converting outlet to 3 switches

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  #1  
Old 10-16-12, 12:32 PM
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converting outlet to 3 switches

In my covered breezeway I have one outlet. I want to take that outlet and tap in with some kind of box that enables me to have 1 outlet and 3 light switches for the exterior lighting. It doesn’t matter if the outlet remains where it is or is moved up into a box that has room for 4 boxes. However that emptied lower outlet would have to be covered of course except for the feeder wire going to the new box which will be at reach height next to my side door.


I’m unsure how to go about making 1 set of wires connect to, in essence, 4 outlets. Total wattage of new lights is less than 125 watts so no issues there.


Also everything new will have to be surface mounted. I really don’t want to chip away at permastone and mess up the exterior of the house except maybe if I can keep the existing outlet down below as is then somehow run the wire out but that doesn’t seem like the preferred way of dealing with this. or is it?

i guess 2 boxes would also do, doesnt have to be 4, but then i get even more wiring issues dont i?
 
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  #2  
Old 10-16-12, 12:41 PM
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All of this is new, right - the lights aren't there now?

If so, my thought would be to extend the circuit from the receptacle up to a new 3 gang box mounted at switch height for your house. I think you can see where I'm going from here.
 
  #3  
Old 10-16-12, 01:11 PM
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yes all new..think i have the lights picked out but i still have to plan wire lengths and what i need etc.

is tapping into the outlet as EZ is cutting a hole in the cover and running the wire out the outlet cover and up to the new box? (PVC encased of course)..just wasnt sure how to tap out..pigtails?

once i get to the 3 gang box i'm unsure how to wire it inside...without any guidance all i could think to do is take the hot and the neutral and pigtail out 3 wires from each , one to each new switch...but that means 4 wires under one nut...is that acceptable? if so then i wont complain i guess..just thought there may be some kind of special junction box i needed or something.

hope there's enough room in that box for the spaghetti!
 
  #4  
Old 10-16-12, 01:20 PM
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You can add an extension to the receptacle box that has a KO for conduit to the switch box, and then re-install the receptacle in the X-ring.

In the switch box, you'll need three pigtails on the hot (black) wire for the switches. Neutral is not switched. The black wires for the three sets of lights connect to the second terminal on the switches and the whites for the lights splice to the white from the receptacle. Two 4-wire splices, all perfectly allowable, plus the grounds - 5 to 7 wires there.

How are you planning to run the light wiring after the switches?
 
  #5  
Old 10-17-12, 07:07 AM
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I’ve never heard of an extension..do you mean something like this? So it just fits over the outlet and you pull the outlet out to mount on this vs staying ‘inside’?
1-Gang Flanged Electrical Box Extension-S127E at The Home Depot

and just to be clear…all the whites wont even touch a switch, just pigtailed all together, correct? I know you said that when you said not switched, I think, but I want to make sure. Should be ez as pie then

cant find 3 gang online but found a 2, I’m assuming this type of thing is best for the surface mount to the permastone?
2 Gang Weatherproof Electrical Outlet Box with Seven 1/2 in. Holes (2 holes two sides, 1 hole other sides) - Gray-B272SPS at The Home Depot


after switch PVC up to the top of the wall then PVC thru the breezeway wall

then just the bare UF running all under soffit or the walls of the house as needed. i'm assuming they sell rust proof 'staples' because i sure dont want rust stains down the side of the house for the 50 ft or so of wall i need to run the wire from
 
  #6  
Old 10-17-12, 10:16 AM
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Is your breezeway open to the weather or enclosed? If open you will need the materials you linked to plus in-use covers. If enclosed you can use an interior surface-mount X-ring and box.

Even 14-2 UF is difficult to pull in 1/2" conduit. I would use EMT rather than PVC for that reason, and check the fit before buying, The UF may not need to be sleeved through the wall. If you are sleeving it anywhere, you need to install a bushing on the end of the conduit where the cable emerges.

I would use cable clamps or clips made to be exposed to the weather. There may be rust-proof staples, but I've never seen them.
 
  #7  
Old 10-17-12, 11:50 AM
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it gets cold but not wet...so i guess enclosed is correct ..nice to know i may have more options

when i used UF for another project last year i was told must be in conduit thru any walls..maybe because it was concrete block there?

i'm pretty sure this is just wood.

ill have to price out the conduit...wont be using more than 10 to 15 ft and just one bend to get me outside. it will be up from switches to ceiling then bend to a few feet to get outside.
 
