little and they appear not to glow at all.

The abvoe is true for lights that are resistive, which applies to the bulbs you have.
 
  #11  
Old 09-24-06, 04:14 PM
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This is one way that you can use to fix the problem.

http://members.cox.net/jwhite480/3way1.jpg
 
  #12  
Old 09-24-06, 04:14 PM
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Bulbs glowing but not fully lit.

So my cans are only getting 20 volts of power with the 12-3. That would explain the "faint glow" alright.
So heres my thinking with all the info I've gotten. From first switch to second, I'll run 12-3. From first switch to light, I'll run 12-2, continue on between the lights with 12-2, from last light to switch 12-2.
There is going to be very little breathing room in those switch boxes. Any advice on saving space? Is there a smaller alternative to wire nuts?

she-rah
 
  #13  
Old 09-24-06, 04:17 PM
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Smile Bulbs glowing but not fully lit.

Thanks for the link jwhite, I've got it printed out.

she-rah
 
  #14  
Old 09-24-06, 04:39 PM
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You do not need to go from the first switch to a light.

Bring power to the first switch. Go from the first switch to the second switch. Go from the second switch to a light. Go from that light to another light. Go from that light to another light.

This way no junction gets more than two cables.
 
  #15  
Old 09-24-06, 05:05 PM
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Cool Bulbs glowing but not fully lit.

Gotcha! Thanks for reitterating. I appreciate your time and patience. I'm sure I will be back with other questions at a later date. If you hadn't noticed I'm new at this, and today was my first time on DIY.

she-rah
 
  #16  
Old 09-24-06, 05:16 PM
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Well, if it's any consolation, you aren't the first person to make the mistake you made, and you won't be the last.

As you have gathered, there are numerous ways to wire your setup. Without any of us seeing your layout, we cannot tell you which way is best, or more correctly which way best suits your layout.

Any way that you run the wires is fine, as long as you get proper power to the lights and don't create any code violations or safety issues.
 
  #17  
Old 09-25-06, 03:54 AM
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she-rah,
to repeat what racraft said.. The drawing that I posted is just one way to do what you want. I never meant to say that it was the only way.
 
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