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Old 08-16-2013, 02:00 PM   #1
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WAY too many conductors in switch box?


I'm wiring up my new house, and have run into trouble with 3-gang switch boxes and all of the associated conductors. Spaced around one room, there are (3) 3-gang switch boxes. One is at capacity, one is a little over, and the last one is WAY over. Obviously, I can't go with it the way it is, but haven't found a solution. The over-crowded box has (3) 3-way switches, so there are (3) 14/3 cables coming or going from those. There is a 14/2 feed, plus (2) 14/2 feeds to the other two boxes. Each 3-gang needs power because of lights that aren't part of the 3-way circuits. Here's a list of what is currently planned for the crowded box:

(3) 14/3 for 3-way circuits
14/2 to light1
14/2 to light2
14/2 feed
14/2 power feed to second box
14/2 to the third box
3 switches

That's (8) cables plus 3 devices, not to mention a number of pigtails!

If I move something to one of the other boxes, it just puts one (or both) of them over. I need a huge 3 gang box, or? They won't let you bury a J-box in the wall. Any thoughts on how to accomplish all of this?

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Old 08-16-2013, 02:08 PM   #2
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WAY too many conductors in switch box?


Can you run & fish new feeds to each of the second and third boxes, with a J-box in the attic/in floor joists to connect them together (however they're fed today)? That would get rid of 2 cables out of the overcrowded box.

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Old 08-16-2013, 02:35 PM   #3
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WAY too many conductors in switch box?


314.16 Number of Conductors in Outlet, Device, and Junction Boxes, and Conduit Bodies.

in the 3 gang box there is writing that tells you the cu.in. of the box ...

this sets the bar for how many wires you can have ...

example ..
Carlon 3-Gang 35 cu. in. Switch and Outlet Box





so with that ..


each wire of the cable counts as one .. ie the black and the white .... all the grounds count as one ....


so 1 14 wire counts as 2.00 cu. in. or 1 cable counts as 4.00 plus the ground ...


i counted 16 wires with out the ground ... 32 cu. in plus 2.00 for all the grounds

then the device ....LOL so too many wires for the regular BLUE NAIL ON BOXES





the heavy duty plastic boxes are bigger ..http://www.lowes.com/pd_130774-223-BH353A_0__




or what we do sometimes is use the metal 3.5" deep boxes ganged together to give the maximum cu. in.
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Old 08-16-2013, 02:36 PM   #4
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WAY too many conductors in switch box?


I suppose I could do that. I'm going to go look to see if I can get a bigger 3-gang box. One of them can't be bigger as it is in an ICF wall, but the other two could be deeper, if they are available. Is J-box in the attic considered 'accessible'?
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Old 08-16-2013, 02:41 PM   #5
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WAY too many conductors in switch box?


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Originally Posted by MushCreek View Post
I suppose I could do that. I'm going to go look to see if I can get a bigger 3-gang box. One of them can't be bigger as it is in an ICF wall, but the other two could be deeper, if they are available. Is J-box in the attic considered 'accessible'?
if you can get to it yes ..

but what would that change ??
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Old 08-16-2013, 02:43 PM   #6
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WAY too many conductors in switch box?


i see you can remove 1 14/2 ...

feed in and feed out the 3 gang ... then the next switch box feed in and out of that ...

instead of 2 feeds outta the 3 gang
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Old 08-16-2013, 04:03 PM   #7
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WAY too many conductors in switch box?


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if you can get to it yes ..

but what would that change ??
He could remove both the box2 and box3 feeds from the overcrowded box and do new runs to them from a more accessible place where he could have a J-box joining them together. Obviously if there's room for a bigger box that works, too.
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Old 08-16-2013, 05:33 PM   #8
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WAY too many conductors in switch box?


The attic is technically accessible, through a code-required 22 X 30 hatch, but no ladder. Then there's the 18" or so of insulation, although I could mount it higher up on the truss.

I get 19 wires, or 38 cu/in, plus 2.0 for the ground, plus 2.0 each for the switches, for a grand total of 46 cu/in. Am I calculating this correctly? If so, getting even one 14/2 out of there would bring me to 44, which is what the box is. Rather have more room, though.
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Old 08-16-2013, 08:50 PM   #9
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WAY too many conductors in switch box?


Quote:
Originally Posted by MushCreek View Post
The attic is technically accessible, through a code-required 22 X 30 hatch, but no ladder. Then there's the 18" or so of insulation, although I could mount it higher up on the truss.

I get 19 wires, or 38 cu/in, plus 2.0 for the ground, plus 2.0 each for the switches, for a grand total of 46 cu/in. Am I calculating this correctly? If so, getting even one 14/2 out of there would bring me to 44, which is what the box is. Rather have more room, though.
Devices count as 2 times the wire, so each device will be 4.0
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Old 08-16-2013, 09:43 PM   #10
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WAY too many conductors in switch box?


Simple, wire in a manner to eliminate extra cables in each switch box.
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Old 08-17-2013, 01:56 AM   #11
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WAY too many conductors in switch box?


Quote:
Originally Posted by MushCreek View Post
I'm wiring up my new house, and have run into trouble with 3-gang switch boxes and all of the associated conductors. Spaced around one room, there are (3) 3-gang switch boxes. One is at capacity, one is a little over, and the last one is WAY over. Obviously, I can't go with it the way it is, but haven't found a solution. The over-crowded box has (3) 3-way switches, so there are (3) 14/3 cables coming or going from those. There is a 14/2 feed, plus (2) 14/2 feeds to the other two boxes. Each 3-gang needs power because of lights that aren't part of the 3-way circuits. Here's a list of what is currently planned for the crowded box:

(3) 14/3 for 3-way circuits

Total of 3 X 3 ways ? And is this three way switch is starting point or what ?
14/2 to light1
14/2 to light2

There is a better idea if you have seperated lumianires why not run 14-3 to the first luminarie then run 14-2 to second luminaire so you can reduce the numbers of conductors in this switch box.
14/2 feed
14/2 power feed to second box
14/2 to the third box
3 switches

Why not just run the feed to the first switch box then run that feed to second switch box then to the thrid switch box so you can even elemated some more conductors in the switch box.

That's (8) cables plus 3 devices, not to mention a number of pigtails!

If I move something to one of the other boxes, it just puts one (or both) of them over. I need a huge 3 gang box, or? They won't let you bury a J-box in the wall. Any thoughts on how to accomplish all of this?
The numbers of cable will actually reduce down to about 4 or 5 depending on how it set up.

Hope that help you some of that.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 08-17-2013, 06:19 AM   #12
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WAY too many conductors in switch box?


The problem is that if I reduce the number of conductors in the box in question, I have to increase the number in one of the other boxes, thus just moving the problem from one location to another. In particular, I have to be careful not to add any more to the box in the ICF wall, as I can't go any deeper (unless I want to chip out concrete!).

Two of the 14/3's are for 3-way circuits; one is for a 4-way. The house is an open plan, so many of the lights are 3-way or 4-way to meet the requirement of a switch at the entrance to each room. I can make any of the switches the last one, changing to a 14/2, but it just moves the problem to another box.

If each switch is 4.0, then that puts me at 52 cu/in. If I move the 2 feeds to a remote J box, I'm back down to 44 cu/in. If I change the 14/3's to 14/2's, I have a new problem in another box.
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Old 08-17-2013, 08:54 AM   #13
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WAY too many conductors in switch box?


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The house is an open plan, so many of the lights are 3-way or 4-way to meet the requirement of a switch at the entrance to each room.
There is no such requirement, this is purely a design issue.

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