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Old 01-02-2010, 03:37 PM   #1
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Recessed lights swith dimmer at end


Hi,

I'm wiring my basement with 6 recessed lights. The power will come in at the light (not the switch). A dimmer switch will reside at the end of the circuit. I've been reading up on this and I've seen a few mention needing 14/3 wire between the switches, is this correct? Can I just wire them ALL with 14/2? I'm running these as a new circuit (15a breaker) from the panel.

PWR----L----L-----L----L----L----L-----DIMMER

Any help on wiring at the first light (power source) down the circuit would help. A lot of the drawings I see, you connect the black power (in from pwr) to the white wire (out) to next switch. White (in from power) to white on fixture. Black on fixture to black (out). Then for the remainging (5) fixtures do I connect BL-BL and WH-WH? Then take the BL on the last can to the dimmer BL and the WH to the white on the dimmer?

Lots of questions...just want to make sure I do it right the first time?

Thanks for the help.


Last edited by bphyatt; 01-02-2010 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 01-02-2010, 04:36 PM   #2
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Recessed lights swith dimmer at end


14-2 to the first light, 14-3 between lights, 14-2 between last light and dimmer

14/2-First Light(constant hot and neutral)
14/3-Between lights(red-constant hot for switch, black-switched hot
neutral)
14/2-Last light-switch loop down to dimmer

First light, white to white, black from power to red, black from 14/3 to black of fixture.

In between lights, white to white, red to red, black to black.

Last light red constant power goes to white of switch loop and then all the blacks go together.

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Old 01-02-2010, 04:42 PM   #3
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Recessed lights swith dimmer at end


Why do folks insist on wiring things the backwards way?

bphyatt, Bring the power to the switch first, OR run a switch loop from the first light to the switch. This way you can run 2-wire between the lights.

If you do it the way intended then you must run 3-wire between the lights and the wiring scheme is more difficult for a DIY.
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Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC.
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Old 01-02-2010, 10:21 PM   #4
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Recessed lights swith dimmer at end


>>> Then for the remainging (5) fixtures do I connect BL-BL and WH-WH? Then take the BL on the last can to the dimmer BL and the WH to the white on the dimmer?

At first glance, NO! You will cause a short circuit and blow out the dimmer switch.

Actually for a simple dimmer switch with two wires coming out, neither should be white. Usually both are black and it doesn't matter which is which.

If you follow the directions in the intevening replies above you won't have any problem even if one of two wires coming out of the dimmer switch is white.
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Old 01-02-2010, 11:47 PM   #5
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Recessed lights swith dimmer at end


If you insist on feeding the can light first, then yes you can run another 2-wire down to the switch. The can light needs a neutral and 1 of the wires from the switch leg. The other wire that goes to the switch gets tied in with the black of the original feed wire.
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:35 AM   #6
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Recessed lights swith dimmer at end


If you already have the thing wired up complete with power feeding the first light, you can avoid the need to buy 3 wire cable by adding a non-stop run from the light with the power to the light with the switch (first and last lights in this example).

From the light with the power directly to the switch (q.v. above), abandoning the existing short run from the last light to the switch, would be better though.

For both of these cases wire it this way.:

1. Excluding the new long white (and excluding the old short white to the switch if not abandoned) connect all whites together.

2. Excluding the new long black and the power black (and excluding the old short black to the switch if not abandoned), connect all blacks together.

3. At the light with the power, connect the new long black to the blacks going to the lights.

4. If the new long cable did not go all the way to the switch, connect its black to the old short black going down to the switch.

5. Connect the remaining loose ends. (Power black to new long white, new long white to old short white to switch if the latter was not abandoned).

6. When a white wire was connected to a switch or to a non-white wire, put a band of black or red tape or stain at both ends. When a white wire is connected to a white wire with the end so marked, add such markings to both ends.
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:47 AM   #7
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Recessed lights swith dimmer at end


here is a drawing. Just add more lights.
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