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Old 07-28-2012, 03:08 PM   #1
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basement wiring


Hi,
I am finishing my basement and would like to ask an advise on the proper/better way of connecting all my light zones together. I've attached my light diagramm with details.
I am planning to have 5 light zones:
zone 1: recessed lights, 75W max each, 6 total. 4-way wiring
zone 2: recessed lights, 75W max each, 3 total. 4-way wiring
zone 3: recessed lights, 75W max each, 4 total. single switch
zone 4: (unfinished space, mechanical room) 3 lights, 100W max each, single switch)
zone 5: recessed lights, 75W max each, 4 total. single switch

I would like to feed all of the zones above from one 20-Amp single pole circuit breaker.

I understand how to wire each individual zone (single switch or 4-way switch), but I don't have expertise on how to run feed from one zone to another? Should I just have one big junction box (near electrical panel) and run individual feeds for each zone? or should I pigtail feed from one zone to another? If later - what should be the better path?

I am a software engineer with some DIY experience, and would greatly appreciate advice from this group.

BTW - I am planning to run all my electrical outlets from another circuit breaker (20-Amp)

Thanks for your time,
Vit.
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basement wiring-basement_wiring_2.jpg  


Last edited by vitma; 07-28-2012 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 07-28-2012, 07:35 PM   #2
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first, if you wanna run the lights from a 20amp breaker be sure to use 20amp rated switches, wire, and such.
you may consider using 15amp breaker instead. this is 'the norm' for lights.

you have a few options. one might be to use two breakers and devide the zones between two circuits rather than one.
say, zones #1 and #2 on one circuit, and zones #3, #4, #5 on another circuit.

connecting between switches:
four way switches are rather simple. run your feeder from the panel to the most convenient switch box.
now twist together the black Hot with two pigtails. (one for each switch in that box)
Remember, only one wire is to be connected to a single screw.
now these switches have power. connect the travellers from each 3-way to their respective 4-ways in the middle of this 4-way set up.
next run the next set of travellers from the 2nd set of 4-way switches to the final pair of 3-ways.
From this 3rd box, run wires to their respective set of lights for each zone.

typically to supply continuous Hot to all switches, just pigtail off the first switch box to the next, to the next, etc.

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Old 07-28-2012, 08:08 PM   #3
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Thanks MisterZ for reply. I was planning to use #12 wire, but didn't plan to use 20amp rated switches. Added those to my shopping list now.

As for separate circuits - I only have room for 6 breakers in my electrical panel and I was planning to use them as following:
1 - 20 amp for all lights (zones 1-5)
1 - 20 amp for all outlets (zones 1-4)
1 - 20 amp for bathroom wiring (CGFI outlets + feed for SANIFLO pump + bathroom lights + ceiling fan/heater)
2 - 30 amp double-pole Circuit Breaker for electric dryer
1 - 20 amp for all outlets + washer in laundry room (bottom left in my plan) + SANIFLO grey water pump

If I would separate my zones as one per each "area" - I will run out of space in electrical panel (as per my plan above - please let me know if my logic is incorrect, last thing I want to do is to burn down the house).
If there are no specific "rules" in how to run feeder - I will just pigtail from one switch to next.
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Old 07-28-2012, 09:51 PM   #4
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Each four way switch setup has three switches, let's call them first, second, and third. You can choose which switch is "first".

Run the power cable to the first switch. You may have the first switches for more than one light zone in the same box. You might also have the first switch for one light zone sharing the same box as the second or third switch for another light zone.

Continue (daisy chain) the power feed to additional switch boxes if the first switches of other light zones are there.

Now do one zone at a time. Run a 3 wire cable from the first switch to the second switch. Run a 3 wire cable from the second switch to the third switch. Label each cable so you can match up the cables for each first-second-third switch sequence. Connect the white wires together for just that light zone.

(No three-wire cable is needed for the single (non-4-way) switched zones.)

Again, doing one zone at a time, run a 2 wire cable from the last switch (the third, or for single switches, the first) to the first light in that zone. Continue (daisy chaining) to the rest of the lights in that zone in turn.

Connect the white wires for each cable pair for each light zone together. For more than one second or third switch in the same box you will have multiple wire nuts each with two white wires in it as opposed to one wire nut for all the white wires. For the first switch connect the white wire of its 3 wire cable to the power feed cable white wire. Here you may have bundles of more than 2 white wires.

But for the bare ground wires, connect all of them together in each box. You will also need short lengths (pigtails) of bare wire to connect the frame (yoke) of each switch to a ground wire wire nut bundle. You may also need to make more than one bundle of ground wires since a wire nut should have no more than five wires in it. Use additional pigtails to join the bundles of bare wires to each other if more than one.

