Help wiring high hats


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Old 08-24-13, 08:37 PM
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Help wiring high hats

Hi guys
So I got most of my high hats in no problem. It was very straight forward. I removed the old light. And ran a wire to each new lamp.

This next room I have a little problem. The room is on one circuit and there is two switches; one controls 2 lights and the other two lights. The switch box has 6 wires in it (all 14/2) one of which is constant hot. There is a pig tail from this hot to 1 switch then a wire from that switch to power the other switch. Each switch has a wire hot when on wire leaving the box. All the neutrals are tied together as well as the grounds and te hot powers 3 other wires leaving the box.

At the lights that I removed. One- has a constant hot coming in which is tied into the neutral wire of the wire that's blk is powering the light along with another black that is leaving to to other light. The neutral from the constant hot is tied to the neutral leaving to the other lamp and these are both the neutral for the light. All the grounds are tied together.

It's fine to just connect the first high hat the same as the old light right along with a ground. Will the dimmer work?

The other light I removed is similar except tne black wire is to the light, the white to this wire is tied to two other black wires. The neutral from the 2 blks one whit is tied together and goes to the light
I know this is a way they used to wire things sometimes back inthe day I'm sorry if I didn't make much sense.
 
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Old 08-24-13, 08:59 PM
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The switch box has 6 wires in it (all 14/2)
A wire is a single conductor. Do you mean six cables?

At the lights that I removed. One- has a constant hot coming in which is tied into the neutral wire of the wire that's blk
That would make it an ungrounded conductor that was not properly remarked as a ungrounded conductor not a neutral. That wire probably carries power to a switch. In other words a typical switch loop used when power comes in at the light.

Will the dimmer work?
If the bulbs are incandescent or it is a special purpose dimmer made for the type of bulb used. yes.

I know this is a way they used to wire things sometimes back inthe day I'm sorry if I didn't make much sense.
You seem to have switch loops they are still used and very common. I'm not sure though what your question is. From your description some of the lights seem to be on switch loops and other on power fed to the switch box first.
 
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Old 08-24-13, 09:03 PM
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The room is on one circuit and there is two switches; one controls 2 lights and the other two lights. The switch box has 6 wires in it (all 14/2) one of which is constant hot. There is a pig tail from this hot to 1 switch then a wire from that switch to power the other switch. Each switch has a wire hot when on wire leaving the box. All the neutrals are tied together as well as the grounds and the hot powers 3 other wires leaving the box.
Is this the way you found it, or have you changed anything in the switch box?

At the lights that I removed. One- has a constant hot coming in which is tied into the neutral wire of the wire that's blk is powering the light along with another black that is leaving to to other light. The neutral from the constant hot is tied to the neutral leaving to the other lamp and these are both the neutral for the light.
That's switch-loop wiring. The white wire spliced to the hot wire isn't functioning as a neutral. It's carrying ungrounded potential (it's a hot wire) and needs to be tagged with a color other than gray or green to show that.

Is the constant hot still hot if you disconnect everything? Again, is this how you found it? If so, you'll meed to decide whether you want to use the feed in the ceiling or the feed in the wall to power this light.

How are you testing for voltage?

The other light I removed is similar except the black wire is to the light, the white to this wire is tied to two other black wires. The neutral from the 2 blacks one white is tied together and goes to the light
This is another switch loop setup. Did the lights work before you replaced them?

I know this is a way they used to wire things sometimes back in the day I'm sorry if I didn't make much sense.
Yes, if by "back in the day" you mean "before 2011." We still install switch loops for light controls, BTW. The only difference is that now we run 3-conductor cable between the light outlet and the switch box, and use the white wire in that cable to conduct grounded potential (neutral) to the switch box.
 
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Old 08-25-13, 12:52 AM
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Thank you guys for the info. Sorry if the way I'm wording things isn't correct. This is how everything is before I removed and replaced. I basically just connected the high hat to the black and white that went into the old light and ran a cable from that to the other night hat. I did this with both old lights. For each old 4' florescent 2 6" LEDs were installed. Everything works just as I thought (except I got the shallow halos that don't fit my LEDs so I have to switch them in the am)

I really just wanted to understand what was going on. I just marked the white that was connected to the black. With black marker so I new those go together the rest was easy.

