Power feed to ceiling lights

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Old 07-02-12, 02:42 PM
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Power feed to ceiling lights

I am running new wires for ceiling fixtures in kitchen renovation. It will simplify wiring if I can run the power feed to the ceiling junction box and run just a switch wire from the wall switch. Any issues with doing this?
 
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Old 07-02-12, 02:52 PM
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How many fixtures do you have? You can daisy chain the lights and from your power in cable run a 14-3 cable from the power feed down to the switch connecting hot to black, switched to red and neutral to white. The neutral in the switch box will be capped off and not used. All this if you are under the 2011 NEC.
 
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Old 07-02-12, 03:03 PM
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I am planning 8-10 recessed cans. My main concern is that the power feed can be run to the ceiling junction. Someone in the past told me that the power feed should always be at the wall switch for the reason that the ceiling junction can be serviced just by turning the wall switch off.
 
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Old 07-02-12, 03:47 PM
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Someone in the past told me that the power feed should always be at the wall switch for the reason that the ceiling junction can be serviced just by turning the wall switch off.
Regardless of where the power comes in you should always turn off the breaker before servicing a branch circuit so it doesn't matter where the feed comes in. If you are wiring under 2011 code though coming to the switch first makes sense because you only need to use 2-conductor cable between light and switch. Under 2011 code if you came to the light first you would need 3-conductor cable to the switch as Chandler pointed out.
 
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Old 07-02-12, 04:15 PM
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If I understand Chandler correctly, I am connecting the power at the ceiling junction to black of 14/3 down to wall switch. and feeding it back up to the lights through red. So the obvious question is why can't I just use a 2 conductor from the wall switch and switch the power at the ceiling junction box?
 
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Old 07-02-12, 05:06 PM
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So the obvious question is why can't I just use a 2 conductor from the wall switch and switch the power at the ceiling junction box?
We don't know what code cycle your jurisdiction is on. Chandler quoted the 2011 code. If you are on 2008 code or older you can use a two conductor cable and re-designate the white as a hot.
 
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Old 07-02-12, 05:11 PM
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I am not sure what code cycle my area is on. I'll have to find out. So I guess I am wondering what the reasoning is behind the 2011 code? Electrically speaking there seems to be little difference.
 
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Old 07-02-12, 05:38 PM
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I guess I am wondering what the reasoning is behind the 2011 code? Electrically speaking there seems to be little difference.
For the 2011 code cycle, a new requirement to have an ungounded conductor (a neutral) in every switch box was added to insure that it would be there to complete the circuit for switches that require a complete circuit. A primary motivation, as I understand it, was to have the box ready for the installation of energy-saving switches such as timers and motion detectors.
 
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Old 07-02-12, 06:08 PM
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Nowadays more and more electronic timers etc require the use of a neutral. Even some switches with pilot lights built in will require a neutral. The 2011 code is taking into consideration future addition , as Nash and Ray have stated.
 
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Old 07-02-12, 07:07 PM
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A real world example: Many timers currently available do not have a neutral therefore to keep time they rely on drawing a tricked current through the bulb. This works fine on incandescent bulbs but it causes CFL bulbs to flash dimly intermittently when off.

Note there are exceptions such as if conduit instead of cable is used since it would be relatively easy to add a neutral at a later date.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 07-02-12 at 08:05 PM.
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