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Old 02-19-2008, 05:11 PM   #1
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Adding lights - Question


In my basement I am adding some can lights. Each will have a 65 watt bulb with a dimmer. I tested all my electric at my breaker and found a 20 switch that only controls one outlet in my basement that is not being used. Nothing else in the entire house goes out when this is off.

Can I cut into this and add 13 can lights with 14-2 wiring with a dimmer switch rated at 1000 watts to control them? Is the 20 amp too much? I understand that 20s are more for outlets, but is this ok? Anything else I need to do?

If I can do it, does it make more sense to bring it all to a 1000watt dimmer or split the difference between two 600 watt dimmers?

Thanks for any information.


Last edited by HuskySkull; 02-19-2008 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 02-19-2008, 05:12 PM   #2
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Adding lights - Question


Also for the cans I was going to daisy chain them for the most part. Is this ok? I will have a couple junctions but for the most part they will be can to can to can, etc.

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Old 02-19-2008, 05:37 PM   #3
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Adding lights - Question


A few points regarding your project-

From your last post to the beginning... Daisy chaining is fine, that is what is done in most circuits (grd to grd, wht to wht, blk to blk). Regarding the breaker, are you saying you have an available 20a breaker to use? This should not be used with 14 gauge wiring. The breaker is to protect the wiring from overheating and fire. 20 amp breakers protect 12 gauge wire, 15 amp covers 14 gauge. If using 14g you should change the breaker to 15amp. or wire using 12g. Regarding the 65 watts, is this what you intend to use or what max the can's support? You must use that max. rating for calculating even if you plan to use lower watt bulbs. 13 bulbs at 65 watts = 845 which leaves you some space for a 1000w dimmer, using two 600's is a matter of preference although you will need to wire differently- just be sure each dimmer can cover the amount of watts it is expected to dim.
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Last edited by handyman78; 02-19-2008 at 05:54 PM. Reason: clarified daisy chaining
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Old 02-19-2008, 05:59 PM   #4
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Thank you for your reply.

I just checked and the cans do have a max of 75watts. Which is ok because I just got the lighting down to 12 total cans rather than 13. This leaves me at 900 watts. So the 1000 watt dimmer should work great.

But basically you are saying my plan is fine but if I use the current 20a I should change my wiring to 12g. Otherwise change the 20a to a 15a?

Thanks again I highly appreciate it!

Last edited by HuskySkull; 02-19-2008 at 06:01 PM.
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Old 02-19-2008, 06:47 PM   #5
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Adding lights - Question


Use 12 ga wire


And.....SPLIT those puppies up.

Dimmers get HOT!! Even though they are rated 1000 watts you shouldn't go there. 600 w dimmers are much less expensive also.


Our #1 customer complaint on residential work is hot dimmers.


Or use an old school dimmer with the cooling fins like this gem I found in my warehouse. New in the box!!




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Old 02-19-2008, 07:04 PM   #6
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Ok my current plan is this.

I am running 12-2 wire from circuit breaker to a junction box. In the junction box it splits off into two 12-2 wires. One feeds one 600w dimmer switch, and another feeds a second 600w dimmer switch.

From there each dimmer feeds 6 cans in a daisy chain.

Good? Should I get started.
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Old 02-19-2008, 07:11 PM   #7
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Adding lights - Question


Quote:
Originally Posted by HuskySkull View Post
Ok my current plan is this.

I am running 12-2 wire from circuit breaker to a junction box. In the junction box it splits off into two 12-2 wires. One feeds one 600w dimmer switch, and another feeds a second 600w dimmer switch.

From there each dimmer feeds 6 cans in a daisy chain.

Good? Should I get started.
Your not done yet?
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Old 02-19-2008, 07:12 PM   #8
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Adding lights - Question


Quote:
Originally Posted by HuskySkull View Post
Ok my current plan is this.

I am running 12-2 wire from circuit breaker to a junction box. In the junction box it splits off into two 12-2 wires. One feeds one 600w dimmer switch, and another feeds a second 600w dimmer switch.

From there each dimmer feeds 6 cans in a daisy chain.

Good? Should I get started.
Get to to it man! Just don't put that junction box above your sheetrock or any place you can't access it when the job is done.

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Old 02-19-2008, 07:20 PM   #9
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Adding lights - Question


One final question. Do I need to use 12g throughout? Or only up to the dimmer? Since the dimmer is only kicking out limited amount.

Like this diagram I made:


Is that wrong? Does it need to be 12g everywhere even after the dimmer? Thanks again!
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Old 02-19-2008, 07:26 PM   #10
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Adding lights - Question


Do the whole thing in 14awg but change out the breaker to a 15amp...
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Old 02-19-2008, 07:28 PM   #11
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That would make more sense wouldn't it. Would save cash on the wire too. I don't know if I'm scared to replaced the breaker though.
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Old 02-19-2008, 08:00 PM   #12
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Adding lights - Question


You must have either:

(1) A 15 amp. breaker, or

(2) 12 gauge wire in the entire circuit including after the dimmers. (The thin stranded wires that came with the fixtures and that go to the lamp sockets stay as-is)
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Old 02-19-2008, 08:02 PM   #13
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Thank you for clarifying the above Allan. It is appreciated.
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Old 02-19-2008, 08:19 PM   #14
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Adding lights - Question


I personally would not waste my money using # 12, especially for no benefit, plus you will hate making all those splices in the cans with #12
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Old 02-19-2008, 08:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HuskySkull View Post
That would make more sense wouldn't it. Would save cash on the wire too. I don't know if I'm scared to replaced the breaker though.
Don't worry, you can do it!

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