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Bull-37 01-09-2008 08:23 PM

Adding a Switch and jump power
I am working on my home theater in the basement, My question is this, I have a light switch already wired to some sconce lighting, I would like to add a dimmer switch next to this switch for rope lighting, Can I jump power from the existing switch to the dimmer switch?, The wiring on the existing switch has a black wire on the bottom terminal and a black wire on the top terminal with two white wires wire nutted together, Can I jump power from this switch to the dimmer and if so please explain the procedure, This dimmer will go to an outlet where the rope lighting will be plugged in, Thanks in advance, Happy New Year..........................Dan

AllanJ 01-09-2008 10:57 PM

I say yes.

The two white wires wire nutted just to each other tells me that the power feed enters that switch box.

You will need a voltmeter (or multimeter) to figure out which black wire is the feed.

Run the new 2 conductor wire for the rope lights into the box. Wire nut all three white wires together. Connect the new cable black wire to the new dimmer.

After you identify which black wire is the hot wire, remove it from the switch and wire nut it to two short (6 inch) pieces of black wire. Connect one free end to the switch and the other free end to the new dimmer.

Bull-37 01-10-2008 05:11 AM

Thanks Allen,
Just so I'm understanding you correctly, Your basically saying to supply my power to my dimmer, I can pigtail my feed from the existing switch to power both switches, It sounds easy when you hear how to do it, Thank You...........................................Dan

jbfan 01-10-2008 06:29 AM

You can not use a dimmer on a receptacle.

Piedmont 01-10-2008 09:38 AM

Are you sure you can't use a dimmer on a receptacle? My house, has no ceiling lights rather all the light switches control a receptacle. I have to plug lamps in them to get light. I replaced the switches with dimmers.

I understand why it's not a good idea, my wife on occasion has unplugged the lamp and plugged in the vacuum cleaner which doesn't jive with the dimmers, she figures out what she did and uses an outlet not attached to a dimmer. I know why it's not a good idea and don't recommend it if at all possible but want to make sure that it is actually allowed.

AllanJ 01-10-2008 09:51 AM

After reading several threads about installing chandeliers, I'm not sure about hard wiring any lighting device including rope lights into an outlet box by cutting off the plug and using a cover plate with one 3/8 inch hole instead of two receptacle sized holes. But I would try to do that anyway. Supposedly a different kind of wire must be used, but that would mean having pigtails coming out of the wall and an external junction box to join with the wiring already in the rope light.

I also mounted some switched outlet boxes at eye level which I might equip with receptacles and/or dimmer control, in a room that may someday have decorative lighting. The usual knee level receptacles are not under dimmer control.

heavyduty 01-10-2008 01:49 PM

I agree with jbfan you cannot legally put a receptical on a dimmer, as far as cutting off the plug to hard wire rope lites, by doing that you void the U.L. listing of the product which may be an issue down the road if there was ever a fire.

Bull-37 01-10-2008 04:02 PM

Thanks to all who responded, I understand now and see why that a dimmer controlling a receptacle is not a good idea, what about just using a switch to an outlet.

Piedmont 01-10-2008 04:35 PM

Darn, forced me to look up the code. Like Jbfan says dimmers aren't allowed on receptacles so, my house ain't right. Here's the code:

NEC 404.14 (E) Dimmer Switches. General-use dimmer switches shall be used only to control permanently installed incandescent luminaires (lighting fixtures) unless listed for the control of other loads and installed accordingly.

The other loads are things like a kitchen fan that plugs into an outlet where, the dimmer and fan come as a kit and in its specifications the dimmer specifically made to control the outlet the fan plugs into. Otherwise, they must control permanently installed luminaires which any light that plugs into an outlet is not. And, yes you can use a regular switch to control an outlet, I believe if it's a 20A circuit you'd need a 20A switch. They make such things as cord dimmers, specifically made to go between the cord and the receptacle that lets you dim a lamp but, everyone I seen is for incandescent lights only.

Bull-37 01-10-2008 05:45 PM

Thanks again, Great response, I will certainly wire the switch to a receptacle, then plug the rope lighting in the receptacle. Thanks ....Dan

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