basement lights


Old 02-17-01, 08:46 PM
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I am in trying to replace single light fixture in my basement with two can lights and am stumped by how to wire them. The basement is unfinished. As it is, the light is between the breaker and the switch. There are two switches in the box operating two different lights. The white wire at the switch for the light I'm replacing is tagged w/black tape, as it is at the old light. I've checked two books w/schematics that only show one light, although the wiring is similar, I do understand how the second light should wire in. One way I tried it, the lights were on, but very dim; another way they were as bright as they should have been, but would't shut off with the switch. I can follow the wiring back to the service box, but can't tell where it goes when it leaves the switch. I just want these lights to work with one switch. Is there a site on the web with diagrams? Should it be this hard? Thanks-Kurt
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Old 02-17-01, 11:24 PM
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Kurt, I know exactly what mistakes you made. I've answered this exact question dozens of times. The mistakes you make are very easy to make. Lots of people have made exactly the same mistakes.

The existing cable from the breaker comes to light#1 (cable "P"). There is also an existing cable from light#1 to the switch (cable "S"). You need to run a new cable from light#1 to light#2 (Cable "X").

Pb = black wire supplying power from the breaker
Pw = white wire from the breaker
Sb = black wire from light#1 to the switch
Sw = white wire from light#1 to the switch
Xb = black wire from light#1 to light#2
Xw = white wire from light#1 to light#2
L1b = black wire from light#1
L1w = white wire from light#1
L2b = black wire from light#2
L2w = white wire from light#2

Now make these connections:

At the switch:
- Sb and Sw to the two screws on the switch.

At light#1:
- Pb to Sw
- Pw to L1w to Xw
- Sb to L1b to Xb

At light#2:
- Xb to L2b
- Xw to L2w

It'll work. I guarantee it.
Old 02-18-01, 10:45 AM
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Thumbs up Basement lights

Thanks for the help, John, they work great! You made it as easy as I thought it should be. I was so enthused, I added two more lights to the string and can actually see what I'm doing now. I printed your instructions and have filed them in my home improvement file for the next project. Thanks again.

Old 02-18-01, 11:30 AM
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Glad to help.

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