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Unread 12-02-2019, 04:56 PM   #1
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Switch and light help for beginner


Hello,


Hoping someone out there can help me out or help me where to start.


In my kitchen there is a light in the middle of the room and a light over the sink. Both lights are controlled by two switches in either side of the room.


What I want to do is have one switch control the kitchen light and the other control the light over the sink, in essence split them up.


I did pull the switches out yesterday, each is a red (looks kind of like a GFCI outlet does with the box) and has three wires coming from it. It was wrapped in black tape so i didn't look at the colors of the wires or the connections to the switch.


The light fixture in the kitchen has one cable going into one side of the box and two cables going out the other side. I did not trace them but I'm assuming one goes to the other switch and the other cable goes to the light over the sink.


How would one go about doing this? Where do I start? I have some basic understanding of wiring and have done a little in the house, just basic though.
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Unread 12-02-2019, 05:09 PM   #2
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Re: Switch and light help for beginner


Are you saying both lights turn on and off at the same time and the 2 switches are a 3 way switch?


I'm not completely clear from what you're describing but I think what you're asking to do involves running cables behind drywall. Are you prepared to redo drywall?
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Unread 12-02-2019, 05:14 PM   #3
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Re: Switch and light help for beginner


Quote:
Originally Posted by WillK View Post
Are you saying both lights turn on and off at the same time and the 2 switches are a 3 way switch?


I'm not completely clear from what you're describing but I think what you're asking to do involves running cables behind drywall. Are you prepared to redo drywall?
Yes - either switch will turn on and off both lights.


I'd like to have one switch operate one light instead of both switches operating both lights.


Sorry if I was confusing.
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Unread 12-02-2019, 07:15 PM   #4
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Re: Switch and light help for beginner


From your wiring description it sounds like it can be done.
It sounds like you have four cables into the one fixture box.
Those cables would be.
1. 2 wire = power in
2. 2 wire = power to other light.
3. 3 wire cable to one switch.
4. 3 wire cable to other switch.

If true this will fix it for you.

1. replace both switches with single pole switches connecting to the red and black. Cap the white wire.

In the fixture box.
1. Connect all the white wires together and to the white wire for the fixture in this box.
2. Connect the power in black to the 2 black wires going to the switches in the three wire cables.
3. Connect one red wire to the black from the fixture.
4. Connect the other red wire to the black wire to the other fixture.
MTN REMODEL LLC and Gymschu like this.
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Unread 12-02-2019, 09:03 PM   #5
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There are thee cables in the fixture box

There are two red wires connected to the black wires in the light fixture (I’m assuming those are hot). There are three gold or off white connected to the white wires from the light fixture and there are three black wires connected together and not connected to the light fixture.
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Unread 12-02-2019, 10:00 PM   #6
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Does 1 of the 3 wire cables go to the 2nd light and possibly another 2 conductor cable also in the 2nd light? If so, there is a hot and neutral at the 2nd light as well as the switch leg. Would you consider a fixture with a pull chain switch on it over the sink?
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Unread 12-02-2019, 11:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiredindallas View Post
Does 1 of the 3 wire cables go to the 2nd light and possibly another 2 conductor cable also in the 2nd light? If so, there is a hot and neutral at the 2nd light as well as the switch leg. Would you consider a fixture with a pull chain switch on it over the sink?
The second light has just hot and neutral. I replaced that fixture the other day. It appears to be the end of the line. It’s a LED recessed down light so no pull chain.

I have not traces where the wires going to the light over the sink originates from. My guess is from the box I pictured.
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Unread 12-02-2019, 11:52 PM   #8
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Re: Switch and light help for beginner


You need to confirm the number of cables and the connections in the switch boxes and the other light fixture.
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Unread 12-03-2019, 11:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
You need to confirm the number of cables and the connections in the switch boxes and the other light fixture.
Each switch has one cable attached to it (3 wires). The box in kitchen has two three wires cables and one two wire cable. The light over sink has one cable (two wires).
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Unread 12-03-2019, 11:27 AM   #10
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Re: Switch and light help for beginner


The red wires in the light fixture are switched wires but I can't see how the switched red wires are connected to the other light with only the black and white wires.
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Unread 12-03-2019, 12:04 PM   #11
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Re: Switch and light help for beginner


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The red wires in the light fixture are switched wires but I can't see how the switched red wires are connected to the other light with only the black and white wires.
Is it common for the red switch wires to be connected to the "hot" wires from the light fixture?


There are three white wires (connected to the white wires from light fixture) and three black wires all connected together in the box. I'm guessing one of each of those continue on to the light over the sink.


I'm not sure where the power source comes in.
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Unread 12-03-2019, 12:39 PM   #12
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Re: Switch and light help for beginner


Do these 2 switches act correctly as a 3-way, that is light is on you can switch it off at either switch?
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Unread 12-03-2019, 12:41 PM   #13
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Re: Switch and light help for beginner


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Originally Posted by WillK View Post
Do these 2 switches act correctly as a 3-way, that is light is on you can switch it off at either switch?
Yes. I can turn both lights on and at one switch and turn them both off at the other switch. Or on and off at the same switch.
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Unread 12-03-2019, 01:09 PM   #14
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Re: Switch and light help for beginner


The recessed light... when you say you replaced it, did you replace a light and trim assembly with a wire that went to screw into a socket or did you replace an actual can?
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Unread 12-03-2019, 01:11 PM   #15
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Re: Switch and light help for beginner


A 3 way switch can be set up with a 3 conductor cable going to each switch but the power should be coming in to 1 of the light boxes. If it was coming to the light box in the photo there should be 4 cables and more than 1 wire nut. It seems like from the information available it must be coming to the recessed light.


I don't think that makes sense either though because one of the white wires from each of the cable would have to be used as a traveler and they're both connected to the light neutral .
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Last edited by WillK; 12-03-2019 at 01:14 PM.
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