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bruce_hyman 01-23-2012 07:12 PM

splitting a ceiling lamp into two circuits
I am remodeling my kitchen. As part of the project, i want to change the ceiling light above the stove (controlled by a single-position switch at the doorway) to two separate lights. Ideally, i'd use a device similar to an in-wall fan/light controller. (This is not my first choice because of the 2-3 amp power limit power that these devices can handle. It *may* be enough, I just don't know yet. AND, I assume that replacing the fan's inductive load with an equivalent ampere resistive load is not a problem.)

I've looked at the various home automation suppliers' products. They seem to be sell two simple remote-control devices. One basically replaces the existing single-circuit switch with a receiver/remote sender pair (which does me no good). The other device allows me to control a table lamp at the point where it plugs into a wall socket.

Electrically, I could use two of the second type of device, buried in the ceiling, to control the (now-split) lamp circuits - and I could position the remote where the existing switch is located. But. as I understand the electrical codes, I should not use a plug-in device in that location - I need to go with hard-wiring inside an appropriate junction box.

Any suggestions?

gregzoll 01-23-2012 07:28 PM

In order to control two lights from either two switches, you would need to be able to access from above, or remove drywall from ceiling if not able to. Easiest way is to pull 14/3 to the first light from the switches, then 14/2 to the second light. That would give you two hots, so both lights can be separately controlled. Otherwise, you can pull two runs of 14/2. The choice is your's.

bruce_hyman 01-23-2012 07:40 PM

i understand that choice. it's a messy solution and more expensive than it needs to be.

is there any reason (as long as i dont exceed current-carrying capacity) that i can't leave the existing 110 feed to the ceiling, split it at the ceiling j-box into two circuits, mount the two lamps there, and then remotely control each lamp circuit using the standard fan/light sender? (i can position the remote sender where the existing switch is.) the setup would be identical to the way you control a fan and a lamp that are fed from a single 110 feed, but i'd put the remote receiver in a box, rather than in the fan canopy, and hardwire the two lighting circuits to it. the fan/lamp remote is good for 3 amps of lighting, and about 200 watts of fan.

gregzoll 01-23-2012 07:43 PM

Yes, it will not work. If you want two lights separately controlled from two different switches, you need to do as I described above. There is no way around it. Well, there is, but it is a costly solution that uses remotes, both a receiver in the lamp, and sender that you can hang on the wall. Still new tech, but could work.

bruce_hyman 01-23-2012 07:46 PM

i'm missing something, because i just installed a ceiling fan with light in a location where there was only a fan - with just that kind of setup.

gregzoll 01-23-2012 07:53 PM


Originally Posted by bruce_hyman (Post 832730)
i'm missing something, because i just installed a ceiling fan with light in a location where there was only a fan - with just that kind of setup.

How many wires were there up where you mounted the ceiling fan?

bruce_hyman 01-23-2012 08:07 PM

black, white, and bare copper ground. the switchbox was the same. home depot, hunter, and others make a device (here is an example) that replaces the on-off switch for a lamp or fan. the package contains two components - one is the "remote" shown in the picture (there is an in-wall and a hand-held version). the second component is housed in the fan canopy, and has a white/black pair, an antenna, and three "output" wires - a common white, a black for the bulbs, and a (blue, depending on manufacturer) for the fan. the black, white, and blue wires run down the pipe to the fan head, where the wiring splits to serve the fan and the light. the wall control activates the fan and the lights independently, via some sort of radio-based black magic.

gregzoll 01-23-2012 08:10 PM

Because the fan has a remote is why it works with the existing wiring. I am done, I have pointed out twice two different options, there really is not much else to state or for any repeating.

bruce_hyman 01-23-2012 08:12 PM

thanks. i appreciate the effort, and apologize if i have frustrated you with this dialog. really, i appreciate it! have a good evening.

loueye 06-03-2012 08:01 PM

Bruce... I was thinking of doing the same thing...
Did you try the ceiling fan remote to establish 2 circuits out of a single wire feed?
I would put the unit over an kitchen island using the fan out wire to control a few track lights and light out wire to control a couple of pendant lights.
I appreciate any information you can share....

Lou I

bruce_hyman 06-03-2012 08:15 PM

some partial solutions
it looks like "Insteon" products from is the way to go. they sell addressable switches and remotes - essentially, they establish a LAN which controls your lighting. the neutral wire must pass through the existing jbox; they make a multi-controller which lives in the jbox and is powered by the line. i will split the ceiling wiring at the existing lamp, and put one of their compatible slaves at each new lamp site. so i could control three or more sets of lamps if i wanted to go crazy. go to the smarthome website for more.
the fan/light controller that you can buy in HD has a power limit that could constrain you and you have only two served circuits max.

loueye 06-04-2012 05:21 AM

Thanks again Bruce...

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