Until I had to cut the wires bc the can didn't fit the light I cut my mark so I wasn't sure which blk went to white. When all the wires were disconnected the wire I thought was constant hot that went to the white was actually not hot. The blk going into light is hot until its everything was connected then it works with the switch. Thank you guys. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can from this experience. It's one thing just replacing things (carefully and safely) but I like to actually understand it. I'm gonna do some homework on switch loop wiring. Thanks again.

Last question. The other switch tied into this switch control 2 lights in the other half of the room (same 4ft tubes) I am replacing this with a fan/light for 1 old light and 2 6" cans for the other light. I would have liked to run the fan light on a seperate switch but it's gonna be a ***** with the joist and a whole lot of patching. The fan comes with a remote so I figure I can use the remote as an on off for the fan/light. I got a dimmer switch for this also. What's going to happen when the fan/light is on and the LEDs are on? Will only the LEDs be dimmed? Will nothing be dimmed?

I didn't take out the lights that have the have the hot white going to them. Are these going to have the white hot and black as the neutral in it? I'm going to do the same thing and just hook it up the way it was but I'm curious and will obv test the wires going to the light to make sure hot is going to blk on the light etc. it would be really nice to put the fan on its own switch
 
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Old 08-25-13, 09:53 AM
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The blk going into light is hot until its everything was connected then it works with the switch.
That doesn't make sense.
Originally Posted by Nashkat1
How are you testing for voltage?
I'm gonna do some homework on switch loop wiring.
A copy of Wiring Simplified should help you understand that and more.

The other switch tied into this switch control 2 lights in the other half of the room (same 4ft tubes) I am replacing this with a fan/light for 1 old light and 2 6" cans for the other light. I would have liked to run the fan light on a seperate switch but it's gonna be a ***** with the joist and a whole lot of patching. The fan comes with a remote so I figure I can use the remote as an on off for the fan/light. I got a dimmer switch for this also. What's going to happen when the fan/light is on and the LEDs are on? Will only the LEDs be dimmed? Will nothing be dimmed?
You can return the dimmer switch. A fan motor cannot be controlled through a dimmer.

You will need to install a fan-rated box to mount the fan/light combo to.

You may be able to install a two-wire fan/light control in the wall box for these two locations and let the second light be controlled with the light on the fan.

I didn't take out the lights that have the have the hot white going to them. Are these going to have the white hot and black as the neutral in it?
Black is never used as a neutral conductor. Neutral conductors are only white or gray. See 120/240V Wiring Color Code Interpretation.

I'm going to do the same thing and just hook it up the way it was but I'm curious and will obv test the wires going to the light to make sure hot is going to blk on the light etc.
That may work. The more certain method is to identify the function of each wire and connect them in the way that most efficiently and effectively meets your needs.

it would be really nice to put the fan on its own switch.
See above.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 08-25-13 at 07:38 PM. Reason: Format quote
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Old 08-25-13, 10:15 AM
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Thanks for the reply I'm going to go over each wires function again. It got late last night after reviewing my wires simplified book ;-)
I understand how a switch loop works now. Still some question d regarding my set up that I think I need to stair at for a little

How would I be able to operate the fan from a switch in that wall box with out running wires?

The dimmer won't work at all with the fan light? I just want to be able to turn it on with that not actually dim those bulbs or slow the fan.
 
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Old 08-25-13, 10:20 AM
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And I'm testing with a volt meter. The new lights all work and the old ones on the other switch all work as they did. Those are next. And yes I got the fan mounting bracket and box. I installed one in a different portion already. The difference that one is in a room that had 2 2' tubes each on its own switch so now the fan is one one switch and the new LEDs on the other with a dimmer
 
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Old 08-25-13, 02:42 PM
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After really staring at these wires I know there has to be a way to seperate 2 of the lights on one switch by adding another switch in the box.

I have everything disconnected. There is no constant hot going to the lights. It goes to one switch than the other. When the switch is in on position it powers the white wire that is tied to the black. This black wire goes to the light. When the other switch is on the blacks going to that light are hot. How can I put a switch to control that white wire from getting power? The same thing is on the other set of lights. But the white that is hot works independently of each other.
 
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Old 08-25-13, 02:54 PM
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Sorry they actually don't work together there is a black going into the one light that ties to a black to the light to be powered and the white the powers the black on the other light
 
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Old 08-25-13, 04:34 PM
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I know you are hoping for answers but what you have detailed is confusing. Try drawing it out and see if that helps you. If not post your drawing here. If you you want to start from scratch we can tell you how disregarding what you you have now. You have six lights correct? Do you want them on one switch, two switches, or three switches. Do you want all the switches in one box? Does that box have a cable whose black and white measure 120 volts when it is disconnected from everything else in the box?
 
