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How to wire recessed lights with quick connectors to two 3 way switches

How to wire recessed lights with quick connectors to two 3 way switches


  #1  
Old 05-10-09, 05:45 PM
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How to wire recessed lights with quick connectors to two 3 way switches

Our kitchen currently has a single flourescent ceiling light connected to two 3-way switches. The attic is above the kitchen and I have been up there and have seen the wiring. A single 3-wire runs from each switch to the light junction box. I want to replace the flourescent light with 3 recessed lights that I bought at Lowes (Utilitech #290215) that have quick connect wiring connectors.

I want the new recessed lights to be turned on/off by the same 3-way switches. What is the correct way to run the wiring?

In the attic, do I take the 3-wire coming from each switch and put them in new recessed light A, and then run 2-wire from A to light B, and then another 2-wire from B to light C? Or do I run one of the 3-wires to recessed light A, then a 3-wire from A to B, another 3-wire from B to C, and then run the 3-wire from the other switch to light C?

Thanks for the help.

Mark
 
  #2  
Old 05-10-09, 06:08 PM
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None of the above.

The fluorescent light junction box has two 3-wire cables coming into it. If you open this box you will see two wires connected to the light and two splices. The wires that are spliced are called travelers. They go from 3-way to 3-way, and need to remain spliced. You cannot put anything in the middle.

So here's the easiest thing to do, if you have access to this fluorescent light junction box (and it sounds like you do). Turn off the circuit. Take down the fluorescent light, run a two wire from the old junction box to new light A, from there to new light b, and from there to new light c. In both new lights A and B you will have 9 wires: 3 white, 3 black, and 3 ground. Two of each color will be from the wires you have run, and one each will be from the new lights, terminating in the quick connectors you mentioned. Put the two blacks from the cables you've run into the black connector, the two whites in the white connector, and the grounds in the ground connector. New light c will only have 6 wires, 3 from the cable you ran, and 3 with the quick connectors from the new light. Connect them by color also.

Now, go back to the original junction box for the fluorescent light that you removed. Remember, leave the spliced travelers alone. There should be two wires left, the ones from the old fluorescent fixture. These are you switch leg and your neutral. The neutral should be white, and the switch leg should be either black or red, if the wiring follows convention. Splice the black wire from new cable you ran to the switch leg, and the white wire from the new cable you ran to the neutral. Put a blank cover on the box and you're done.

If you don't have access to the fluorescent junction box, you have to do something else. let us know
 
  #3  
Old 05-10-09, 06:39 PM
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If you don't want the blank cover on the ceiling you could turn the junction box up into the attic as long as it would remain accessible.
 
  #4  
Old 05-10-09, 07:02 PM
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do I take the 3-wire coming from each switch and put them in new recessed light A, and then run 2-wire from A to light B, and then another 2-wire from B to light C?
This will work just fine. Just make sure you connect new fixture "A" exactly the same as the existing fixture is connected (leaving all other connections in the box the same as before too). When you run the cable from "A" to "B", connect the cable at "A" to the same two wires that fixture "A" is connected to.
 
  #5  
Old 05-10-09, 07:18 PM
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First let me say Yes, I have access to the flourescent light junction box, but none of my new recessed lights will be installed in that exact location, so I either have to remove it and then patch the kitchen ceiling, or leave it and still patch over it in the kitchen ceiling.

Originally Posted by nickdel View Post
None of the above.
Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
This will work just fine. Just make sure you connect new fixture "A" exactly the same as the existing fixture is connected (leaving all other connections in the box the same as before too). When you run the cable from "A" to "B", connect the cable at "A" to the same two wires that fixture "A" is connected to.
Sounds like you each have differing opinions, as Nickdel you say neither of my proposed solutions will work, while John you say one of them will, and I'm not sure who to follow. Planning on doing this work tomorrow with my father in law, so I guess I should have posted this earlier (my bad), but am in need of quick and correct direction on how to wire these lights.

