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Old 04-04-2013, 01:18 PM   #1
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Installing sconces


Hello. If I want to install wall sconces in a new location (no previous fixture), do I wire them directly to the light switch that I want to control them with?

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Old 04-04-2013, 01:24 PM   #2
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Sure.
Is this a new light switch you are going to install or one that is existing? If it is existing then you might not be able to do it. The switches might not have a neutral for the new fixtures.

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Old 04-04-2013, 01:34 PM   #3
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It is an existing switch and the house is old, built in 1940. What type of wiring to the switch should I look for to see if it can be done? I'm very new to DIY projects so I might end up just getting plug ins.

Thanks for your reply by the way!
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:55 PM   #4
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Another question, can I just install a new switch with a neutral? (I don't know what that is actually). Or does that require extra wiring?
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:58 PM   #5
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Installing sconces


A very common way of wiring switched lighting fixtures was to send power to the lighting fixture first. Then a 2 conductor cable (probably no ground if 1940) was run to the switch. The 2 conductors that went to the switch complete the circuit to the light when turned on. The hot conductor at the lighting fixture was interrupted and the switch completes the circuit.

So the hot goes to the switch, and when the switch is closed, the other conductor returns the hot to the fixture.

This means that both of the wires connected to the switch are hot conductors, and there is no neutral conductor in the switch box.

http://www.handymanclub.com/Portals/...witch-loop.jpg
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:32 PM   #6
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Installing sconces


1940 is likely knob and tube. You might as well plan now to wire all the way back to the panel with a new circuit. There will be no ground present and it is not permitted to extend an ungrounded circuit. Of course if the wiring has been updated then none of that applies.
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:23 PM   #7
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Thanks for the comments! I am still trying to understand some of your points, they were a little Greek to me. Haha. Anyway, I should also mention that the switch that I was hoping to wire the sconce to only controls a nearby outlet. Not sure if this makes any difference. I have to say that based on what I am reading (or trying to read), I think I might just buy a plug-in. =(
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:35 AM   #8
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Installing sconces


If you turn the power off and open the switch we can give some better info. Tell us how many cable and how the wires are connected. No need to disconnect anything.
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:52 AM   #9
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There are 3 wires connected to the switch. And man, it really looks like its from 1940!
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy511
There are 3 wires connected to the switch. And man, it really looks like its from 1940!
Oh, 1 wire on the top/right screw, 1 on each of the bottom screws.
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:58 AM   #11
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It looks like the wires are wrapped in some type of fabric insulation? Like I said, I'm new to electrical DIY so I've never seen the back of an old switch like this. It honestly makes me not want to mess with it! Also, the fuse that controls this switch is labeled "kitchen," the switch is in the living room! Haha
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Old 04-05-2013, 02:35 PM   #12
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Sounds like a three way switch. Is there another switch that also operates the same receptacle? It doesn't really matter. There is no neutral in that box anyway, so you can not tap in there.
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:09 PM   #13
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Yes, there are two switches that operate one receptacle. Oh well, plug-in it is....

Thanks for the input!

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