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Old 02-11-2008, 12:47 AM   #1
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"Extending" wires to move switches

Hello all and thanks for viewing my post. This one is a fairly simple question, but is proving to be impossible to ask without having the person standing right next to me to see it. I've made some quick dwg sketches to aid, but grab a fresh beer before waging this one, it's a hefty read. Thank you in advance for your time.

As shown below, I currently have a two gang box, with 4 "cables" entering, 2 hot and 2 signal cables for the dining room and kitchen lights respectively. Due to some recent remodeling, I need to "extend" those 4 cables to relocated switches, which will now be two separate single gangs. The old switch box would now be nothing but a junction box. Also, really with no effect on this question, I'm adding a new leg for a light over my sink.

The question: Do I really need to run two cables to each new switch?? Looking at the sketch, you can see that the nuts would have 9 wires running to each of the common and ground nuts...wow! It seems redundant to have them terminated together in the j-box, then again at the switch box. I'm wondering if it's legit to do something like sketch 3, where only one cable runs to the switch box, with one wire to carry the hot and one to carry the signal. I'd guess no, because then you donít have to ground capability, right?

Any advice would be helpful, Iíve done the wiring and need to schedule my inspection this week, but Iím not sure if cramming 9 wires into a single nut is legit by WA code.

Thanks again,

Attached Files
File Type: zip Wiring sketch.ZIP (6.7 KB, 42 views)

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Old 02-11-2008, 03:10 AM   #2
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"Extending" wires to move switches

hey, not everyone has winzip, can you attach the images?

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Old 02-11-2008, 09:30 AM   #3
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"Extending" wires to move switches

Your old setup has power coming into the original switch box and switched power continuing to the fixture box. When you convert this switch box to a junction box, then just one 14-2 cable leaves the j-box to go to the new switch location only. I.e. a neutral does not follow the hot just to a switch and coming back. Use the white wire for constant power (hot feed) to the switch and the black wire for switched power coming back. Mark such a non-neutral white with black or red tape or stain at both ends. For those of you eavesdropping who are relocating two switches to the same place, use 14-3 cable with one unswitched power going over as white and two switched powers coming back as red and black.

Now if unswitched or switched power is continuing elsewhere (such as your new sink light) from the new switch, then the neutral must follow. Commonly a 14-3 cable is used from the j-box when switched power must come back to the j-box and also power (switched or unswiteched) goes beyond.

All grounds are tied together (bonded; wire nutted) wherever they come together. But you can take three grounds and a pigtail, wire nut these togethere, and run the pigtail to another wire nut with more grounds, etc. One trick I did (for grounds, not neutrals) was have one of the cables coming in having a really long bare ground wire protruding and put several wire nuts with holes in the small end (they make 'em in green) down this wire, each holding on two or three other ground wires.

When separate power feeds come to a multi gang switch box to feed their respective lights, the feed cable neutrals are tied only to their respective light neutrals and not to each other. So I don't think you will have a wire nut problem with the neutrals.

Check your city's code to see whether low voltage signal or audio wires can still come into the same j-box as power wires. You may have to put these in a separate j-box above the existing switch box.

Last edited by AllanJ; 02-11-2008 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 02-11-2008, 11:03 AM   #4
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"Extending" wires to move switches

Here's the files as jpg's.

Allan - I'm pretty sure what your response says is what I've depicted as "Option 2??" right...just run a single cable to the switch, with one wire for hot and one for switched power. This is much cleaner and makes more sense than what I had initially done.

Can I use the current 14-3 wiring and just clip off the ground run?
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"Extending" wires to move switches-wiring-1.jpg   "Extending" wires to move switches-wiring-2.jpg  
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Old 02-11-2008, 05:38 PM   #5
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"Extending" wires to move switches

Never clip off a ground run.

If any of your cables have a red wire or other wire you don't need, tape over the end,curl it up, and carefully put it back into the box.

At each new switch, you will need to hook up the bare ground wire to the switch itself, and a green screw may be provided for that purpose.Otherwise wedge the wire end between where the switch screws onto the box. Metal boxes also need a direct ground wire connection which might mean you need to use a wire nut and extra lengths of bare wire at the new switch boxes.

In your diagram 2, run the red lines (white wires) from the switches down below up to the third wire nut (hot). Run the blacks from the new switches at lower left and center up to the fourth and fifth wire nuts respectively for the existing lights.

From your diagram I now conclude that one of your two "hots" at the top left is a continuation to other switches and outlets as opposed to an incoming hot. So just one hot feed actually enteres the box. And so your hooking up all the neutrals together is correct and needed. I think there are wire nuts that will hold the five neutrals you have coming together (first wire nut).

Last edited by AllanJ; 02-11-2008 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 02-11-2008, 11:45 PM   #6
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"Extending" wires to move switches

I will use the Option 2 because it will take less wire to fill in the exsting box and make sure you dont " bury " the exsting box and is the exsting box is two gang type ?

If so there is a two gang blank cover for it.

as what Allen describing just make sure if you used the 14-3 for one of the switch box if you are not useing the white wire it will be good idea to just fold it back [ dont cut it off you may need it someday later ]

as far for ground wire tie all the ground wire together [ dont ever cut off any ground wire off for safety sake ]

you will end up buying larger wire nuts ether grey or bleu depending on the #'s of connection the red wire nut [ most common one ] will take up to 5 #14's but anymore than that bump up one size larger.

i did not catch what state you are from but if you are on 08 code cycle it will get more stricter so becarefull what you will plan to do with it but the way i look at it you should be fine [ based on 05 code and before ]

Merci, Marc

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