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Old 11-21-2007, 11:14 PM   #1
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Powering one switch to another


Hey guys, I am trying to use an existing bathroom light switch to power a new light switch so I can use a new bathroom fan. I've tried several combinations. I am close but not right still. I have power to the original light switch. However when I turn that switch off and turn the fan switch on, the fan comes on but the light comes on dimmed as well. The set up is basically black line is the main power with white being the ground. Can someone guide me what I need to do to get this to work? I've done this before, but my brain isn't working too well today.
thanks
Joe

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Old 11-21-2007, 11:20 PM   #2
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Powering one switch to another


Before you ran the wire from the fan to the new switch exactly how many wires were in the box and what were they connected to, it sounds like you may be lacking a neutral

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Old 11-21-2007, 11:31 PM   #3
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Before you ran the wire from the fan to the new switch exactly how many wires were in the box and what were they connected to, it sounds like you may be lacking a neutral
Yeah, I think you are right. I dont know why I am not getting this. The old wire is coming from the attic as well. Black (hot) and White. That would basically be the light switch on the left. I added the new switch on the right, same set up with the wires going directly up to the new fan. I'd rather just restart if you can advise. As I said I tried a few things, but know I am missing a part (probly neutral as you said). Due to the right switch (fan) 1/2 powering the light.
Thanks so much for your advise. One main question I have is do I put the hot wire on the light switch first? Or should that be "split" then sent to both switches? I guess the question is do I use the main power source for both switches independantly, or do I run the new switch off the power from the old?
Joe

Last edited by joebbaseball; 11-21-2007 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 11-21-2007, 11:49 PM   #4
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Powering one switch to another


Yeah you are definately lacking a neutral here. This is commonly refered to as a switch loop. Typically the lightbox is being fed with a hot and a neutral from a power source, then they are running a white and black wire from the light to the switch. Inside the lightbox they are tying one wire to the hot and sending it to the switch. The hot wire is not being connected to the actual light they are sending it down to the switch The other wire is used as a "switch leg" that goes to the switch, which becomes hot when you flip the switch on and the hot is making contact with the switchleg making the light come on. In order to get a nuetral to the switch you will have to run another wire from the light back down to the switch. Make sure it is the same awg as is being used. The black will not be used from the new wire. You just need the white for the neutral. Turn off all power just to be safe when doing this. When you finish running the wire let us know.


Im assuming since you do not have a bare copper wire and that they are using switch loops that this is an older house

Last edited by RichyL; 11-21-2007 at 11:57 PM.
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Old 11-22-2007, 12:01 AM   #5
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Powering one switch to another


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Yeah you are definately lacking a neutral here. This is commonly refered to as a switch loop. Typically the light is being fed with a hot and a neutral from a power source, then they are running a white and black wire from the light to the switch. Inside the light they are tying one wire to the hot and sending it to the switch. The other wire is used as a "switch leg" that goes to the switch, which becomes hot when you flip the switch on and the hot is making contact with the switchleg making the light come on. In order to get a nuetral to the switch you will have to run another wire from the light back down to the switch. Make sure it is the same awg as is being used. The black will not be used from the new wire. Turn off all power just to be safe when doing this. When you finish running the wire let us know.


Im assuming since you do not have a bare copper wire and that they are using switch loops that this is an older house
I didn't mention the copper wire as I previously read the ground is important but to save time and space just assume it will be grounded. So yes, I do have one. Basically I have the black (hot), white, and the ground (copper). As for your question, are you telling me to accomplish this I need to run a completely seperate wire to the old light? That doesn't seem right to me. Sorry for my confusion. At the box I have six total wires. (3 from the old light, and 3 from the new fan) At no point did I add more than one switch loop. I feel like since I had powered both devices I am, or was close. I currently just have the original light hooked back up and disconnected the fan, due to the fact that it is 1am, and I had to shower without getting fried. But I'll take any late night advise so I can finish this up in the morning before some turkey.
Thanks guys
Joe
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Old 11-22-2007, 12:16 AM   #6
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Powering one switch to another


ok just to make sure were on the same page. Your existing switch has a black wire on one terminal and a white wire on the other terminal of the switch, not including the new wire you ran to the new switch and the bare copper wires. Inside the existing light box when you take the light down you have a white wire hooked up to the existing light white fixture wire and a black wire hooked up to the black fixture wire. There is a whte wire and a black wire inside the light box that is tied together and does not hook up to the fixture. Is this correct?
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Old 11-22-2007, 12:18 AM   #7
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Powering one switch to another


