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Old 01-16-2010, 11:36 AM   #1
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Wiring 4 lights to 1 switch...Please help!


Hey guys, first, please see the attachment!

I am attempting to install some new lights in my attic for the first time
and just needed someone to double-check my layout and verify I am wiring
it correctly. I also need some advice on connections. I am a rookie when it comes to electrical work / wiring but I have a pretty good grasp on the basics and I am pretty handy. I still question myself when it comes electrical work that I have never sdone before. I have an older home to, so safety is my main concern. Check out my diagram and let me know what you
think. Thanks for any help.

Here's my punchlist...

- Removing existing fixture and wire 4 new attic lights in parallel

- Controlling switch is a 15amp, single pole

- I am using 14/2 Romex for the new parallel runs

- Power is fed from downstairs circuit to a main JB, by what looks like 2x Romex wires entering the box. Not sure why there is 2...

- Existing light switch is fed from branch off of main JB (mentioned above), and the old light fixture is fed by seperate romex from from same JB.

My plan is to to reuse the existing romex from the old fixture, but I am confused on how to make the connections in the fixture. The new fixcture "C" (from the diagram) is the center of all branches, where the the other two runs from the parallel circuit and the feed from the old fixture meet. How do I make the connection there? Does any black (hot) wires gets joined w/ the white (neutral) for the power return?

How do I connect the last /or end fixtures ("B" & "D" in diagram) in each run? -> Do I connect the black & neutral directly to the fixture posts, or do I use pigtails? Does it matter which post (out of the 2 posts per + & - sides) that you connect them to? Where does the ground wire get connected since there is no grounding screw and the fixture box is plastic?

Is there anything else I am missing???

Much appreciated!
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Wiring 4 lights to 1 switch...Please help!-wiring1.jpg  


Last edited by Driven2race; 01-16-2010 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:12 PM   #2
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Wiring 4 lights to 1 switch...Please help!


The wires in boxes "A" and "C" will need to be pigtailed with wire nuts. Blacks to blacks, whites to whites, etc.

The bare ground wires merely get twisted together with their own wire nut or crimp sleeve, and tucked into the back of the box. No connection to the ground wire is necessary for "keyless" type fixtures.

As long as you don't disturb the connections on your junction box, this scenario should work fine.

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Old 01-16-2010, 12:20 PM   #3
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Wiring 4 lights to 1 switch...Please help!


how old is the original wiring? and which way is the power coming IN to the original fixture?
I would also want to know what else is running on this circuit? You have to know so that you are not creating a dead end so to say for the current - it was to flow... and that is where you'll figure out if you'll be using a white as a hot - see what I mean?
I changed up a ton of wiring in our basement recent - I can't stress enough about using a circuit tester, like a pencil, about $10 at Home Depot/Lowes (here Menards). Even if you have the entire breaker off - there is a chance there might be a live wire - better safe than sorry.

usually think black - from power, and white to the light when wiring switches... good luck!
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:23 PM   #4
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Wiring 4 lights to 1 switch...Please help!


invest in electrical tape too - wire nuts are good but you want to install and forget it - so twist the nuts - and then tape around it so you secure it - especially wiring all those lights together.
Glad you're working with 14/2 and not 12, 14 is tough - it's like wresting a python... and if you think at some point you'll want to install a ceiling fan - you'll need 14/3 (just fyi) to the fixture
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:30 PM   #5
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Wiring 4 lights to 1 switch...Please help!


Thanks for the replies guys! But what about this part...

How do I connect the last /or end fixtures ("B" & "D" in diagram) in each run? -> Do I connect the black & neutral directly to the fixture posts, or do I use pigtails? Does it matter which post (out of the 2 posts per black & neutral sides) that you connect them to? Where does the ground wire from the single romex get connected since there is no grounding screw (plastic Leviton fixture) and the fixture box is plastic?

Can I ground it to the metal support / spreader that hold the plastic fixture box between the joists or can I ground it to the remaining neutral post on the fixture? I am confused here...
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:36 PM   #6
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Wiring 4 lights to 1 switch...Please help!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Driven2race View Post
? Does any black (hot) wires gets joined w/ the white (neutral) for the power return?
NEVER EVER!

Now there are a few situations (particularly involving switches) where, in order to complete the job, you have to use a white wire as a hot wire. In all of these cases,

1. That white wire is not connected to neutrals.

2. That white wire is marked at both ends with black or red tape or stain.

In your case as you drew it, the branch from the junction box to the switch has two choices:

3. Run a 3 conductor cable so red is for power going down to the switch and black is for switched power coming back to feed the lights.

4. You may run 2 conductor cable where black is for switched power coming back to feed the lights and you use the other conductor (usually white) for the hot feed down.