Thanks to all 3 of you for responding, and please don't think I'm calling any of you out as not knowing what you're talking about, as it's obvious by your replies that you do, but I still feel confused as how to correctly do this.

Thanks for your help. I'll check in early AM tomorrow.

Mark
 
  #6  
Old 05-10-09, 07:26 PM
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The none of the above responce posted by Nickel was where you were asking about changing the splices in the 3 wire with ground cables that should be for between the switches. Changing those cables could result in the loss of proper operation of your switches.

Both John and Nickel were correct.

To reiterate, new two wire cable with ground connected to the same wires as the existing fluorescent, color to color, to new light A. From light A to light B with 2 wire + ground cable, again color to color. Repeat from B to C.
 
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Old 05-10-09, 07:33 PM
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So I can get rid of the existing flourescent junction box as long as I wire the two 3-wires coming from the switches the same way in new recessed light A as they were wired in the old flourescent junction box?

And then new 2-wire from A to B, and another from B to C, making sure to match the colors and ground in each fixture?
 
  #8  
Old 05-10-09, 07:44 PM
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Splicing the wires for the switches in the recessed light junction box will be very crowded and may exceed the permitted number of conductors in the box.

If you are going to make any changes please label all the wires and note how they connect to avoid the headache of guessing how the connections should be made.
 
  #9  
Old 05-10-09, 08:18 PM
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so I either have to remove it and then patch the kitchen ceiling, or leave it and still patch over it in the kitchen ceiling.
If you leave the box it must remain accessible. Your simplest option is to free up the box and turn it toward the attic. Then connect the first cable to the new lights to the black and white the fluorescent was hooked to. Do not change any other connections.

You could feed all three lights from this box but it might be easier connection wise to go just to the nearest light then the next light then the last light. There is a question of box fill if you run all three from the box though it would probably be ok with an extension ring.
 
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Old 05-11-09, 04:56 AM
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My head is still spinning about this some. So if I'm reading everyone's posts correctly, sounds like I should:
  1. Leave the existing fluorescent junction box and leave the existing 3-wire running to it from the 2 switches.
  2. The fluorescent junction box needs to remain accessible, so I will slightly reposition it in the attic so I can then patch the hole in the kitchen ceiling.
  3. In the fluorescent junction box, I need to add a new 2-wire and connect it to the black and white wires that the fluorescent light was connected to, and then run that 2-wire to my first recessed light A.
  4. Then run 2-wire from light A to B, and then another 2-wire from B to C.

Are all those steps correct?

Am I missing any steps?

Thanks SO much for being patient with me on this!

Mark
 
  #11  
Old 05-11-09, 05:38 AM
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Correct on all 4 points.

Just so you know for the future, junction boxes cannot be buried and drywalled over. They need to remain accessible.
 
  #12  
Old 05-11-09, 06:02 AM
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The fluorescent junction box will still be accessible from the attic, although some rolled fiberglass insulation would have to be moved first. Is that accessible enough?
 
  #13  
Old 05-11-09, 06:14 AM
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Sounds fine. I would mark the location very well so that it can be easily found at a later date.
 
  #14  
Old 05-11-09, 07:00 AM
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OK, wish me luck today. I'll post back to let you know how it goes. Thanks again.
 
  #15  
Old 05-11-09, 08:10 AM
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I forgot to mention but you need to put a blank cover plate on the original box when you are through.
 
  #16  
Old 05-11-09, 05:25 PM
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Glad to report all went pretty well today. We did lose quite a bit of time because when we drilled a small test hole where we wanted to put the first light, we hit a rafter. So that set off over an hour of measuring and deciding whether to keep 3 lights or go with just 2, but in the end we stayed with 3. Ran the wiring just as everyone here said. Thanks so much for the help and guidance. We still have a lot more to do in our kitchen remodel, so you'll probably be seeing more questions from me in this and other forums on the site.
 
  #17  
Old 05-11-09, 05:32 PM
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Glad it went well and thank you for letting us know how it went.
 
 

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