Wiring three recessed lights in basement ceiling.

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  #1  
Old 10-29-13, 03:39 PM
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Wiring three recessed lights in basement ceiling.

Hey guys,

I had a question about how to wire three 6" can lights in my basement ceiling.

As of now, I have a single old basic light in the ceiling with two 12/2 cables going to it.

I followed the cables and one goes to a nearby junction box, which I assume provides the power, and one goes to a wall switch that controls the light.

I want to replace the old basic light with a new 6" can light and I also want to add two more can lights so that the switch would now control three 6" can lights.

Here's what I tried to do: I ran a 12/2 cable from the existing basic old light to another 6" can light and from there I ran the 12/2 cable to another can light.

I connected all the wiring for the last two can lights and then tried to make the last connection to the existing old basic ceiling light which I had replaced with a new 6" can light, by simply connecting all white to white and black to black and ground to ground. I had too much trouble trying to use the push in type of connectors so I cut them and twisted all wires and used wire nuts to finish.

Before putting the last can light in place I thought I would test them to see if they all worked.

After turning on the power and with the wall switch set to the off position, the last light I wired actually came on but the second and third light did not.
When I went to the wall switch and tried turning off this one light that was on, the beaker tripped.

I tried this a few times with the same result each time.

Apparently I wired something incorrectly or there's a short somewhere in my wiring?

I'm thinking my last connection is not right.

Do I need to add that junction box to the mix somehow?

Thanks.....
 
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  #2  
Old 10-29-13, 03:47 PM
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I think you need to evaluate what wires do what more closely - do you have a multimeter so you can establish what truly is coming in hot and what's controlled by the switch?
 
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Old 10-29-13, 03:54 PM
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Should be using 14-2 not 12-2 unless the breaker is also 20 amp.
Those slide in connectors are made for 14 gauge wire.
Go back and check all your connections.
If it's tripping it's a dead short because you connected to the hot wire not the switch loop wire most likely.
A switch loop wire should have been marked with electrical tape around it so you would know it was not a neutral wire.
 
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Old 10-29-13, 03:54 PM
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How is the switch wired? Is there only one 2-conductor cable in the box, with the black and white wires connected to the switch, or are these two cables there with the two whites spliced together and the two blacks connected to the switch?

I'm guessing it's the setup with just one cable.
 
  #5  
Old 10-29-13, 03:58 PM
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Hey Mitch,

Thanks for responding so quickly.

Heck, I don't even know what a multimeter is.

I thought that this would be a simple job that even I could do, but I'm starting to have my doubts.

Best thing I can tell you is this, I'm sure the one 12/2 wire goes to a junction box and the other wire, as far as I can tell, by following it, goes to the switch on the wall. It's not a three way switch if that makes a difference.

I assumed that I could go off of this set up by simply hooking all of the same wires together at the existing old basic light and then branch off to the other two can lights.

Apparently I was wrong, or something else is amiss......

Thanks..
 
  #6  
Old 10-29-13, 04:03 PM
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I think we may have been typing at the same time.

If you'll answer my question about how the switch is wired, we can answer your question about how to wire everything in the ceiling.
 
  #7  
Old 10-29-13, 04:05 PM
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Thanks.

The reason I used 12/2 wire for all my connections is because the existing basic fixture had 12/2 run to it. It is a 15 amp breaker at the box.

I don't understand about the switch loop or a "dead short".

You guys are talking about stuff that's way over my head.

I tried calling an electrician, but couldn't get anyone to come out sooner than next week.

I guess it's not as simple as I thought.......
 
  #8  
Old 10-29-13, 04:13 PM
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Hey Nashkat1,

I'm pretty sure the switch simply has the one black and white cable hooked up to it. So, you guessed right.

It's in a box that has two other light switches, one controls the outside porch light and the other switch is a three way switch that controls lights in another part of the basement.

Hope that helps....
 
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Old 10-29-13, 04:19 PM
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I'm pretty sure the switch simply has the one black and white cable hooked up to it.

Hope that helps....
Yes, but it would help more if you would make sure. Kill the power at the panel, dismount the switch that controls the lights you're working on, and pull it out far enough to see the wires attached to it. Then tell us whether they are one black wire and one white wire that come into the box in one cable.
 
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Old 10-29-13, 04:22 PM
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Yeah, I can see the wires attached to the switch.

One black and one white on the same side of the switch.
 
  #11  
Old 10-29-13, 04:38 PM
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I can see the wires attached to the switch... One black and one white...
OK, you have a switch loop.

Use some electrical tape or permanent marker, in any color except gray or green, to tag the white wire connected to the switch, to show that it's carrying ungrounded power. Remount the switch and cover the switch box.

At the original fixture location, tag the white wire in the cable going to the switch the same way you tagged it at the switch. Splice that tagged wire to the black wire coming from the J-box and push that splice up out of the way. Splice all of the grounds together, including any for the fixture. Bone the box, it it's metal, to ground.

Splice the white wire from the J-box, the white wire in the cable to the second and third fixtures and the white wires for this fixture together. Splice the black wire coming from the switch, the black wire in the cable to the second and third fixtures and the black wires for this fixture together.

At the two new fixtures, splice ground-to-ground, white-to-white and black-to-black.
 
  #12  
Old 10-29-13, 04:41 PM
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Thanks for all your help, as well as the other guys.

I'm going to have to work on this tomorrow.

Will report back....................
 
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Old 10-29-13, 04:43 PM
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We'll be here and we don't sleep.
 
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Old 11-02-13, 11:36 AM
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Sorry it took so long for me to post back.

Hey Nashkat1,

I hooked everything up as you suggested, but where do I connect the black and white wires from the light fixture itself?

Thanks
 
  #15  
Old 11-02-13, 11:48 AM
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Light black goes to the black of the switch loop. Light white goes to the white of power in.

 
  #16  
Old 11-02-13, 12:15 PM
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Thanks guys,

I actually went back and reread Nashkat1's instructions and it included how to connect the black and white fixture wires to the correct wires.

Ray, thanks for the diagram as well.

Well, all is now connected properly and all lights seem to be working fine.

I appreciate all the help you guys provided and also in how quickly you provided the help.

Although,

Like Arnie said: I'lllllllll be baaaack.
 
  #17  
Old 11-02-13, 12:37 PM
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Glad you got it working the way you wanted, and thanks for letting us know.

Like Arnie said: I'lllllllll be baaaack.
Catch ya on the flip side.
 
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