Dim Lights In New Bath

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Old 07-10-08, 10:11 AM
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Dim Lights In New Bath

I'm wrapping up work on our 2nd bath renovation here and have an electrical issue that's been bugging me. All the lights in the room are far dimmer than they should be IMO. Others who are handy have made the same comment so I'm pretty certain its not just me.

The room has 2 sconces on the wall, and two 4" recessed wet rated fixtures in the shower. I've tried several light wattages in each and they really don't get brighter with higher watt bulbs. Right now I have 120w bulbs in each sconce and 75 watt bulbs in the shower. They put out light equal to about 40watt and 25 watts respectively. Oddly when I put in 13w compact flourescents in the sconces one light is dim and the other will strobe. Both are wired via switch loops. I also have a vent in the room on the same triple switch that seems to work fine, but I can't tell if that is running weak or appropriately. The bath also has a quad GFCI in it that seems to work fine.

My gut tells me the room isn't getting 120v, but other lights on the same circuit are clearly fine. There is a separate line off the main junction for this circuit to the sub junction for all the bath lighting. This crcuit is 20A and I'm confident it's not overloaded. I went up in the attic and took all of this sub junction wiring apart, tightened the connections up, checked for wire damage or the box being hot from some sort of resistance. I couldn't find anything and things looked fine.

I'm happy to invest in some tools to check things out if that would help, but I hear multimeters don't work well with 120v AC.

I could use some help here. Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 07-10-08, 11:05 AM
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The lights are wired in series, and should be wired in parallel. Did you wire this?

Give us the details of how the wiring was done and we'll tell you how to fix it.
 
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Old 07-10-08, 11:35 AM
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Oh crud. The sinking feeling in my gut says I could see that being the issue. Thanks John. Yes, I did the wiring and it was the first time I've done a switch loop to multiple fixtures.

I would like to hear how to fix this and still keep it wired with a switch loop since I'm close to max on my box fill at the switch.

Here is my best photochop to try and help illustrate. The black wires are just wire nutted together in the boxes behind the sconces, i tried to illustrate that the white wires are what are powering the lights. Pretty much the same setup with the shower lights as well, so if you can help me with the sconces I'll get the shower straight. THANKS!!!!!!!!!!

 
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Old 07-10-08, 12:06 PM
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I'm assuming that you're trying to say that you have a 14/2 cable from the switch to light1, a cable from light1 to light2, and a cable from light2 to light3. Also, power is supplied in the switch box. Is my assessment correct?
 
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Old 07-10-08, 01:32 PM
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Wiring a switch loop with one fixture is pretty straightforward. Wiring a switch loop with more than one fixture is not so simple. If you have 14/2 from the power source to fixture 1, and then 14/2 from fixture 1 to fixture 2, and then 14/2 from fixture 2 to the switch, then you are attempting the impossible.

If my description above is correct, then there are a few different ways to fix it, but they all require different cabling inside the walls. So I hope your walls are still open (but it looks like maye they are not).

If it's any consolation, this is a very common mistake. If your walls are not still open, I expect you to try to ask us for a solution using the existing cable (the "bargaining" stage of grief), but unfortunately there isn't one.
 
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Old 07-10-08, 03:36 PM
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Yeah, the walls are closed, but just go ahead and give me the best solution. I can handle the physcal wiring no problem, but keeping the switch loop is what I'm not computing.
 
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Old 07-11-08, 08:07 AM
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We can't provide a solution until you tell us which box has the power source cable. Is it the switch box or one of the light fixture boxes?
 
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Old 07-11-08, 09:33 AM
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I infer from your picture/diagram, that the power comes into the right light, then goes to the left light, and then goes to the switch. If so, all you need to do is change the cable between the two lights from 14/2 to 14/3.
 
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