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Old 08-25-13, 07:37 PM
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How would I be able to operate the fan from a switch in that wall box with out running wires?
Originally Posted by Nashkat1
You may be able to install a two-wire fan/light control in the wall box for these two locations and let the second light be controlled with the light on the fan.
The dimmer won't work at all with the fan light? I just want to be able to turn it on with that not actually dim those bulbs or slow the fan.
No, what I said was
Originally Posted by Nashkat1
A fan motor cannot be controlled through a dimmer.
It shouldn't be controlled with an on/off switch either, unless the fan motor is always set to High with its built-in switch.
 
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Old 08-27-13, 02:20 PM
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Thanks for all the help guys sorry my words are so confused explaining this. I actually studied everything over and over than disconnected everything and tested all the wires to understand exactly what was going on.

It's very hard for me to explain it but I got everything working the way I wante to by adding another switch and running a constant hot to it. Than just ran wire through the ceiling and have to patch it up. The wire that I thought was a switch loop, when powered on powered the blk wire to the other light which I wanted to be on its own switch. So I disconnected this white and ran my new switch blk to this blk and did the same for the white. I always disconnected this white from the other light so that wire is dead now but the black in the cable is hot when switched.

I should hook this white with the neutrals or just throw wire ties on each end. It's not used but I believe I read your not supposed to leave an unused wire. Again it was used as a hot but now nothing, I figured if I connect it to a neutal on both sides the positive can't "jump" into it if that is even possible
 
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Old 08-27-13, 02:23 PM
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Also sorry the fans need to be on a fan switch even if I'm going to use the pull cords and the remote to control the speed?
 
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Old 08-27-13, 02:54 PM
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It's not used but I believe I read your not supposed to leave an unused wire.
Nothing wrong with an unused wire. Actually with the 2011 code re switches you will often have an unused neutral in a switch box. Even before that you had a unused wire sometime in a box originally intended as a fan but used for a light.

I figured if I connect it to a neutal on both sides the positive can't "jump" into it if that is even possible
Bad science fiction not reality. And no "positive" in an AC circuit.

the fans need to be on a fan switch even if I'm going to use the pull cords and the remote to control the speed?
Switch is optional and it might be better without one because turning the switch off and on can reset the remote.
 
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Old 08-27-13, 03:18 PM
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Thanks a lot man. After hours of just staring at these wires and drawing them I figured out what all of their function were and how they worked.

That wire I said was white connected to black- I don't know if I'm saying this right but switch 1 powers the lights in room A switch 2 powers room B.

Hot runs into switch 1from that switch 2. Blk from switch 1 goes room A light than the a white was connected to this which is what Connected to a blk wire from the other light powered by switch A. The blk wire from this cable carried the hot from the other switch to the other light. Make more sense.

I just removed the hot from the light I wanted on its own switch and powered that from a that. And left the other light that would have controlled this as is so it works off it's old switch.

Think I'm ok. I didn't connect the lights just test all the wires on and off etc so know it will work I'm sealing all the holes first to make sanding easier.

Only thing I'm little annoyed at myself. I didn't think till after I cut the hole for the switch I could have just used one switch with two switches if that makes sense (bathroom light and fan on the same switch but function separately. Then wouldn't have had to run wires from the old box to the new one and it would have looked little cleaner I'm OCD lol.
Thanks again.
 
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Old 08-27-13, 05:01 PM
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the fans need to be on a fan switch even if I'm going to use the pull cords and the remote to control the speed?
I install an on/off switch as a service disconnect when I install a remote receiver/controller for a fan. Then I cover the switch so that it can't be turned off accidentally.

You can't control a fan motor with both a pull chain and a remote. The instructions that came with your remote will tell you to set the fan on High with the pull chain and only control it with the remote. Leaving the pull chains short helps folks remember this.

I got everything working the way I wante to by adding another switch and running a constant hot to it. Than just ran wire through the ceiling and have to patch it up. The wire that I thought was a switch loop, when powered on powered the blk wire to the other light which I wanted to be on its own switch. So I disconnected this white and ran my new switch blk to this blk and did the same for the white.
If you're saying that you ran a new 2-conductor cable from the switch box to the second light and used both of the conductors in that cable to connect switched hot and neutral to that light, that's fine.

