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Old 04-07-2009, 01:56 PM   #1
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Flood Lights


Hello,
I am trying to add flood lights to the back of my two story house. I want to put one in each corner of the house. I have never really done any electrical work except wire a TV behind my living room wall. So I kinda need step by step directions on how to wire it, can I piggy back off of electrical that is already in the attic? I want the switch on the wall downstairs, can I just run the wire from the second story attic to the downstairs exterior wall? I know there will be extra insulation in there making it more difficult, but I can do it.
Thanks in advance for any help!

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Old 04-07-2009, 03:28 PM   #2
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1. Your first challange will be to search the attic for an accessible 120 volt power source. A pull chain light fixture maybe?? An existing junction box???

You can tie into and existing cable but you have to know exactly where it comes from, goes to. You may also need to install two junction boxes if there isn't sufficient slack in the cable.

Also, an overhead light fixture in an upstairs room may have a hot (unswitched) circuit in it. Pull off a switch cover and look at the wiring. If a switch has only two wires (black and white) you can tap into that light fixture box to get your power.

2. Find a path between the power source and the switch location.

3. Run a 2 wire w/ground cable from the power source to the switch.

4. Run the same type of cable to each light or to one, then the other.

Wiring instructions to follow., depending on what you find for the power source.

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Old 04-07-2009, 05:49 PM   #3
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I agree with 220/221 (whatever it takes) that figuring out where the power will come from and how you will lay out the wiring if the first thing to do.

Running a wire from the attic of a two story house to a switch on the first floor could be another challenge. If I'm understanding what you want to do, you will have to drill a hole from the attic through the top of the wall on the second floor, then drill another hole at the bottom of the wall on the second floor into the top of the wall on the first floor. Easiest way is to cut a hole in the bottom of the wall on the second floor directly above the spot where you want the switch to be on the first floor. If the wall is sheet rock, that may not be a big deal.

If you have fiberglass inslustion, your drill bit will wind it up like cotton candy as soon as it hits it, so be careful.
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:44 PM   #4
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If you use motion detectors, each one probably should be on its own switch so that each light can be set to its proper operating mode.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 04-07-2009 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:46 PM   #5
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Would a motion activated light fixture work for what you are trying to do? I would look for a receptacle in an inside bedroom etc. that is on the second floor and fish off that receptacle for your exterior light fixture. Cut in an exterior box in the same stud bay as the interior receptacle and there is your power. If going upstairs to turn on the exterior floods isnt an issue then fish up the wall from the interior receptacle to a cut in switch then fromm there to the light.

Make sense?
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Old 04-08-2009, 09:00 AM   #6
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Ok, I know I have a non switched light fixture near to that side of the house that I can probably tie into. Now, I see that it probably won't be as easy as sticking my fish line through the attic to the first floor(I kinda forgot that they may want to put plywood or drywall between the floors...) So now I'm looking at putting the switch upstairs. It won't bother me too much, it will just be annoying for the next owners, but they won't know it until after they get in the house.

What I want to do is make that "non-switched light fixture" into a switched light fixture and have another switch on there for my flood light. Currently I am speaking about putting this in the master. My non-switched light fixture is my ceiling fan and I always have to get on the bed to turn it on, so I would rather just flick a switch. The switch that is in there currently controls an outlet. can I turn it into a triple switch that controls the flood light, the outlet, and the ceiling fan? I wouldn't mind taking the power of controlling the outlet away since that is more annoying than anything.

So I have the spots that I want to put the flood lights, I know where I want the switch. Now how do I do it? Do I cut off the power before it gets to the ceiling fan and then split it to the switches and back up into the attic to the flood lights and ceiling fan? What kind of wire do I need to buy? Any other materials? How do you connect the spliced wires? Are simple wire nuts acceptable in the attic?

I have done almost everything else to this house, its time for me to learn some electrical!

Thanks for all the replies so far and into the future, I don't know how I would get anything accomplished if it wasn't for this site.
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:32 PM   #7
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Man, you went from adding two flood lights to ceiling fan, receptacle,switching,triple,material, jumping on bed........

Narrow it down a wee bit to just the flood lights at this point and maybe we can help. You more than likely need some 14-2, retrofit boxes and at least a little bit of know how on electrical. So many variables, hard to say without seeing.