#3 does have its merits. Sometimes you want to continue power on from the switch box to other places in which case the third wire (white) is the neutral to continue on with.

Quote:
... invest in electrical tape ...
You generally don't need electrical tape -- unless bare wire sticks out from the wire nut, and is visible in a broadside view, which is not all that unusual given that it takes a reasonable length of wire to accomplish twisting with.

Quote:
... looks like 2x Romex ...
Only one of the cables should bring power from the breaker panel. The other is most likely a continuation to bring power to other places.

Quote:
...I ground it to the remaining neutral post on the fixture ...
No. Grounds and neutrals are kept separate in the various junction boxes at at light fixtures.

Some fixtures provide double gold hot screws and double silver neutral screws specifically to allow you to daisy chain on antoher light. Experts usually recommend pigtails instead. Also with both sets of wires connected directly to the fixture, it is harder to stuff that many stiff wires into the box and in some cases the terminals on the fixture are so flimsy that things start to get bent out of shape.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 01-16-2010 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:46 PM   #7
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Wiring 4 lights to 1 switch...Please help!


How do I connect the last /or end fixtures ("B" & "D" in diagram) in each run? -> Do I connect the black & neutral directly to the fixture posts, or do I use pigtails? Does it matter which post (out of the 2 posts per + & - sides) that you connect them to? Where does the ground wire get connected since there is no grounding screw and the fixture box is plastic?


You are not going to be connecting B&D together by any separate wire - you will connect your black to the gold and the white to the silver screw on the new light itself - think of the current - it's got to go IN, and then OUT - you don't need to add a 'runner' connecting the two end fixtures - only if you are trying to do a 3 way switch - that's a whole different story!

why isn't there a ground in the light? what do the directions say about that - it's fine not to ground at the fixture in some situations, but you have to make sure that you are grounded at some point - I would take a closer look at that junction box too - make sure those connections are good, may want to re-do them.
take pliers and twist your wires first - then put the twist cap on it - then tape - if you twist first - then you know you've got a good connection
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:49 PM   #8
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"You generally don't need electrical tape -- unless bare wire sticks out from the wire nut, and is visible in a broadside view, which is not all that unusual given that it takes a reasonable length of wire to accomplish twisting with."

never heard anyone say that - and why would there be bare wire in view - that's not safe no matter what - if you have the wires twisted prior to capping you need to snip the end if one is longer - just makes it a better connection and then it can be out of sight/out of mind with no worries
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Old 01-16-2010, 01:21 PM   #9
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Wiring 4 lights to 1 switch...Please help!


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Originally Posted by qchawkfan View Post

why isn't there a ground in the light? what do the directions say about that - it's fine not to ground at the fixture in some situations, but you have to make sure that you are grounded at some point.
I have no clue why there is no grounding screw... This is my first time working w/ this type of ceiling / light fixture. The directions have a crappy picture and 2 lines of directions only referencing connecting the black and neutral wires; mentions nothing about grounding. So currently, I can't ground at the end fixtures but will be able to ground at fixture "C" where all runs meet. Should I get better or different fixture heads w/ grounding screws? Can the ground wires and the end fixtures just be wire nutted?
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Old 01-16-2010, 01:58 PM   #10
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Wiring 4 lights to 1 switch...Please help!


Ok, so after some research I found out that "keyless" fixtures don't have grounding posts / don't need to be grounded. So where or what does the ground wire at the end of the run get connected to? Does it just get wire nutted?
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Old 01-16-2010, 03:43 PM   #11
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Wiring 4 lights to 1 switch...Please help!


I would wire nut the grounds together - you should be able to ensure it's grounded at some point especially since you have a junction box close
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Old 01-16-2010, 03:44 PM   #12
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Wiring 4 lights to 1 switch...Please help!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Driven2race View Post
Ok, so after some research I found out that "keyless" fixtures don't have grounding posts / don't need to be grounded. So where or what does the ground wire at the end of the run get connected to? Does it just get wire nutted?
The box if it is metal or nothing.
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Old 01-16-2010, 04:26 PM   #13
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when you nut the ground off in your box tuck it in so that it's not pressed against the plastic

curious why you went with this type of light - sale or design?
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Old 01-16-2010, 05:30 PM   #14
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Wiring 4 lights to 1 switch...Please help!


In some cities, the ground wires coming into a box must be wire nutted (or crimp ringed) together; twisting by itself is not good enough.
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Old 01-17-2010, 06:03 PM   #15
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Wiring 4 lights to 1 switch...Please help!


if the box is plastic and the fixture is plastic then there's no need to ground or bond either one. just tuck the ground wire so it dont come into contact with the fixture screws. good luck!!


Last edited by richgriffith; 01-17-2010 at 09:27 PM.
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