Adding new light and wall switch


Old 04-08-01, 12:54 PM
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I have a section of wall that I need to add a light with a wall switch to control it. The only other thing on the wall is a non-switched electrical outlet. This electrical outlet has one white and one black connected to it. What I need to do is tap into the power running to the electrical outlet, use that power for the light, but also have a switch for the light without impacting the always on set-up of the electrical outlet. To confuse matters, the light is a low voltage fixture that is intended to plug into an outlet. I would like to remove the light fixture plug and just direct connect it to the wiring using the switch to control it. I will leave in place the low voltage transformer that I wish to embed behind the sheetrock. My question is how do I wire this and if it involves "pigtails" please explain the term.
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Old 04-08-01, 02:37 PM
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you can tap power off the receptacle for the switch by introducing the same size & style of wire.

you can also control 1/2 of said receptacle if you like.

you can not alter your lamp, you should install it per the manufacturer's instructions

and you can not bury this low-v trans, this, besides being a fundamental no-no, and possible fire hazard, will be inaccessable for repairs should it go bad

Old 04-08-01, 03:49 PM
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The fixture consists of three lamps that terminate in plugs. These plugs insert into connectors that are sequentially wired to each other and the wire goes into the transformer. The transformer then has a wire that terminates in a plug intended for an electrical outlet. There must be a safe and effective way to convert this so I do not need an electrical outlet. The lights will be used over a CD case mounted to the wall. I will leave an opened in the sheetrock behind the case where the transformer will be placed. If necessary, I could leave the transformer on top of the case rather than in the sheetrock.

All this aside, I stil need to know how exactly I can wire this to pull power from the electrical outlet and control the lights with a switch without changing the always on function of the plug.
Old 04-08-01, 04:08 PM
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1/2 switch the receptacle . this will result in one half serving the CD case, one half being controlled by the switch.

IF this works for you, do the folowing;

1) shut down power

2) remove receptacle

3) run a wire , same size 14-2 or 12-2 from receptacle to switch

3) white to top of switch, black to bottom

4) in receptacle box, wire nut white to switch , black from power source with a third wire, or pigtail, approx 4" long

5)white from power source to same side it came off receptacle, this nuetral will not change.

6) break "tab" off hot side of receptacle, separating the metal bettween the two screws

7) pigtail from #4 goes to one hot screw, this will be the constant side

8) black wire from switch to other hot screw, this will be the switched side, as the power goes up the white to the switch, back on the black. mark the whites assuming the hot's job with black tape

9) turn power back on...

10) test the circuit

hope this helps

Old 04-09-01, 01:12 PM
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Run a 12 or 14/2 romex matching the size wire that is in the receptacle to the new switch box. Then in the receptacle connect black to black, white to white, bare to bare without putting more than one wire under a screw of that receptacle. Then in the switch box run another 12 or 14/2 romex from that switch again matching the wire size in the existing receptacle. In the switch connect bare to bare and white to white, then black or each romex to the two screws of a dimmer or toggle switch designed to be installed as a wall switch, then that romex coming from the switch fish into the attic and then down the wall to just above the cabinet where you want you lights installed. Bring the Romex out on top of that cabinet and install a receptacle mounted to the top of that cabinet. Then plug in the transformer and fish the low voltage wiring through the walls to the areas where you want to install you low voltage lights.

You do have an option to install that transformer receptacle in the attic and plug the transformer in to that receptacle and run just the low voltage wiring down the wall to the cabinet if you like. You could even mount the receptacle and transformer inside the cabinet itself.

Never bury that transformer in a wall of behind a mounted cabinet.

Confirm the installation instructions to confirm the dimmer is allowed on the primary side of your transformer. I suspect it will tell you that you can.

Hope this helps

Old 04-21-01, 10:36 AM
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Thanks for all your advice. I've decided, per your warnings, not to imbed the transformer in the wall. I will just plug it into the receptacle.

What I will do is add the wall switch and have it control the top half of the receptacle that the light plugs into.

Let's see if I have the instructions correct:
1) Cut power
2) Run same size wire from plug to new switch
3) At switch, connect black and white to individual screws (order not important)
4) At receptacle, remove black and wire nut together a)the original receptacle black, b)a pigtail black and c)the white to the switch
5) At receptacle, connect new pigtail black to the bottom outlet and break the tab between the two halves of the receptacle on the black side. Make sure white is connected to the bottom half and the tab on the white side of the receptacle is not broken. This will allow the bottom outlet to be "always on".
6) At receptacle, connect new black from the switch to the top outlet
7) Restore power and test.

I hope I got this correct.

In addition, I also need to wire nut the receptacle ground to the switch ground with a pigtail ground back to the outlet.

Thanks for all your help.
Old 04-21-01, 04:43 PM
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Everything is functioning as I needed. I only ran into one problem. When I pulled the outlet out I found it had two sets of wires running to it (2 blacks/2 whites). I experimented and broke the outlet tab on the black side and the top plug quit funtioning along with other outlers along that wall. To get around it, I connected both whites at the outlet with two white pigtails then connected one white pigtail to each of the outlet's two plugs. I connected both blacks at the outlet with one black pigtail and the white to the light switch. The one black pigtail went to the bottom plug which is now always on. The black coming back from the switch is connected to the top plug and is now controlled by the switch. I also connected both grounds from the outlet with the ground from the switch with one ground pigtail and ran the ground pigtail to the outlet.

I'm done with this project, now on to the next. I hope this can help others with the same situation. I see this post has been read over a hundred times.

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