If you're also saying that you now have a cable with one conductor in it in use and the other not, that's not code compliant. Do you have that somewhere or did I miss something?
 
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Old 08-27-13, 05:04 PM
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Do you have a receptacle in that bathroom? If so, is it on a separate circuit?
 
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Old 08-27-13, 08:32 PM
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Oh wow thanks, I didn't open up the fan, there is a type if plate that will cover the switch in the on position?

Yep I installed the receptacle in its own 20 amp circuit. The receptacle was there but connected so to keep it in code I ran its own circuit.

Yea that is exactly what I did

Yes there is one wire in the cable un used. The light that is on this new switch was connected to another light. The white wire in a cable was connected to the hot when the one light was switched on and than that white wire is now hot and tied into the black for this other light which turns it on, the white is this cable is connecting to everything else. I disconnected this white cable from both sides and connected the new switched blk n white to the lights black n white. The black from the now disconnected cable is hot when the other switch is on which turns both light on in that room so I need that. Can't i just connect the white to the other whites to keep it in code
 
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Old 08-27-13, 08:42 PM
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The black from the now disconnected cable is hot when the other switch is on which turns both light on in that room so I need that. Can't i just connect the white to the other whites to keep it in code.
First of all, please buy and read a copy of Wiring Simplified before you attempt any more DIY electrical work. It explains, in layman's terms, why as well as how electrical systems are put together.

The National Electrical Code requires the ungrounded (hot) and grounded (neutral) potential (power) for a circuit to be run in the same raceway. A cable is a raceway. It sounds like you can do that.
 
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Old 08-29-13, 08:36 AM
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I have it and read it twice but I like to check on here with what I actually have done even though I'm sure it's right. I basically disconnected the underground hot from the light it was switching on. This lights blk wire connected to the underground hot and the white to a white that is tied into the other whites. I know connected this blk and white to the blk and wht coming from my new switch.

Now I have an underground hot disconnected from what it was turning on. So I disconnected the other end that this wire was tied into which powered it. These leaves both ends of that wire disconnected. I connected both ends of this wire to neutrals so that it wasnt just left unused
 
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Old 08-29-13, 09:20 AM
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I think you mean "ungrounded."

You connected both ends of a black wire to white neutral conductors? If so, that should be removed immediately. If the cable it's in is no longer needed, the white and ground should also be disconnected and the cable abandoned by capping the wires or cutting them short and pushing the cable ends out of the boxes they're in.

See 120/240V Wiring Color Code Interpretation.
 
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Old 08-29-13, 10:52 AM
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Sorry yeah ungrounded. I'm doing this from my phone it's not the greatest.

No no def didn't connect a blk to neutrals.

Originally there was a cable that both black and white where hot but the black connected one set of lights to its switch and turn tr light on when switched on. The white did the same thing for the other lights. Since this white supply's the black from the light that is now on its own switch I disconnect it from the light and ran my new switch to this light. Now the wire that I disconnected from this lights that was tied to the blk of the light was white. The blk connected to this whites cable is still connecting the other set of lights together on there own switch. The other end of this white was tied to the black coming from its switch and the other light of the pair. I disconnected this white from these blacks. Now this white is connected to nothing but the black in the cable still is.

I can just cap each end of the white and I'm good to go? Cap off the ground also? Or pull out of the box.

Or should I connect this white to a neutral on both ends. And do the same for the ground.

Thanks again. I'm sorry I don't use the proper words but I read that book and went over it over n over, and really think I understand exactly how it's working. And everything works but I don't want to leave that neutral just capped on each. End if I shouldnt
 
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Old 08-29-13, 11:39 AM
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I would abandon the whole cable if it's not needed anymore. You could leave the ground connected, I guess, but I wouldn't.
 
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Old 08-30-13, 02:45 AM
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The blk on it is what connects the two lights on the same switch hot. If I disconnect that wire from both ends one light wont go on. Basically what i did on the other set of lights
 
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Old 08-30-13, 03:27 AM
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If part of the cable is still in use then the ground must remain connected.
If you don't need the white ..... just cap it off at both ends. That's it.
 
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Old 08-30-13, 06:04 AM
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Thanks that is exactly what I was looking for
 
 

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