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schnitz411 10-17-2009 12:16 PM

Closet question: options and wiring diagram?
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Hi all:
Hoping for some guidance on putting in lighting in my bedroom reach-in clothes closet...its 24 inches deep and about 7 feet long.

I've done some basic electrical before so am comfortable with it but don't know the right wiring for this job.

The top of the door jamb has about a 7 inch clearance to the closest shelf from the surface of the jamb that faces in.

Above the jamb I get another 7 or 8 inches of depth because the framing is pretty thick, so if I put a light up there it would be a good 14"+ of clerance, but if I put it up there its basically not going to light anything up because it would be blocked by the jamb.

The jamb is also deep enough (7") that I could put a light hanging inside the doors on the "ceiling" and totally clear the doors. see pic

(If the layout is confusing the closet was made deeper and the new opening is basically an arch that is 7" deep of lumber and then you go up again to the actual ceiling)

Mounting on the REAL ceiling is not an option as I am in a condo with cement ceilings.

I also have an outlet just outside the closet that I think I can run the power from pretty easily and install a switch above it to control the new light (not the existing outlet). The outlet currently is HALF controlled by a different switch and HALF always hot. It has six snap in terminals on the back:
Top row: Red Red White
Bottom row: Black Black White

The box is an 1 1/2" deep, 3 1/2" tall and and 2 1/2" wide...pretty tight.


1) What are my code-compliant options that will actually create decent light in this setup? Can I use a long fluorescent or LED tube and mount it on the underside the jamb the same way you would put something on the ceiling of a closet? (see picture).

2) How do I tap the existing outlet box (and am I going to need to replace the box with something larger) and run it to the switch? There is no way there is room for more cables in there. I think I need to take the wires running into the always hot socket (either the Red/Red/White row or the Black/Black/White row and wirenut them so they go to their current spots on existing outlet and also run out to the new switch, but is this a 2+ground run or do I need all 3 from one of the sets?

3) What's the wiring scheme for the receptacle and new switch. Hot/neutral/ground from switch to receptacle in a 2+ground cable?

thanks for all the great advice here.

gregzoll 10-17-2009 12:32 PM

If you get enough light in the closet with the room light on, at that depth, you should not need it. Otherwise, If you cannot wire anything up properly, just get a battery operated LED light to stick in the closet and be done with it.

schnitz411 10-17-2009 12:36 PM

Due to the cement ceiling issue there is already a lack of lighting in the room (no one ever put in ANY ceiling or wall lights) that I need to deal with, but its never going to be great since I can't put anything in the ceilings and don't want sconces every 10 feet. It's so bad now you can't see what color anything is in there.

schnitz411 10-24-2009 08:31 AM

Bumping with hopes of some advice so i can dig in this weekend. Thanks

220/221 10-24-2009 11:37 AM

Terrrible pic BTW :laughing:

1. Determine power source. If you have questions, remove device and take a good pic.

2. Determine route from source to closet light switch and from switch to light.

3. Run 2 wire cable from source to switch to light jbox.

4. Blank to black, white to white at source. White to white and blacks to switch at switch box. Black/black. white/white at fixture.

You are going to have to determine the locations of the switch and light and the type of jboxes to use.

schnitz411 10-24-2009 11:42 AM

On the picture I was trying to show what I meant about my options for fixture placement...not very well.

I'm following now on the wiring but still unsure about my code-compliant options for placement/type of fixture.

Can I mount a long fluorescent or LED on the underside of the door jamb? What clearance is needed between the fixture and the door and the fixture and the shelf?


220/221 10-24-2009 11:45 AM

Use common sense. A fluorescent or LED fixture will not get hot so you can put it just about anywhere.

When I re read this, "use common sense" sounded condescending but I didn't mean it that way. :)

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