Lights Get Progressively Dimmer

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Old 01-13-07, 05:37 PM
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Lights Get Progressively Dimmer

I am wiring a vanity light along with an overhead recessed 'can' light in my bathroom. I've had the can light (and switch) wired for sometime (which has worked great). The bathroom vanity light fixture is what I'm hooking up right now - and having problems with.

I have three wire-sets sticking out of the bathroom vanity fixture/box, as follows: (1) power in (line-side power) (2) power out (to other fixtures) and (3) the switch leg.

After hooking up my vanity light (with #6 - 25 watt hallogen bulbs), I noticed the following: Both the recessed can and vanity light works when one 25 watt hallogen bulb is in the vanity fixture. When two 25 watt bulbs are in the fixture, the 2 vanity bulbs and recessed can light get a lot dimmer (the switch still works). When all 6 - 25 watt bulbs are inserted in the vanity fixture, no lights comes from either the vanity or recessed can light.

I have messed up my wiring, but don't know what I have done wrong. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 01-13-07, 06:21 PM
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Describe all the wire connections in the switch and light fixtures.
 
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Old 01-13-07, 07:12 PM
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Update - wiring

All the wiring is 12/2 w/ground (NMS), as follows: vanity box has three wire sets as follows: (1) line-side power in (2) load side power out, and (3) switch leg going to the can light.

The can light has two wire sets (12/2 w/ground) as follows: (1) one comming from the vanity box and (2) another going to the wall switch.

I went and looked at my can light wiring and noticed the following problem. I have already established my switch leg from the can light to the wall switch (white wire wrapped with black e-tape). At the vanity box, I, in turn, connected my wire set going to the can light as follows: white wire (wrapped with black tape) from the vanity going to the can - which is the same as my white neutral comming FROM the can light and feeding my vanity light (wrapped with black e-tape) Not so bright - should have looked at my can lighting prior to hooking up vanity light - it has been about three months since wiring the can light. (I hope you can understand my verbal description.)

As I see it, I essentially have power from the vanity going to the wall switch and then to the can light (via switch leg), with the white neutral FROM the can feeding my black wire to the vanity light.

In order for my switch to control both lights, I believe I should have run three wire (12/3 w/ground) from the can light to the vanity box - otherwise the vanity light will constantly have power and constantly be "on" without being able to run power through the switch - does that seem right? Is there anything I can do to avoid having to pull 12/3 from my can light to the vanity box? (I've secured my wire with electrical staples so they are nice and secure inside the wall cavity) I've freshly painted everything and don't want to rip into my new walls. Any thoughts/suggestions?
 
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Old 01-14-07, 07:49 AM
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neophite

You seem to have answered your own question about the fault in the circuit. Essentialy you had the two fixtures wired in series.

Unfortunatly it is not safe, and it is illegal to run another two conductor cable, or a single strand of wire. You will need to replace the run from the vanity to the ceiling light with a three conductor cable.

If you fish the walls and ceiling without tearing down the drywall, you do not need to staple the new wire.

Regards to the now old 12-2, you can cap off the wires, or cut them off so short that they can never be used at both ends and leave them abandon inside the wall. Just be sure that you get both ends of the same cable.
 
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Old 01-14-07, 08:31 AM
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Put the vanity light on its own switch. It would be simple to drop a wire straight down the wall below the vanity light to a switch.
Otherwise you need a new cable as described above.
 
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Old 01-14-07, 12:05 PM
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Update and Resolution

Sometimes the power of a fourm like this causes one to think through the problems. Thanks to those who responded with your comments and suggestions.

As a beginner/diy-er, I have ALWAYS run power through the switch and then to the light(s). I understand that concept very well. As such, if adding lights later on, in series, you don't need to worry about running 3 wire (12/3 w/ ground) between the lights when you wire with a switch leg (taping the white neutral w/ black e-tape).

I resolved my problem as follows: I had power in the lavatory/toilet/shower room switch box - next room - about 20 inches east of my vanity switch. I was able to run power from that switch box (lav/toilet/shower) to the box in question which controls the can and vanity light. I then connected the two wire (12/2 w/ ground) to the can and vanity lights (removing the black e-tape from the white neutrals) and hooking them up in traditional fasion - black to black and white to white. I just terminated my wire at the vanity light box at the vanity light itself. I didn't need power at the vanity light box due to having brought it from the lav/toilet/shower switch box. Hooked up the lights VERY LATE last night and works great!

(It should be noted all my master bed/bathroom lights are on the same circut and my bathroom plugs are on their own dedicated circut with GFCI protection. I have read the code and wiring books and am confident I'm in compliance with the code [our city doesn't require AFCI in the bedroom on a remodel]).

Anyway - thanks for everone who responded.
 
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