Yeah, I think you are right
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Old 11-22-2007, 12:20 AM   #8
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Powering one switch to another


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Old 11-22-2007, 12:23 AM   #9
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Powering one switch to another


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Originally Posted by RichyL View Post
ok just to make sure were on the same page. Your existing switch has a black wire on one terminal and a white wire on the other terminal of the switch, not including the new wire you ran to the new switch and the bare copper wires. Inside the existing light box when you take the light down you have a white wire hooked up to the existing light white fixture wire and a black wire hooked up to the black fixture wire. There is a whte wire and a black wire inside the light box that is tied together and does not hook up to the fixture. Is this correct?
You got it.
Joe
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Old 11-22-2007, 12:47 AM   #10
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Powering one switch to another


Ok then your fan has no neutral. Probably the easiest way to do this is actually to run a wire from the light to the fan in the attic. All your grounds must be connected to one another. Once you have the wire run:

In the light: The black wire(the one you just ran in the attic) is connected to the black/white that is wirenutted together. The white wire is connected to the same white wire that is connected to the white fixture wire. Bare copper wire tied in with other bare copper wires.

In the fan: The white wire (the one you just ran in the attic)is connected to the white fixture wire. The black wire(the one you just ran in the attic) is connected to the white wire that you ran to the switch and wirenutted off. The black wire that goes from the fan to the switch is connected to the black fixture wire.

In the switch box: the existing switch will be tied in as it was originally.
The wire coming from the fan to the new switch, black on one terminal white on the other all grounds tied together and hooked to both switches on the ground screw( green)
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Old 11-22-2007, 01:00 AM   #11
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Powering one switch to another


what this is gonna do is tap off the neutral from the light to give you a neutral in your fan. The wirenutted wires in your light are your hots and are being rerouted down to feed your switch through the (the capped off wires)in the fan. The black wire from your new switch to your fan will be your switchleg. Turn off your power of course while doing this and make sure your connections are tight. Good luck and happy turkey day
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Old 11-22-2007, 10:00 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by RichyL View Post
what this is gonna do is tap off the neutral from the light to give you a neutral in your fan. The wirenutted wires in your light are your hots and are being rerouted down to feed your switch through the (the capped off wires)in the fan. The black wire from your new switch to your fan will be your switchleg. Turn off your power of course while doing this and make sure your connections are tight. Good luck and happy turkey day
Thanks for your help Rich. One problem. Not sure where I got the senario in the old light fixure last night. I had thought it was previously checked and was the situation I said. HOWEVER, I have a HUGE mess in the old light. I have 5 Whites, tied to together. Then I have a red and a green tied together? THen I have 4 black tied together. SO, it sounds like I have a big mess. I can tell you this, when I cut the power to the bathroom, I loose, bathroom power, which consists of the light and an outlet, a light in the hall outside the bathroom, and an outlet in the next bedroom. Also with your scenario running another wire from the hot at the light to the attic fan could be tough as the light has been there and it would be tough to get a wire from that area to the fan.
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Old 11-22-2007, 10:34 AM   #13
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Powering one switch to another


I think we are just going to cut into the main line. Rather than screw with the old light, that already has too much going on. I'll let you guys know tonight how it went. If you don't hear from me, well... Thanks so much for the advise.
Joe
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Old 11-22-2007, 11:36 AM   #14
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Powering one switch to another


Richy has been giving you excellent advice thus far! Don't give up or get frustrated. Even the biggest rat's nest can be deciphered with patience. Got a meter???

Patience is KEY

Actually diagraming what wire goes to what before taking stuff apart is key...But Patience is important!

Andy
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Old 11-22-2007, 12:21 PM   #15
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Powering one switch to another


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I have a HUGE mess in the old light. I have 5 Whites, tied to together. Then I have a red and a green tied together? THen I have 4 black tied together. SO, it sounds like I have a big mess.

I have a feeling it's about to get bigger.

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