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Old 06-03-2010, 11:37 AM   #1
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Help with my wiring project/design


Hi all, my first major (or major for me) wiring project and I'm looking for some feedback on the best approach. I've run some simple series circuits before, added a few receptacles, but that's the extent of my wiring to date. I'm trying to run a circuit(s) to my screened-in deck addition in North Carolina. Circuit(s) include:

4-5 outlets(
1 switch to 6 recessed lights
1 switch to flood light
1 switch to 2 ceiling fans
1 switch to 60w light

My main panel will support the addition and has 3-4 slots for available circuits. I was originally planning on one 20A circuit but I've seen references here that you can't (or shouldn't) go over 12 lights/receptacles?

I can't seem to find an example of multiple switches controlling different devices on a single circuit... would this just be a parallel circuit (i.e. main run from panel to junction box, 4 runouts from junction box to each switch)?

Finally, any website or book recommendations (besides this website, of course)?

Thanks in advance for all of the help!
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:02 PM   #2
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Circuit load would be limited by total wattage of all fixtures/receptacles, not the number of them.
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:07 PM   #3
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^ thanks. I read that 1920W was a safe wattage to assume on a 20A/120V ckt (20A * 120V * 80%).

Ceiling fans will draw 100W (no lights on the fans) * 2 = 200W
5 outlets *180W = 900W (I think I saw 180W was a safe calc.)
flood light will have 2 100W bulbs = 200W
7 60W lights in the recessed/overhead lights = 420W

total = 1720W (best I can tell, but I'll take any feedback here if my calcs. are off).
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:11 PM   #4
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One thing that I would consider ... if the circuit trips, there will be no power at all, whereas if you split it onto two, you should still have power if one line goes. Might be helpful if you need to see to fix something.
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:13 PM   #5
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Regarding going over 12, it's usually (depending on where you are) a code violation. So you shouldn't do it.

Do you have a rough idea of the wattage you would use at peak as that will give you a better idea of how many and what type of circuits to run. Remember that Watts is Volts * Amps. For example a 15 amp, 120 V circuit can deliver 1800 watts.

So I'd kind of fill this in as so:

Ceiling Fan - 75W?? X 2
Recessed Lights - 40W?? each X 6
Flood Light - 100W to 1500W (these are very variable)!

Outlets - Depends on what you want to use them for and how many at the same time, but plan for a high load, some examples could be:
-Vacuum - 1000W
-Low end computer - 300W
-High end computer - 800W
-Large LCD TV - 300W

If it is a low to mid wattage flood light then I would have one 15 A circuit (1800 W) for the fans, recessed lights and the flood light (depending on where it is going - ceiling or wall?). And another 15 A circuit for the outlets unless you plan on using a lot of them at the same time with heavy loads.

(Never mind, obviously took way too long typing this out)

Last edited by Troglodyte; 06-03-2010 at 12:15 PM. Reason: Took too long
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:19 PM   #6
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Just to be clear, run two circuits. You do not want to go over 12 lights/receptacles because that is usually an electrical code violation. I wouldn't go over 10 because then you can't add anything to the circuit later if you wanted to.

(Never mind, apparently in the states you don't have receptacle/light limits - I take it back)

Last edited by Troglodyte; 06-03-2010 at 12:22 PM. Reason: Ooops
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:25 PM   #7
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^ I'm sure that my wife will be hooking up a vacuum, and if all goes well I should have an LCD out there . I think I'll take your advice and use 1 circuit for lights/fans, and one for outlets.

Any guidance on hooking all those lights onto one circuit? I think that's my biggest hangup at this point.
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:38 PM   #8
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As an example and feel free to correct me if I am wrong

Wire 1 : 12/2 from panel to wall switch # 1
Wire 2 : 12/2 from wall switch # 1 to wall switch #2
Wire 3 : 12/2 from wall switch # 1 to recessed lights

in the wall switch box:
1: Connect Wire 1 white to wire 2 white and wire 3 white
2: Create short length (4") of a black wire, connect Wire 1 black to wire 2 black to short black wire
3: Connect other end of short black wire to switch
4: Connect wire 3 black to switch

Thus, wire 3 only carries hot to the lights when the switch is on, wire 2 always carries hot to wall switch # 2

At wall switch #2,3 etc you would do the exact same thing
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:40 PM   #9
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As for all the lights coming from wall switch #1, in each light fixture you have a 12/2 coming in and a 12/2 coming out (except for the final light, as there will be no 12/2 coming out)

Connect in-black to out-black and light fixture black
Connect in-white to out-white and light fixture white
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:57 PM   #10
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Not sure what you have for existing circuits
But my lighting circuits do not have any heavy loads on them
So I have added lights & ceiling fans to existing circuits



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Old 06-04-2010, 08:39 AM   #11
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The 12 devices per circuit gets thrown around alot and people think it is a code. The only place I know that it is code is in Canada, the NEC does not limit the amount on the circuit.
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Old 06-04-2010, 09:22 PM   #12
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I'd keep it simple. 1 breaker for the lights, 1 for the plugs maybe 1 on its own for the flood light if its a biggun'
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