Deciding How to Wire

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Old 12-04-12, 10:32 AM
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Deciding How to Wire

Looking for suggestions/recommendations

I am renovating, so I have existing wires as well as open access for new runs.

In this room, I want to run a switch for an existing ceiling fixture and a switch for an existing exterior porch light. These two switches will be on opposite ends of the room, with power coming from a central source.

Currently, I have two wires hanging out of the ceiling, one leads to the ceiling light, the other to the exterior light. Neither have power or switches.

Question One: IS there any real logic/benefit in running power to each/either of the switches directly over simply running a leg to the switch for interrupt?
- Running power to the switches will take about 70% more wire than simply taking power to a junction box where the wires that are hanging out of the ceiling that connect the fixtures can be joined to the switches.
If I were to go with the no-power-to-each-switch option, I need help figuring out how to connect the wires.

Light One - B&W&G
Light Two - B&W&G

Switch One
Switch Two

Power

I have searched for a diagram, but I don't know what to refer to this as, so I'm not finding anything but much too complicated runs with multiple junctions and conduits full of wires.

Thanks for your help!
 
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Old 12-04-12, 10:58 AM
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The NEC is now requiring a neutral at each switch location. This means you will need to run a xx-3 cable as your switch loop wiring.

You may have box fill issues with all those cables in the ceiling box.

You may want to pickup a copy of "Wiring Simplified" to get some basic wiring knowledge.
 
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Old 12-04-12, 11:31 AM
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Will you be supplying power on a 15A or a 20A circuit?

Hint: 15A circuits use smaller wire and you can get more of them in a box before you reach its fill capacity.

You can bring the power feed into the ceiling box and install a loop to each switch. You will need to install xx-3 cable from the ceiling to each switch, as Pcboss noted, and you will need to install a deep box.

But maybe I'm misunderstanding something. You say
Currently, I have two wires hanging out of the ceiling, one leads to the ceiling light,
Do you have a cable from the ceiling box location that is hanging out of the ceiling somewhere else and is not long enough to reach the location where you want to mount the switch for that light?
 
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Old 12-04-12, 03:25 PM
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Diagrams

Answers: I don't know whether it's 15 or 20amp, it's a standard power run from the panel to a couple outlets and into a junction box to feed the two lights.

I'm using 14-3 wiring. Maybe that answers the first question - don't know.

I decided to bring power to the junction box, bring both light fixtures' wires to the same box (these are the wires currently run from the lights, through the finished ceiling, and waiting to be connected), and then run a wire to each switch from the same box.

What I don't know is which wires to connect in the junction box, or which terminals to use on the single-way switches.

I think this image is what I'm trying to do -

[ATTACH=CONFIG]6364[/ATTACH]

or

[ATTACH=CONFIG]6365[/ATTACH]

However, I have two lights to contend with and instead of directly connecting to the light, I have to connect the wires where I have access.
 
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Old 12-04-12, 05:14 PM
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Your diagrams show a switch loop before the requirement for a neutral at the switch location. It shows xx-2 cables. A xx-3 cable would have a black, a red, a white and the ground.
 
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Old 12-04-12, 06:57 PM
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I don't know whether it's 15 or 20amp, it's a standard power run from the panel to a couple outlets and into a junction box to feed the two lights.
What is the number on the handle of the breaker?

I'm using 14-3 wiring. Maybe that answers the first question - don't know.
No. That tells us that you're using cable with wires in it that are sized to carry 15A, maximum. If that's the size of the breaker, that's fine. But if the breaker is 20A, then that wire is not protected and can overheat, melt and start a fire before the breaker will trip.

As the next step in your project, you should read Wiring Simplified. It will explain a lot of what you need to know to do this work safely, and it's inexpensive. Look for it in the electrical aisle at Big Blue or Big Orange.
 
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Old 12-05-12, 12:37 AM
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I'll review the breakers... It's a renovation, so we're dealing with a lot of old and new.

I wired as stated, both lights work as intended. Thanks for the heads up however on the amperage - I'll determine whether I have a concern in the setup.

By the way, the entire circuit is run with a GFCI at the front of the line.
 
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Old 12-05-12, 12:43 AM
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Your thoughts...

"The NEC is a safety code, not a design code. Bringing the neutral to each switch does not increase safety. It adds to cost of construction by bringing wires to boxes that are not needed. I understand smart switches may need a neutral but that is a design requirement, not a safety requirement. Garbage disposal, under cabinets lights, closet light, attics, craw space lights, etc. do not need a neutral but adds to the cost of construction. That's all it does. Again, NFPA mised the scope of their own document at the expense of our customers"
 
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Old 12-05-12, 06:15 AM
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Regardless of the above, the requirement for the neutral is now an NEC requirement and should be installed.
 
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Old 12-05-12, 08:08 AM
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Exceptions in 2011 NEC say if you have area above, below, behind (unfinished basement or attic, etc.) you don't need to run the neutral. Idea is it would be easy to do add later if you need a neutral for a smart switch.

As always, it depends on what code is enforced.
 

Last edited by Astuff; 12-05-12 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 12-05-12, 03:18 PM
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Exceptions in 2011 NEC say if you have area above, below, behind (unfinished basement or attic, etc.) you don't need to run the neutral. Idea is it would be easy to do add later if you need a neutral for a smart switch.
Yeah, we used to do that sometimes on pipe jobs. It's not worth it anymore. Everybody wants the latest whiz-bang energy-saving gizmos in their office, retail space or warehouse now anyway.
 
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