  #8  
Old 10-17-12, 12:03 PM
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How will you be making that turn to go outside? BTW, if the conduit just ends outside w/o entering a WP box, you will need to seal the end of the conduit to prevent moisture from entering it.

I think I would pipe out to a WP J-pox and pull THHN to there, then splice to the UF.

Of course, I avoid working with UF at all, if I can help it, and I enjoy a good-looking pipe job, so I'd probably just pipe the whole thing!

Did we already rule out running above the ceiling?
 
  #9  
Old 10-18-12, 06:45 AM
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PVC up from the switch box then i guess you'd call it an elbow 90 degree then the PVC out thru what i presume is a wooden wall of the breezeway covered by siding.


while i have not actually run the numbers, nor know my exact lengths, i 'think' UF will be cheaper for me. plus even though i say beauty isnt critical, i think grey UF would blend in better with my grey permastone then grey painted PVC. however i do owrry about how straight i can run the wire. i guess ill find out once i know the lengths and couudl probably order wire on amazon if its cheaper in smaller runs than locally

i am also concerned about any staples in the permastone..it's very brittle as i found out doing other small projects. so if i can have less staples in the wall by using /not using pvc, id probably do it.

so which requires more support, my guess is PVC?

also my local lowes appears to only carry 500 ft thhn and no way do i need that and i'm guessing even if they cut it by the foot it would be waaay more. but i'm not sure.

above the breezeway ceiling is totally inaccessible. id only be 'saving' a few feet of run anyway horizontally.
 
  #10  
Old 10-18-12, 11:32 AM
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PVC up from the switch box then i guess you'd call it an elbow 90 degree then the PVC out thru what i presume is a wooden wall of the breezeway covered by siding.
EMT will look nicer and be easier to pull through than PVC. The fittings for turning the conduit 90[SUP]o[/SUP] out are called LBs. Notice that they have a removable back cover to allow you to pull the wire or cable into them and out the back, then loop it and push it out the second pipe. I would pull THHN/THWN through one piece of 3/4" conduit to a WP box outside. 3 hots + 1 neutral + 1 ground = 5 wires. If you're pulling 14 AWG on a 15A circuit, you could probably get away with 1/2" pipe. I just like a little room inside mine, to make the pulling easier.

i am also concerned about any staples in the permastone..it's very brittle as i found out doing other small projects. so if i can have less staples in the wall by using /not using pvc, id probably do it.

so which requires more support, my guess is PVC?
In spite of how stiff Type UF is, it is still more flexible than conduit, and requires clips spaced closer together. Plus, if you use pipe with individual conductors inside, you might be able to combine some of the runs and eliminate the need for one whole run of fasteners. Finally, the clamps for mounting the PVC or EMT are attached with screws into plastic wall anchors in holes drilled in the mounting surface, while the clips for supporting cable are typically hammered in. You know your Permastone better than I do. Would drilling into it or hammering into it be more likely to crack or chip it?
 

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  #11  
Old 10-19-12, 04:59 AM
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certainly a lot to think about and plan..the other thing i neglected to say is 2 of the runs go out the back and 1 out the front of the house. ive been concentrating so much on the rear i forgot about the front

fortunately the front is 100% soffit-able and no permastone needs harmed

for the rear though i understand that i can run the same white wire to all the lights so that is one less problem i hadnt thought about if i do thwn.

when i drilled thru the wall for my garage lights i went from the outside in with a 1/2 inch bit and didnt have much damage. but the idea of clamping all that pipe vs just staples in the wall sure would save a lot of work..then again it would be less supports vs the UF ...so much to think about

i'm assuming on a 10 ft run emt id just need clamps at either end?
 
  #12  
Old 10-19-12, 01:27 PM
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the other thing i neglected to say is 2 of the runs go out the back and 1 out the front of the house. ive been concentrating so much on the rear i forgot about the front
Oops! OK, so you'll need 1 LB to turn to the rear wall and one 90[SUP]o[/SUP] bend to go to the front wall.

fortunately the front is 100% soffit-able and no permastone needs harmed
Unless I was certain I couldn't do it w/o damaging the Permastone, I'd definitely run pipe on the front.

