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Old 12-20-2009, 08:18 PM   #1
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Operate two lights with one switch


I have a switch with a black wire that leads out, and another black leading to a cap. Inside that same cap are two other black wires. Separately, there are copper and white wires...obviously as you can see (pics 100...). I am hoping that some of those will lead to the other light along the same wall. How can I learn if this is so and which wires? Then..how to make it happen? Do I need to add a separate switch? The bedroom pics (BR...) have a two black wire leading out attached to the switch, and two copper and two white leading out attached to nothing). What say you, oh wise electrician types.

Steph
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:08 PM   #2
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This other light is already installed? How is it controlled now?
If it is in that box it will be one of the two black wires in the nut with the short wire. The other wire in the nut will be incoming power. The other black wire on the switch is the light that is currently controlled by the switch.
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:58 PM   #3
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More detail


The first two pics are the switch that operates the light directly outside that door. The second two pics are the switch in my bedroom and operate a light directly outside the door. Both doors exit onto the deck. If I'm in the living room, I want to be able to turn on both lights instead of having to go into the bedroom to turn on the light outside that door.

Steph
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:41 PM   #4
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I guess the first question should have been are they on the same circuit? Does one breaker turn them both off?
If it does then if you disconnect the three black wires does the second switch still operate the light?
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:51 PM   #5
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Ahhh


Aahh. I see. I will check in the morning when I won't be bumping around in the darkness. Now I notice that the switch in here (living room) has all the black wiring, and the switch in the bedroom does not.

I will get back to you.

Thanks.

Steph
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Old 12-21-2009, 06:58 AM   #6
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Turn off just the breaker for the first switch. At said first switch undo the wire nut with the three black wires but leave everything else connected.

Turn the power back on and see what is still dead (receptacles, etc). If the only things that are dead are the two outside lights then you can do the project almost as you want. Otherwise stop here and replace the wire nut you took off. You need to string more wires to make it happen.

WIth the power back on, only one of the three wires you undid will be live as the incoming power (measure from it to neutral). If two are live, stop and call an electrician. Label it, turn off the power, then take this wire and a spare piece of black wire (pigtail) and wire nut the two together. Leave the old pigtail already on the switch attached and unhook the other wire from the switch. Put the new pigtail on the vacant switch terminal. Wire nut together the three remaining loose ends i.e. the hot continuation (daisy chain), presumed to go only to the second switch, the continuation to the inside light, and the old pigtail (the latter feeds switched power to the first two).

Now the first switch is a master switch for both outside lights and the second switch controls the bedroom outside light when the first switch (and inside light) is on.
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Old 12-21-2009, 06:24 PM   #7
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Each light/switch is connected to its own breaker.
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Old 12-21-2009, 06:27 PM   #8
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Then you must run new cables between the two light switch boxes or the the two fixtures to achieve your goal.
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Old 12-21-2009, 06:41 PM   #9
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I would look into using X10 switches. I use them and like them.
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Old 12-21-2009, 06:53 PM   #10
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Thanks


Thanks everyone. Running cable in out of my area of expertise. Oh well.

Though just out of curiosity, if they are not connected to the same breaker, why does one switch have so much junk in it and other doesn't?
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Old 12-21-2009, 06:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sadears View Post
Thanks everyone. Running cable in out of my area of expertise. Oh well.

Though just out of curiosity, if they are not connected to the same breaker, why does one switch have so much junk in it and other doesn't?
Just happens to be where and how the elcetrician ran wires for the house.
One switch could be at the end of the run, while at the other switch power needs to continue someplace else.
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