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Old 08-31-2010, 01:24 PM   #1
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issue with replacing bathroom lights. Need advice


So I have gutted my basement bathroom, and I have installed some can lights. There was previously a light fixture with 2 seperate bulb outlets in it, pretty old. I just took the wiring from each of the old and fed them to my can lights. Now when I turned the breaker back on, one of those lights has non stop electricity, and doesnt even need the light switch, and the other light doesnt work at all. These were both feeding into the same light outlet before. What am I missing?? Any thoughts would be great.

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Old 08-31-2010, 02:00 PM   #2
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issue with replacing bathroom lights. Need advice


Is it possible that your old fixture had an outlet on it? Perhaps there were two sets of wires into your old box...one unswitched for the outlet and one switched for the light? This may take a bit of additional information (wires in switch box? description of wires into old ceiling box? how was the old fixture hooked up? how many can lights do you now have and how are they hooked up?) to solve more positively.

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Old 08-31-2010, 05:23 PM   #3
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issue with replacing bathroom lights. Need advice


Most new recessed lights have a requirement to only be used with 90 degree rated insulation. If your wiring is not NM-B or newer THHN in conduit you should rewire.
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Old 08-31-2010, 08:53 PM   #4
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issue with replacing bathroom lights. Need advice


Thanks for all the feedback. So I am trying like crazy not to tear down all of my drywall all the way to my breaker box, so this is what i have discovered. From my breaker box it would appear that I have to seperate cables running to my bathroom. One goes right to my electrical outlet, and the other just runs into the bathroom ceiling space. (please keep in mind this is after I un attentively tore out the old light without paying attention to how it was wired). Then, I have a light switch in the bathroom, wich has a single cable feeding up into the ceiling space. Now obviously the cable from the light switch that feeds to the ceiling has no power what so ever its strictly light switch with a cable going to ceiling. How did they get the power to feed through the light switch? I am entirely lost here. So if this is a common practice please let me in on the secret. Thanks
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Old 09-01-2010, 06:18 AM   #5
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issue with replacing bathroom lights. Need advice


How many cables do you have at your ceiling box, not counting any that you added for the can lights? Do you know from where they come?
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Old 09-01-2010, 07:15 PM   #6
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issue with replacing bathroom lights. Need advice


I have 2 cables coming there, I had assumed each had power being directed from my light switch. When I took it all down and wired them both into seperate can lights, I turned my breaker back on. I found one cable had no power at all (tracked it and realized it was simply coming up from the light switch), and another cable having uninterrupted power. Somehow with the previous light fixture, these same exact two cable gave power controlled by the light switch. I was foolish enough to just tear it all down without paying attention to however they had these two cables wired. Now i'm trying to recreate this, with no success.
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Old 09-01-2010, 08:28 PM   #7
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issue with replacing bathroom lights. Need advice


How many conductors you have at the light switch due I have a feeling if the case you may hit the switch loop by mistake.

If the case you have switch loop which it will have only two conductors and just a single cable going in the switch box you should have white conductor to be remarked to black or other colours { not green or white or grey they are off limit colours on it and this is only allowed with cable but not in conduit ( pipe ) that need to be restring to correct colour.}

Merci.
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Old 09-01-2010, 08:28 PM   #8
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issue with replacing bathroom lights. Need advice


Two cables into the ceiling box. OK.

One of the two cables at the ceiling box runs to the switch. Are there no other cables at the switch? If not, then I think it possible that the cable between the ceiling box was a switch loop.

My theory: The first wire into the ceiling box is power supply (black and white, I assume). Black is hot. White is neutral. Connect black supply to black wire going to the switch. White wire coming from the switch is now switched power (and should be remarked with black tape or paint since it is not hot). This wire should be attached to light fixture black wire. White wire from fixture should be attached to white wire of supply. All grounds should be tied together.

If this sounds like what you have, and you can confirm my assumptions correct, then you should be good. Hopefully, we can get confirmation from those much smarter than I.

Good luck.

Last edited by oberkc; 09-02-2010 at 08:32 AM.
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Old 09-02-2010, 08:13 AM   #9
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issue with replacing bathroom lights. Need advice


Your need to connect the white of the switch loop to the incoming power. The white needs to feed the switch. The black from that cable will be the switched hot that connects to the fixture black.

You are correct that the white will need to be re-identified as a hot conductor.
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Old 09-02-2010, 08:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
The white needs to feed the switch. The black from that cable will be the switched hot that connects to the fixture black.
For my own edification, is there some code that requires this? Functionally, I see no difference. If white is re-identified as black, I am curious as to why it would make any difference.
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Old 09-02-2010, 09:47 AM   #11
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issue with replacing bathroom lights. Need advice


The NEC is Article 200.7.(2) Where a cable assembly contains an insulated conductor
for single-pole, 3-way or 4-way switch loops and
the conductor with white or gray insulation or a marking
of three continuous white stripes is used for the
supply to the switch but not as a return conductor from
the switch to the switched outlet. In these applications,
the conductor with white or gray insulation or with
three continuous white stripes shall be permanently reidenti
fied
to indicate its use by painting or other effective
means at its terminations and at each location

where the conductor is visible and accessible.

This is so you do not end up with two whites at the fixture.
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Old 09-02-2010, 11:48 AM   #12
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issue with replacing bathroom lights. Need advice


Interesting and thank you. I had to read that one a couple of times. Is the first series of words "Where a cable assembly...." even a complete sentence!? I would sure hate to diagram that one. Subject? Verb? I guess that is why I became an engineer.

Absent expert guidance, I would have interpreted:

"if you use a white or gray or white-striped wire as a supply to a switch, be sure to mark it black."
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Old 09-02-2010, 11:53 AM   #13
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issue with replacing bathroom lights. Need advice


This part of code ( Art 200.7.(2) ) about remarking the white conductor it been written in for petty long time { last 15 to 20 years IIRC } but recentlly it get little more stricter now.

So it become a standard pratice for us to do that.

Merci.
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Old 09-02-2010, 12:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
This is so you do not end up with two whites at the fixture.
The implication being that a white wire that is remarked black is not as black as a black wire.

By the same token, using the white as a feed to the switch, you now have a white wire connected to a black which normally would cause a short to ground. In both cases you have whites and blacks connected together....I guess this must have been viewed as the lesser of two evils.
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Old 09-02-2010, 02:56 PM   #15
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issue with replacing bathroom lights. Need advice


That Article only applies to cable assemblies like NM or tpye MC cables. If individual conductors are used they must be the correct colors if smaller than #4s.

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