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Dittoz 09-02-2007 02:31 PM

Newbie needs some wiring help
Hey guys, first post here (don't be too harsh please :jester:). Here's the situation. Home theater room. I need to install an electrical outlet in the ceiling, about 2 feet beside a ceiling fan, and then I need 4 wall sconces on the wall. 2 on each wall.

Here's the wiring layout. In this room, 2 separate 15 amp breakers control everything. 1 circuit has the ceiling fan, ceiling fan light, and 4 electrical outlets on it. The other breaker has 4 outlets on it.

The best I can tell, both of the circuits end at an outlet.

Now here is what I'm going for. Since I need 2 wall sconces on each side, I was thinking I could just run new 14 gauge wire from the last outlet in each circuit to a switch and then to the 2 sconces. Would that be correct? The problem with this is I would have 2 switches controlling the 4 lights, when ideally I would only like to have 1. I guess I can live with that however.

Then the outlet in the ceiling. If I run new wiring from the ceiling fan to a new outlet, the switch that controls the ceiling fan would also control the outlet correct? How can I get around this?

Thanks in advance, and if you see anything thats clearly wrong in my thinking I would love to be corrected!

darren 09-02-2007 04:53 PM

Your thinking is correct. The sconces would work as you described but i agree that would be a pain to have two switches for that. You are correct about the ceiling fan as well, chances are your switch will control that outlet. Now if they brought power to the ceiling fan first then to the switch then you would have no problem. To check this you would have to remove the ceiling fan turn the switch off for the fan and see if any wires have power. Also if you see a black or red wire on a white wire in that ceiling box chances are you have a power there all the time.

Now before i give you to much advice what kind of ceiling do you have, is it drywall with no access from above, drywall with access, or is it a accoustic ceiling. Once we know this we will be able to help you out more.

Dittoz 09-02-2007 08:59 PM

Thanks for the reply. Its a regular drywall ceiling. Nothing special about it except its vaulted. I do have access from above, albeit a tight cramped crawl.

A second question. I purchased the sconces, and am in the process of cutting holes for the j-boxes. 3 of them go in just fine. The 4th I hit a stud dead center of the bottom of where I want the j-box to go. How do I get around this problem assuming I can't move the sconce to a different location, as there are more studs in every reasonable space?

And here's what I think I've decided to do with the wiring. Use the ceiling fan light power. Run the wire off of those lights down the two walls and use that for the sconces. Then install a dimmer switch where the light switch was. And let that dimmer switch control the fan lights and the 4 wall sconces.

As for the new outlet in the ceiling, there's a line running down the wall in the attic for the outlets in this room. I'll splice into that line and use that line for the outlet. Anything wrong with this setup?

darren 09-02-2007 10:30 PM

So i assume you want to put a octagon right where that stud is. If this is the case you will need a pancake box. Its an octagon but it is only about 1/2" thick and is made for the situation you ran into.

Dittoz 09-02-2007 11:52 PM

Ok that problem is solved. Thank you!

The only other problem I'm having right now, is access from above. I just went up to double check, and it is going to be very difficult to feed the wire from the center of the ceiling to one of the walls. Here's a crude diagram of the ceiling. /--\. Pretend the -'s intersect at the very top. The right wall hits the outside of the house. So I have no real access to that wall from above. Below this room is the garage. Would I be better off attempting to come up from there, than going down from the attic? Would it be possible to feed wire up the wall, or would it hit a 2x4 at some point? If this won't work, I should be able to fish the wire going up from the wall to the attic right? I shouldn't hit anything going up into the attic right?

Also I'm starting to think this may be more than I bargained for in a DIY project lol. But then it is midnight here, so maybe a good night of rest will have me refreshed tomorrow.

darren 09-03-2007 07:45 AM

if you access from below that may work as well. Once you get through the bottom plate of the wall you should have an empty cavity between yoiur studs and fishing will be easy.

Dittoz 09-03-2007 02:57 PM

Any quick tips for getting around the bottom plate? I seem to be hitting it right behind where the trim that runs around the carpet is. The trim is about 3 inches tall. Any suggestions for getting through or around that bottom plate without putting a massive hole in my wall? And I think my wife would have a stroke if I took the trim off lol.

darren 09-03-2007 03:38 PM

If you have access from below why don't you go down belowe drill up through the bottom plate into the wall cavity and fish your wires up. This may take more wire but it saves you from makeing holes in the drywall.

Let me know where your source of power is(hot and neutral) is it in the ceiling space or in the space below. Then I will let you know how I would do it.


Dittoz 09-03-2007 04:36 PM

For the sconces the power source will be coming from below. The problem is that the space below is in a finished garage. So either way I'm going to have to put holes in drywall I guess. Would probably be better if I made the holes in the garage though. But I'm thinking I'll have to have holes in both. Since I'll have to drill through the bottom plate from upstairs, and drill through the ceiling plate from the garage. Also I don't have a flexible drill bit. So I'd rather not go out and buy one of those, but I may have no choice in that matter.

Update: Ok new problem. 1/2" x 6" drill bit will not penetrate the ceiling plate in the garage for whatever reason. I run out of bit. The floor plate is penetrated with a hole. Other question, I have plywood on the other side of the insulation. On the other side of the plywood are the bricks to the exterior. Can I drill a hole through the plywood, run the romex behind the plywood, and then bring it out through a hole in the particle board in the garage?

2nd Update: Doesn't appear that that is going to work either. Bricks apparently come right up against the plywood. I'm out of ideas. Really didn't expect running the wire was going to drive me crazy like it has. Every road I go down is a dead end. Its as though this house were built not to allow you to run wire through the walls once they were up.

Dittoz 09-05-2007 07:30 PM

Thanks for trying. It just isn't going to happen. I've tried everything short of a stick of dynamite. I can't get the wires going up. Can't get them going down. Screw it. I'll call someone I guess. Simple DIY project, and its just ************ed.

michaelpwalton1 09-22-2007 11:00 PM

I don't know the status of your project, I hope things are going better for you. I just wanted to give you a heads up about using a dimmer along with the existing ceiling fan. You can not run a dimmer on a ceiling fan, it will burn out the motor or shorten it life expectancy.

When fishing wires up the existing wall, often it is necessary to notch the drywall and stud at the joint where the ceiling meets the outside wall, then you install a steel plate to protect the wire and Spackle the wall and ceiling notches.

This is a real big project that you have undertaken and why an electrician will be costly. From how you described the project, it sounds like you will have to crack some eggs to make an omelet. Be prepared to do some patching regardless of who does this project.

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