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Old 02-24-2011, 08:36 PM   #1
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Switch Before Load or After - does it matter?


I tapped into a garage power socket to feed a light circuit. For some reason the lights only come on at 25% dimness, I have disconnected the circuit to be safe for the time being. Lights are 150W each. Sensor switch rated at 600W.

1. Does it matter which order the lights and switch are in the circuit?
2. Must the sensor switch, be before the lights?
3. Stupid question - does the hot line go through the light socket, or should it be pigtailed to the light socket?
4. Does the quality of the light socket affect this?
5. Am I right to assume that dim lights could be the result of increased resistance in the circuit, which is a hazard?

The circuit was as follows:
hot line --> light -> light --> sensor switch --> white back to source.

I want to try:
hot line --> switch --> light --> light --> white back to source.

Although I'm not sure why the switch upstream or down would make a difference...?

Thanks everyone!

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Old 02-24-2011, 08:40 PM   #2
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Switch Before Load or After - does it matter?


You need to feed a light with a neutral, ground and a hot wire
Is that what you are doing ?

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Old 02-24-2011, 08:50 PM   #3
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Switch Before Load or After - does it matter?


I believe so.

Receptacle (power source).
14/2 tapped into black and white. 14/2 goes to light socket, whites are pigtailed, black into socket line, out of socket, continues to next light. repeats. continues to switch, black in, white out, back to receptacle.

That was what I tried, hopefully my description makes sense, even though it didn't work...

Thanks for your speedy reply!
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:52 PM   #4
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Switch Before Load or After - does it matter?


switch may be placed anywhere but the circuit must pass thru it first. You are not allowed to switch the neutral.
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:52 PM   #5
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Switch Before Load or After - does it matter?


you want the switch before your load all the time. the switch turns the power to the load.

if you are tapping into a recptacle, can you take a "trouble light" and plug into that recp?? how bright is it??

now, what i would do is wire a plug where you are going to wire in your light. plug the same trouble light in... is it the same brightness??

go from there.

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Old 02-24-2011, 08:58 PM   #6
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Switch Before Load or After - does it matter?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tryvidy View Post
Receptacle (power source).
14/2 tapped into black and white. 14/2 goes to light socket, whites are pigtailed, black into socket line, out of socket, continues to next light. repeats. continues to switch, black in, white out, back to receptacle.

That was what I tried, hopefully my description makes sense, even though it didn't work...
you have made a series circuit. Parallel circuits are used in AC wiring.

Once you take you power (cable) from a plug to the light, that white will be your king neutral, the black your king hot. You need to send that king hot directly(or directly thru another jbox) to the switch via a white(taped black) wire in another cable, from the switch in the same cable the black will come back from the switch this black is your switch leg. You will then need a cable from the first light to any other lights. The lights themselves will be tied into the king neutral and the switch leg.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:04 PM   #7
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Switch Before Load or After - does it matter?


Yep your circuit is series and causing the dim lights. Wire them in parallel and you will be fine.
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Switch Before Load or After - does it matter?-lights.jpg  
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:10 PM   #8
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Switch Before Load or After - does it matter?


You need 14/3 cable between the lights. The black goes straight through with no connection to the fixtures. The red connects to the fixture blacks. The white passes through and connects to the fixture whites.

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Old 02-24-2011, 10:25 PM   #9
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Switch Before Load or After - does it matter?


It makes no difference where the switch is as far as before or after the lights. It does make a difference how you wire the circuit.

My thinking was you wanted to take power to the switch first then on to the lights with 14/2 with ground.

Joed has the correct drawing if power goes thru the lights to get to the switch.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:41 PM   #10
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Switch Before Load or After - does it matter?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Stubbie View Post
It makes no difference where the switch is as far as before or after the lights. It does make a difference how you wire the circuit.
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Huh? If it is after the load, are you not switching the neutral which isn't allowed?
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:48 AM   #11
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Switch Before Load or After - does it matter?


Quote:
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Huh? If it is after the load, are you not switching the neutral which isn't allowed?
i believe he means positionally, not electrically(which we know is important)
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:56 AM   #12
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Switch Before Load or After - does it matter?


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i believe he means positionally, not electrically(which we know is important)
look at his drawings in the first post or two. He was switching the neutral.
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Old 02-25-2011, 02:05 AM   #13
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Switch Before Load or After - does it matter?


Quote:
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look at his drawings in the first post or two. He was switching the neutral.
sorry he edited it before i saw it so it looked like it was your mistake not his.
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Old 03-04-2011, 01:27 AM   #14
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Switch Before Load or After - does it matter?


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
You need 14/3 cable between the lights. The black goes straight through with no connection to the fixtures. The red connects to the fixture blacks. The white passes through and connects to the fixture whites.

Your solution seems more applicable to my situation, as fishing another 14/2 wire to the switch is not as practical at the moment.

Are you able to provide a clearer drawing? I'm not certain what the circles represent...

The only other solution without installing 14/3 is to put a junction box in my attic. Is this permissible by most codes? This would be the easiest solution for me to create the parallel circuit needed.

Thanks to everyone for some great enthusiasm! Cheers!
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Old 03-04-2011, 07:27 AM   #15
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Switch Before Load or After - does it matter?


The circles represent the eletrical box. If you can't understand the wiring I would suggest you hire an electrician. I can't make it any clearer.

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Last edited by joed; 03-04-2011 at 12:53 PM.
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