Question: Does the pipe have to be wall mounted, or can it be mounted to the soffit?

for the rear though i understand that i can run the same white wire to all the lights so that is one less problem i hadnt thought about if i do thwn.
You'r just branching off one circuit, so you only need 1 neutral and 1 ground for any run, no matter how many hot wires you have.

i'm assuming on a 10 ft run emt id just need clamps at either end?
1 w/in 4' of a connector, and 1 per stick beyond that, IIRC. As few as 3 total for up to the first 28' of pipe, if I'm right about that.
 
  #13  
Old 10-20-12, 08:56 AM
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one clamp per pipe would be better than staples every few feet for wires...more food for thought


unfortunately between breezeway and kitchen is no soffit..so thats about 20 ft of open space to pipe across...then the one section in back of the house is about 30ft and only about 10 ft of that is porch roof i can staple to underneath...so more pipe needed there.

i'm assuming i use concrete screws to hold the pipe clamps to permastone?

just thought of something else..if i use any pipe its going to be larger diameter than that knockout in the box i mount the light on. so do they have some kind of reducer as you approach the box or do you just let the last few inches of wire bare before going into the box and then seal up the pipe?
 
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Old 10-20-12, 03:31 PM
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interesting..just looked at the light again...isnt even a provision for a ground so i can save on that wire
 
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Old 10-21-12, 09:49 PM
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i'm assuming i use concrete screws to hold the pipe clamps to permastone?
You can. I tend to use plastic wall anchors. Less chance for breaking the wall surface, IMX.

if i use any pipe its going to be larger diameter than that knockout in the box i mount the light on. so do they have some kind of reducer as you approach the box or do you just let the last few inches of wire bare before going into the box and then seal up the pipe?
No, you buy boxes with KOs that match the pipe you're running.
 
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Old 10-21-12, 09:55 PM
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interesting..just looked at the light again...isnt even a provision for a ground
Doubtful. Are you looking at a light fixture in your hand or an image of one?

so i can save on that wire
Nope. Sorry, but the entire installation must be properly bonded to ground. You can do that by only using metal conduit, fittings and boxes approved for use as ground, or you can do it by pulling a ground wire. I always pull a ground wire, even through metal pipe, as insurance that that emergency drain will be there even if something happens to interrupt the conductivity of the pipe.
 
  #17  
Old 10-22-12, 05:06 AM
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in hand. is all plastic....2 wires sticking out of fixture..thats it
 
  #18  
Old 10-22-12, 12:36 PM
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is all plastic....2 wires sticking out of fixture..thats it
Does it have a UL sticker on it? Is it rated for use outdoors? Can you post a link to it?

Regardless, you need to make sure you have a bond to ground all the way to the box this light will be mounted on.
 
  #19  
Old 10-22-12, 01:14 PM
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A plastic fixture would not require grounding.
 
  #20  
Old 10-22-12, 01:48 PM
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A plastic fixture would not require grounding.
Right. It's just that I've never seen an all-plastic fixture rated for outside. Doesn't mean there isn't one, though.

That said, the EGC still needs to make it to the fixture-mounting box and bond that, doesn't it?
 
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Old 10-23-12, 05:03 AM
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  #22  
Old 10-23-12, 11:51 AM
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Shop Utilitech 23-Watt White Dusk-To-Dawn Security Light at Lowes.com
Looks good. Just bond its mounting box to ground.
 
  #23  
Old 10-24-12, 07:00 AM
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now with this week being the last warm one of the year..i'm unsure how much ill even get to this year...more time to plan for spring though i def wanna light up the spa area though as that gets more winter use.
 
  #24  
Old 10-24-12, 08:27 AM
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Looks good. Just bond its mounting box to ground.
i do not understand the reasoning behind grounding a plastic fixture onto a plastic box
 
  #25  
Old 10-24-12, 09:23 AM
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If the plastic fixture has no ground wire you don't need to ground it. If the junction box/mounting box is plastic you do not need to ground it. However the code does require an EGC (ground wire) in the junction box even if not used. One reason being if the fixture is ever changed to one requiring a ground.
 
  #26  
Old 10-24-12, 10:02 AM
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i do not understand the reasoning behind grounding a plastic fixture onto a plastic box
You can't. Just leave the ground wire pulled in about 6" to 8" and capped inside the box, for future use.
 
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