BTW, they have remotes that you can add to your ceiling fan so you dont have to add a switch if that helps.
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Old 04-10-2009, 04:38 PM   #8
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You can do these things all together but spefic instruction will require specic information from you.

1. Remove the switch and see what kind of box is there and how many wires/cables are in it.


2. Take down the ceiling fan canopy and see how many wires there are in the jbox.

3. How much working space do you have in the attic above the switch?

4. Are you lights going to be mounted on a gable end or under the eaves?
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Old 04-13-2009, 07:51 AM   #9
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I know...I just thought it would be easier to knock out both problems at once....I was out of town this past weekend so I haven't had a chance to look at it.

The electrical from the switch goes straight up into an open part of an attic where I have plenty of space. The only parts that I will have trouble working around is where I put the flood lights. It is a little cramped...everyother part is spacious and allows me to move freely.

I will plan on taking a look at the switch and the Ceiling fan in the next couple of days.

My flood lights will be under the eaves on each end of the house. So two floodlights total.
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Old 04-13-2009, 06:23 PM   #10
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Shopping last weekend at Sam's Club, I saw solar powered (to keep an internal battery charged) LED motion detector flood lights. Maybe an option, no electrical wiring needed.
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Old 04-13-2009, 06:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike in Arkansas View Post
Shopping last weekend at Sam's Club, I saw solar powered (to keep an internal battery charged) LED motion detector flood lights. Maybe an option, no electrical wiring needed.
What size was the solar panel?

Last edited by Yoyizit; 04-13-2009 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 04-13-2009, 06:44 PM   #12
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Getting cable to the lights should be the easy part. Drill a hole in the bird board (the blocking between the rafters) and push a 10' piece of fish tape in (from outside) with the cable taped to it. That way you won't have to crawl back into the tight space.


Stub plenty of wire out and sleeve it with non metallic flex and run it into a weatherproof jbox (probably round to accomodate your fixtures). Note: this is a technical violation unless you use UF cable as opposed to NM. Personally, I wouldn't hesitate for a second to do use NM.

There may be room in the existing hole in the top plate above the switch. Otherwise you will need to drill a new 3/4 to 1" hole.
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Old 04-17-2009, 09:48 AM   #13
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Ok, I finally did my research and looked around in my attic and made a trip to the depot. There is two lines going down to my one switch in my master. I'm assuming one is the "hot" wire and the other goes to the outlet in the wall. I didn't go as far as to take everything apart in the outlet to check since it was fairly obvious.

Since I have this "hot" can I simply run everything(ceiling fan, outlet, flood lights) off of that? So I will have three switches in my master.

My plan is to first drill the holes and install the flood lights with wires coming out into the attic. I bought the 12 dollar flood light kit from Home depot...I also bought 100 ft of NM cable(the cheaper stuff 19.99 vs. 38.99) The guy at home depot said the cheaper stuff was fine for what I would be doing.

Once everything is installed, I will have the two flood lights attached by the electrical wire and one of the floodlights will be ran to the switch. I was thinking where you have the lights connected to the wire, there would be one that would be the hub for the other so the last one on the line will only have the one wire from the first flood light and the first flood light would have two, one from the switch and the other one going to the next flood light. Is this the best way to do it? Or should I run a line from the switch to each separate flood light?

Now the Ceiling fan with the "hot" wire already attached. Can I simply cut the wire, run it down to the switch and just tape the end of the "hot" wire?

How about connections in an attic, do you simply use wire nuts? Do you tape it up with electrical tape when you are done? I'm asking just to make sure I'm not doing anything wrong where it might cause a fire.

220/221: what does "sleeve it with non metallic flex" mean? Is this inside the attic or outside? I tried looking for it at home depot, but couldn't find it...I didn't ask though.

Thanks for all the help with this project!
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Old 04-17-2009, 10:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike in Arkansas View Post
Shopping last weekend at Sam's Club, I saw solar powered (to keep an internal battery charged) LED motion detector flood lights. Maybe an option, no electrical wiring needed.

Mike-

In my experience, these are junk. I would not recommend them to anyone. Just one opinion, however.
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Old 04-17-2009, 12:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJimmy View Post
Just one opinion, however.
No, two. . .

In principle they should work, but when Reality comes a callin' they fall very short.

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