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Adding 2nd Light to Switch, Power At 1st Light, Cannot Run Power From There

Adding 2nd Light to Switch, Power At 1st Light, Cannot Run Power From There

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  #1  
Old 05-17-12, 09:01 PM
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Question Adding 2nd Light to Switch, Power At 1st Light, Cannot Run Power From There

First time poster here!

I have a fun space for my little ones to have a nook to read books and such under some stairs. These stairs go down and turn 180 degrees. We have some bean bags in there and are going to paint the walls like a forest. Anyway, the one light that is in there doesn't illuminate the area around the corner.

The image below attempts to show the situation (not elegantly!). The box on the right is a surface-mount light. Power comes into this area. The right side is where the door is one can walk through and go left around the corner. As one enters, there is a single-pole switch on their left (in blue). I've attempted to draw the steps on the left side that go up. I have added a sconce on the inside behind the steps. The back-side of the sconce is an unfinished storage room. I ran a standard 3 conductor cable under one step and to the switch (had one hole in the wall I'll have to fix).

I thought the power came into the switch, but this is something I clearly should have checked (won't make that mistake again!). If I wire the black to black at the switch and white to white (shown as blue), one light is always on and one light is always off. If the switch is in the standard on position the originally installed light will turn on while in the off position the other light will turn on.

Unfortunately I cannot run power from the original light to the new light because of obstructions, so I wonder if there's something I can do with the cables I have. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!!
 
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  #2  
Old 05-17-12, 09:36 PM
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Unfortunately I cannot run power from the original light to the new light because of obstructions, so I wonder if there's something I can do with the cables I have.
If you can't use surface race because of angels you could surface run MC cable between the two lights.
 
  #3  
Old 05-17-12, 09:42 PM
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I am not sure I fully understand what you are suggesting. Some sort of surface run wouldn't be considered aesthetically acceptable. Do you see any way to wire this with the cables in place?
 
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Old 05-17-12, 09:46 PM
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I wonder if there's something I can do with the cables I have.
Possibly. When you say you
ran a standard 3 conductor cable under one step and to the switch,
does that mean that you have a black, a red and a white wire, plus a bare ground wire, between the surface-mount light where the power comes in and the switch?
 
  #5  
Old 05-17-12, 10:19 PM
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I have black and white plus ground to the new light (though I could run more cable there). I cannot add any cables between anything but that connection. Thanks!
 
  #6  
Old 05-17-12, 11:06 PM
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I ran a standard 3 conductor cable under one step and to the switch (had one hole in the wall I'll have to fix).
Actually from what you have written that is a 2-conductor cable. Is there a receptacle in the storage room you could take power from or a receptacle on the back side of the wall the switch is in? Is there a basement or crawl space below the stairs?
 
  #7  
Old 05-18-12, 04:37 AM
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This is in the basement with poured concrete at the floor, but yes, there is an always on receptacle in the storage room and I was thinking of grabbing power from there if this didn't work. It sounds like that's the route I'll have to take, right?

Basically I was thinking I'd run 2 conductor plus ground from the hot receptacle into the light fixture J-box and then the 2 conductor wiring I put in in the pic to a new switch. I'd prefer not to need a new switch, but it appears I would have no choice. I would add a new retrofit J-box for the switch right next to the old one.

Does this make sense? Thanks so much!!
 
  #8  
Old 05-18-12, 11:39 AM
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yes, there is an always on receptacle in the storage room and I was thinking of grabbing power from there if this didn't work. It sounds like that's the route I'll have to take, right?
Maybe not. How is the wiring for the existing switch loop run between the surface-mount light and the switch? What I'm asking is, could you either add a single red-insulated conductor to that wiring, if it's individual conductors, or replace the 2-wire cable with a piece of 3-wire cable containing a red wire? Doing either of those would give you everything you need to use the existing switch to control both lights.

I was thinking I'd run 2 conductor plus ground from the hot receptacle into the light fixture J-box and then the 2 conductor wiring I put in in the pic to a new switch. I'd prefer not to need a new switch, but it appears I would have no choice. I would add a new retrofit J-box for the switch right next to the old one.
If you decide that you want, or need, to bring a complete circuit to the switch location, I'm not sure why you'd need to add a second switch. You could connect the new power to the existing switch and use a pigtail to connect the two black wires to the other terminal on the switch - and splice the three white wires together. At the surface-mounted light, you would just disconnect both of the wires from the cable that's supplying power now, cap them off, and connect that light to the wires from the switch.
 
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Old 05-18-12, 01:16 PM
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Thanks for the note. Since I cannot run wires between the original light and the switch, I do not believe taking power from there is going to work. It is however possible I'm missing something.

The idea you suggest is interesting, and it makes a lot of sense. Perhaps you could help me understand the mechanics a bit further. Is the following correct and can you help me understand where I am confused?
  • Original Light
    • Disconnect the two power cables and cap them off, leaving just black and white going to the switch.
    • I would guess I also would separate from the incoming power and just have the ground going to the switch area to avoid duplicate grounds
  • New Light
    • Just like the original light, I should now just have one black, one white and one ground cable at the fixture
  • Receptacle powered-by the new circuit to run all the lights
    • Connect a new black, white and ground cable to the always-on receptacle and run it under the stairs to the switch
  • Switch
    • The black cable from the receptacle connects to the lower terminal on the switch
    • The black cables of BOTH lights are connected to the top terminal
    • The white cables going to both lights and the receptacle are combined together in this box.
    • Grounds all connect
I found the following image on another site and guess it probably does this concept justice.
[ATTACH=CONFIG]520[/ATTACH]

Is this correct? Thanks so much!
 
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Old 05-18-12, 04:05 PM
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I would guess I also would separate from the incoming power and just have the ground going to the switch area to avoid duplicate grounds.
Yes. Thank you for noticing that.

Your diagrams are OK. In this case, of course, you will be T-tapping the black switched power to run two different directions.

Connect a new black, white and ground cable to the always-on receptacle and run it under the stairs to the switch.
This gives me an idea. If it would be cleaner for you to feed the new power to your new light first, you can do that and replace the 2-wire cable between the new light and the switch with a 3-wire cable.

If that sounds interesting, post back and someone can describe how that would be connected.
 
  #11  
Old 05-18-12, 11:27 PM
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I went the power to switch option and it worked great. A lot to do to get it set up, but it is really nice now! Thank you everyone!!!!
 
  #12  
Old 05-19-12, 08:44 AM
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Glad you got it working the way you wanted it to, and thank you for the feedback.
 
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