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Old 01-03-18, 03:46 PM
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Hello all. New to this forum but not new to doing it myself. Attached is a copy of a drawing from my electrician on how to wire two separate switches for two separate lights using one wire and a junction box. I recently removed an interior wall and now need to relocate the switches. Bad timing on my part now that the cold weather has come to town because the draft coming through the new gap in the sheetrock is beyond frigid, so my urgency to button up these hanging wires in my kitchen gets more pressing by the second. I colored the wires so it would be easier to understand as the original was in pen and not so easy to follow. I understand what needs to be done with the junction box and the wires right up until the switches. He described using jumper wires to connect one switch to another which I am a bit fuzzy on, but just as important I am not sure what type of switches are needed or how many jumper wires will be needed to connect them. Any questions are welcome and any input is much appreciated. Location is Northern New Jersey, USA. Cheers!
 
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Old 01-03-18, 04:18 PM
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This is not legal according to NEC 2011 and later, because you don't have a neutral in your switch box. I don't know anything about New Jersey and what code cycle your area is on. The reason this requirement exists is so you can hook up newfangled "smart" switches and other toys. Will this work be inspected?

The two switches you need to buy are just normal light switches with two screws on them. Nothing special (Your diagram had me scratching my head at first but that's just because the way you lined them up.) You will need two short lengths of wire. One goes from the white wire in the switch box to switch #1. The other goes from that same white wire to switch #2. So there will be a wire nut containing 3 wires... white supply wire, and 2 going to the other switches. That thick black dot of yours represents the wire nut.

That white wire will need to be reidentified with black tape or similar inside the switch box and the junction box.

Take a closer look at his diagram in the area from the lights to the junction box to make sure you didn't make a mistake when drawing this colored one. I don't know why he's got 3-conductor cable running from both lights. Where does the power initially come from? It is surely coming from one of the fixtures, but not both. I'm not understanding why it's drawn that way.
 
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Old 01-03-18, 05:29 PM
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You really need to seal up the air leak behind the box. Drywall gaps will still let the air leak even after being finished.
 
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Old 01-03-18, 05:30 PM
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Thank you for your reply Core. The drawing depicts exactly what is going here, and in his drawing. Before removing the wall and currently both three wires from the lights come to the switches. The red goes directly to the switch (lower screw), the black goes to the switch (upper screw) and the white goes directly to the jumper leading to the other switch. The jumper is a two wire black/white wire, in which the black also goes to the switches top screw (but into the slot in back of the switch, not the screw). The exact same thing happens at the other switch from the other light. This line feeds most receptacles and lights on the first floor of my home (Built 1950's) so I'm not sure which is bringing the power or where it continues to at this time.
 
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Old 01-03-18, 05:53 PM
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Oh so wait a second. The old switches were not right next to each other in the same box before. What about the new setup? Are the switches still going to be in two separate boxes spaced some feet apart or something? That would change things a great deal. Poor assumption on my part just from looking at the diagram.
 
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Old 01-03-18, 06:02 PM
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There is a two foot jumper (2 wire) between the two switches (2 boxes) currently. The new setup would put both switches into one box with smaller wires joining the two. This is why I was questioning how to wire at the switches because they are to be right next to one another in the new setup.
 
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Old 01-03-18, 06:14 PM
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No wonder your confused...... I'm confused. That is not a typical way to wire a circuit.
So now there are two junction/switch boxes. What will happen to them ?
 
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Old 01-03-18, 06:18 PM
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Oh, I see now. The 2nd fixture is going on to feed other unswitched loads no doubt. I was just being dense! So yeah, you can just wire it up as described above and as the drawing says. If that's easiest for your house (which I'm starting to have my doubts about, but...).

But don't forget you've still got that issue about not having a neutral in the switch box if you do it that way. Would it be easy to instead run two 2-wire cables between the junction box and the switch box? That would solve your neutral "problem".
 
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Old 01-03-18, 07:09 PM
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I have no objection to running two (2 wire) leads from the junction box to the box or what you're describing boxes. So would the identifying wire colors and configuration stay the same as in my drawing? Or would the junction box setup change as well to fulfill the neutral obligation? Thanks for your effort and time here btw.
 
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Old 01-03-18, 08:08 PM
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Well, apparently I lied. I can't come up with a way to do it with two 2-conductor cables, nor even a 2-conductor and a 3-conductor cable. Not and still keep the return current balanced in the same cable, anyway. It can be done with two 3-wire cables, but that seems excessive and terribly wasteful. Especially with _two_ unused neutrals sitting there in the box.

The elegant way to do it would be with 12/4 or 14/4:


But unless your electrical supply house will sell you 12/4 by the foot, that's not gonna be feasible because a whole roll of that stuff is buku money.

I gotta admit I'm at a loss trying to come up with a better solution. This shouldn't be this hard. Anyone? Heheh.
 
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Old 01-03-18, 09:09 PM
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After all this and now I find out I'm getting top notch advice from a liar! HaHa!! No worries, thanks so much for all the time taken to contemplate my situation. Guess I'll just have to work on insulating the ceiling before the furnace keels over or we all die of hypothermia. hehe. If I find a solution I'll be sure to give you the workaround. Regards, Tony
 
 

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