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-   -   Add switches to basement lighting circuit (http://www.diychatroom.com/f18/add-switches-basement-lighting-circuit-171723/)

wmrhoward 02-11-2013 07:31 PM

Add switches to basement lighting circuit
 
I have a single switch for all lights in the basement. Many don't need to be on at the same time. Is it legal to add a switch to the hot leg for each of the lights. I'm replacing the lights from simple screw in bulb bases to fluorescents.
I would take the 3 wires from the enclosure above the bulb base and run them to the new fixture with a branch in the hot wire to a wall switch and back to the fixture. OK?

Wow you guys are fast. As you can tell I'm not an electrician but I do understand electricity and schematics.
My basement has a single switch that turns on 7 bulbs. I want to use the existent wiring and add a switch to each light. I'll leave the bulb box in place (with a cover) and run new wire from each to the light fixture (7 each). I want to add a switch to the hot lead of each of the new fixtures. I'll be going from incandescent bulbs to florescent lamps so expect to use less power, and with the most most of the lights off anyway, I didn't consider power. I just wanted to know if it was the proper (or best) way to add control to the light fixtures. I don't want to run wire from the main lead in to basement, too expensive & I can't do much work over my head (back problems). I'll turn on the main switch and have an additional switch for each light.

TarheelTerp 02-11-2013 07:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wmrhoward (Post 1115289)
I have a single switch for all lights in the basement.
Many don't need to be on at the same time.

OK... Do that.

My basement has 4 switches set up.
One is a 3way between the top and bottom of the stairs to the kitchen
One is a 3way from the bottom of the stairs to the back door.
One is a small area by the furnace and such.
One is everything else.

Quote:

I'm replacing the lights from simple screw in bulb bases to fluorescents.
OK. Will you keep the metal junction boxes that the current lights mount onto? You should. Get some blank cover plates for when you're done.

Quote:

Is it legal to add a switch to the hot leg...OK?
I'm not sure what you are trying to describe there.

Currently the power for your lights is going from box to box to box.

Find where that starts (look for the light with the door bell transformer or the one closest to the panel).

Split off from there and start running from there.
Plan to run the feed to the switches you want to have...
and from there to which light wherever that may be.

hth

gregzoll 02-11-2013 07:57 PM

First thing, how many fixtures are we talking about, and what is the wattage & amp rating on the fluorescent fixtures? When I redid our basement, I used one circuit, but have one switch controlling the two fixtures at the front of the basement, and the other switch controlling the two at the back of the basement.

hammerlane 02-12-2013 06:35 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Had this diagram saved. Switch #1 supplies power to switches 2 and 3. Switches 2 and 3 then control their respective lites.

gregzoll 02-12-2013 09:28 AM

The problem with that, you have to walk across the basement to flip the lights on, while avoiding the land mines that are in your path, when you are walking in the dark.

hammerlane 02-12-2013 09:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gregzoll (Post 1115622)
The problem with that, you have to walk across the basement to flip the lights on, while avoiding the land mines that are in your path, when you are walking in the dark.

sounds like a personal problem and what happens when you do not want to do something proper.

electures 02-12-2013 10:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wmrhoward
I have a single switch for all lights in the basement. Many don't need to be on at the same time. Is it legal to add a switch to the hot leg for each of the lights. I'm replacing the lights from simple screw in bulb bases to fluorescents.
I would take the 3 wires from the enclosure above the bulb base and run them to the new fixture with a branch in the hot wire to a wall switch and back to the fixture. OK?

My suggestion is to replace the russels with pull chains. Leave the first russel and change the rest. That way you can select which lights you want on without rewiring. The light from the first russel should cast enough light to illuminate the path to the next light.

gregzoll 02-12-2013 11:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hammerlane (Post 1115635)
sounds like a personal problem and what happens when you do not want to do something proper.

What you drew out is not a proper way of doing it.

hammerlane 02-12-2013 11:52 AM

see below

hammerlane 02-12-2013 12:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wmrhoward (Post 1115289)
I'll leave the bulb box in place (with a cover) and run new wire from each to the light fixture (7 each)..

What does the above statement mean?

What is a bulb box?

What is the "each" referring to when you say...and run new wire from each to the light fixture

Stubbie 02-12-2013 12:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wmrhoward (Post 1115289)
I have a single switch for all lights in the basement. Many don't need to be on at the same time. Is it legal to add a switch to the hot leg for each of the lights. I'm replacing the lights from simple screw in bulb bases to fluorescents.
I would take the 3 wires from the enclosure above the bulb base and run them to the new fixture with a branch in the hot wire to a wall switch and back to the fixture. OK?

Wow you guys are fast. As you can tell I'm not an electrician but I do understand electricity and schematics.
My basement has a single switch that turns on 7 bulbs. I want to use the existent wiring and add a switch to each light. I'll leave the bulb box in place (with a cover) and run new wire from each to the light fixture (7 each). I want to add a switch to the hot lead of each of the new fixtures. I'll be going from incandescent bulbs to florescent lamps so expect to use less power, and with the most most of the lights off anyway, I didn't consider power. I just wanted to know if it was the proper (or best) way to add control to the light fixtures. I don't want to run wire from the main lead in to basement, too expensive & I can't do much work over my head (back problems). I'll turn on the main switch and have an additional switch for each light.

If all the lights are daisy chained from a single switch your suggestion would be rather unusual. As you would have all switches dependant on the first switch being on then the next switch being on etc..... If you wanted to turn all the lights off you would have to go to each switch or the first switch to do that. If you go to the first switch then when you want to turn the lights back on they all will come on then you have to go to each switch at random to get the lights you want on or off. I think you likely do not want this.

If you do then I think electures suggestion would be best

electures 02-12-2013 02:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hammerlane (Post 1115527)
Had this diagram saved. Switch #1 supplies power to switches 2 and 3. Switches 2 and 3 then control their respective lites.

That is one way of doing it and there is nothing wrong with it. It's up to the op how he wants it done.

hammerlane 02-12-2013 03:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electures (Post 1115892)
That is one way of doing it and there is nothing wrong with it. It's up to the op how he wants it done.

Yeah not the ideal way but functional. Ideal way would be 3-way switches.

cube17576 02-12-2013 03:27 PM

Assuming the power comes to the original switch first and then continues to all the light, I would take out that original switch, wirenut the hots and neutrals, and the put a blank cover over the box. Now all the lights are always hot. You could then add a switch loop at each light.

TarheelTerp 02-12-2013 03:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cube17576 (Post 1115955)
Assuming the power comes to the original switch first...

You can't assume that because houses weren't built that way.

Plain vanilla lighting in an unfinished basement:
Power is run from the panel to the metal j-box and from there around the room to the other boxes and (keyless) fixtures with their pull string.
The j-box nearest the panel gets the door bell transformer mounted on it.

Most builders will stop at that point (in unfinished basements).
Sometimes... they'll add a switch leg over to the stairwell.

The OP has to do some investigating to determine what has happened in HIS basement since it was first built... and then determine the best way to go about intercepting/changing that (or to just start over altogether).


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