Neutral wire question


Old 10-25-06, 07:57 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 45
Neutral wire question

Bear with me on this one, hard to explain and may need to draw a diagram but I will try with words first.

I am adding 3- 2x2 flourcent lights in my basement and will be controling 2 with one switch and 1 with another switch. I am getting power form a junction box nearby. I ran one wire(black/white ground) to the switch box pigtailed the hot wire and connected to both plugs(white) ran the black after connecting to the top of one switch back to the junction box, from there will attach the hot wire to the wires to go to the 2 light fixtures.

My question is I am going to pull another wire to go to the 3 rd light but am not sure what to do with the neutral wire in the switch box. can I just wire nut it after connecting the other end to the fixture? Hope this makes sense.
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Old 10-25-06, 08:29 AM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 5,680
You can't run the third light from the switch box. You don't have a neutral wire. You wired the first two lights as a switch loop. It would work if you ran the line to the two lights from the switch box as well as line to the third light, or if you ran a three wire cable + ground to the switch box instead of the two wire cable.
Old 10-25-06, 08:55 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 45
So I guess I can either pull a 4 wire cable or run all the lights off one switch? Not looking to get to complicated here either.
Old 10-25-06, 04:48 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: New Bern, NC
Posts: 1,623
If you can post a drawing it sure would help.

You cannot run a cable just to use one wire in that cable. It is not legal, and it is very unsafe for several reasons.

You must arrange your wiring so that the current from all the conductors in a given cable cancel eachothers magnetic fields.

Please post more details so we can help you with a proper design.
Old 10-26-06, 04:49 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Chesapeake, VA
Posts: 340
Yeah, a drawing would be nice! I'm confused.

So, in the first light switch box, you have a cable in from junction box, cable out to 1st light, cable out to other switch? If so, this is not a switch loop, this is just an inline switch. Assuming I've described your switch box:

Wirenut all 3 whites together.
Wirenut the hot black, the black to the other switch, and a 6" or so pigtail of black wire.
Connect the pigtail to one terminal on the switch.
Connect the black to the light to the other terminal on the switch.

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