At this point you need to stop and have rough inspection done. Connecting up the switches and light fixtures themselves is done after rough inspection.

Connect the red and black wires of the 3 wire cables to the traveler terminals of the 3 way and 4 way switches. Only the second switch is a 4 way switch, connect one cable's black and red to the two dark terminals and the other cable's black and red to the two light terminals.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 07-28-2012 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 07-28-2012, 10:31 PM   #5
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Vitma, from what i see your specs look ok.
There shouldnt be a problem having all lights on one circuit, and up to eight recepticles on another circuit.
For the 30amp 240 run, you'll need to use #10 or better as you probably know
Check with local code inspector for any requirements about running cable thru studs.
You may choose to install nail plates to prevent screws from penetrating wire insulation.

Lets see if we can get a few licensed experts to weigh in here
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Old 07-28-2012, 10:46 PM   #6
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20 amp switches are not required, just use 15 amp switches.
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Old 07-28-2012, 10:51 PM   #7
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Check the specs on the fan heater.
They some time require a dedicated circuit.
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Old 07-28-2012, 11:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbfan View Post
20 amp switches are not required, just use 15 amp switches.
this is the first thing i said in post #2
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Old 07-28-2012, 11:10 PM   #9
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first, if you wanna run the lights from a 20amp breaker be sure to use 20amp rated switches, wire, and such.
you may consider using 15amp breaker instead. this is 'the norm' for lights


I understood you to say that if you use a 20 amp circuit, then you needed 20 amp rated switches, which is not true.
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Old 07-28-2012, 11:21 PM   #10
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stupid question probably but are you in the u.s canada or overseas.
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Old 07-29-2012, 06:54 AM   #11
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Thanks everyone for detailed replies how to wire my light zones.

@andrew79: my house is in Massachusetts

@AllanJ: do I need to mark feeder wires in each box somehow (in case someone else need to do electrical work in the basement)? Also - is there any "unofficial" rules on how to run wires to each switch box (for example - feeder wire should always come through top left hole, etc).

@MisterZ: I already ran #10 for dryer connection

@jbfan: I am planning to use Panasonic FV-11VH2 for bathroom. Manual states that "the heater for this unit is a 1400 W sheathed heater" and that "Use only on 20 ampere branch circuit". It also says that "for heater, AWG 14 or more must be used when wiring". I couldn't find any requirements for dedicated circuit. I was really hoping to be able to wire whole bathroom (lights, 2 CGFI outlets, fan/heater) from single 20amp circuit.
(instructions manual for my fan/heater is here: http://host0158.csmhosting.com/Docum...I-5505-112.pdf)


After comments from jbfan and MisterZ I am a bit confused on switch requirements. For USA location - do I need 15 or 20 amp switches for my case?

Also - I thought I read somewhere that there are no limits on how many outlets I can install in each circuit. Since I will be using only few of them at any given time - I thought of going beyond "6 feet rule" and actually placed 23 outlets (total count from zones 1-4) that I was planning to connect to 20 amp circuit, just to give myself more flexibility when I will do furniture layout. Is it permitted in my location (Massachusetts)?
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:21 AM   #12
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15amp switches are all you need, you base them on the load they are controlling, not the circuit size you run.
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:22 AM   #13
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at 1400w that heater is a big draw, add the lights and plug in a hair dryer and the saniflow(2a or so) and it's going to pop the breaker
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Last edited by andrew79; 07-29-2012 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:26 AM   #14
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Put it in perspective...that heater draws more than most microwaves. Also, all new circuits in the basement will have to be AFCI protected and tamper proof receptacles must be installed.
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Old 07-29-2012, 10:14 AM   #15
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@stickboy1375: thanks for confirmation, I will be using 15-amp switches. What about power outlets? Can they be 15-amp as well? or I need 20-amp rated?

@andrew79 and @k_buz: thanks, so I have to run separate 20-amp circuit to the heating part of the fan/heater combination. I have to re-think this option, may be will use just ceiling fan (without heater), as I am limited in available slots in electrical panel

@k_buz: thanks for noting AFCI breakers and tamper proof receptacles, I wasn't aware of this requirement. Is AFCI breaker also needed for dryer? I searched homedepot site and could not find any AFCI 30 amp double-pole Circuit Breakers.


Could someone please confirm that only 8 outlets are allowed for single 20-amp circuit? I already rough wired 23 outlets (assuming that I can feed all of them off single feed)

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