One switch for two lights...having issues

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  #1  
Old 10-20-06, 12:56 PM
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One switch for two lights...having issues

Here's my issue...the light switch at the top of my stairs controls one light in the basement. I added a 2nd light fixture in the hallway leading to the basement and ran the wire from the light fixture to the switch. I tied all the white wires together via wirenut. I then tied the two black wires together with a pigtail going to the single pole switch. The problem is when I turn on the lights they are both very dim. I'm not able to run power from the basement light to the new fixture which I know would fix this. My question is there another way to make this work?
Thanks for your time.
 
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  #2  
Old 10-20-06, 01:44 PM
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What you did sounds correct, but the dim lights are another issue! I'd first check your wirenut connections, make sure they're both good and solid and no arcing. A loose pigtail can cause these problems, and cause a risk of fire. Assuming that connection is good, does it stay dim if you unscrew one light bulb or the other, or when one is unscrewed, does the other brighten up? Do you have a multimeter? What voltage are you getting at the lights with one bulb and with two?
 
  #3  
Old 10-20-06, 01:45 PM
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How many wires were in the box and how were they connected BEFORE you did anything?

I suspect that you tapped into a switch loop and now have your lights in series. This would be wrong. If this is the case, you would need to re-route your new cable to the first light, which is what you should have done in the first place.
 
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Old 10-20-06, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by grover
What you did sounds correct, but the dim lights are another issue! I'd first check your wirenut connections, make sure they're both good and solid and no arcing. A loose pigtail can cause these problems, and cause a risk of fire. Assuming that connection is good, does it stay dim if you unscrew one light bulb or the other, or when one is unscrewed, does the other brighten up? Do you have a multimeter? What voltage are you getting at the lights with one bulb and with two?
When I unscrewed the light in the basement the other light didn't work at all. I don't have a multimeter but I think I am going to go buy one at Lowe's tonight
 
  #5  
Old 10-20-06, 02:03 PM
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You have the lights in series. Each light is getting less than 120 volts (the exact amount depends on the wattage of the bulbs).

If you would like my help, tell me the original wiring at the switch, or at least tell me the current wiring at the switch (ALL THE WIRES) and I will try to help you.

Do not buy a multi-meter. It will not help you. If you are going to buy anything, buy a simple two wire tester.
 
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Old 10-20-06, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft
How many wires were in the box and how were they connected BEFORE you did anything?

I suspect that you tapped into a switch loop and now have your lights in series. This would be wrong. If this is the case, you would need to re-route your new cable to the first light, which is what you should have done in the first place.

There were two wires coming into the switch originally. These were from the basement light. These wires are not color coded (old). After I added the new fixture I brought the black,white and ground wires from the fixture down to the switch. I wire nutted the whites together (tried it both ways since I was not sure which one of the old wires is black or white) I then ran the 2 black wires to the single pole switch. I'm new when it comes to this wiring other than what I read up on and common sense.
 
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Old 10-20-06, 02:36 PM
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As I suspected, you tapped into a switch loop.

Put the two wires back on the switch they way they were. Route your new wire from the new light to the ecxisting light and connect it to the two wires that presently connect to the existing light.
 
  #8  
Old 10-20-06, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft
As I suspected, you tapped into a switch loop.

Put the two wires back on the switch they way they were. Route your new wire from the new light to the ecxisting light and connect it to the two wires that presently connect to the existing light.

Thank you sir!
 
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