Switch ganging - powering 3 zones

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by TommyHawk, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. TommyHawk

    TommyHawk Extra

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    Hi - How do I turn "power to 1 switch" into "power to 3"?

    As is, I have one single-pole switch controlling the one light in my room. I want to add two zones: rope light and wall sconces, each controlled from their own switch, so a 3-gang wallplate. How do I power all 3?

    This might be a bit remedial; I assume this is as simple as splitting (3 ways) the main power to the switch box, but I need to do it juuuuust right. Is there a good DIY out there, or can you guys gimme the details?

    Thanks much!
     
  2. Brian Osborne

    Brian Osborne Stunt Coordinator

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    Normally your live is fed to your light and the hot side of it is fed through the switch. What you would need to do is first, replace the box that holds your existing light fixture with as big a box as you can find. This way you can get all of your splits in that box and wont require another one. Most code requires that you have access to any and all junctions, so if it is not in an existing box, you would have to be able to get to it, this means an exposed junction box, which is unattractive. So, split your power in feed 3 ways, one to your existing light, one to your rope lights, and one to your wall sconces. The hot side of each of these needs to be fed through the switch so you can control them. If you are using more than one sconce on your wall to control from one switch it becomes a little bit more complicated, but still doable for a DIYer. Draw it out on paper, follow the electricity flow and label all of your wires as to not get them confused. If you understand the basic principals and break your project down into easy to understand steps you will do fine. If you don't have confidence in your work or knowledge I'd hire someone to, at the very least, look at your work before you turn the power back on.
    Good luck!

    check out this site for some good pointers and walk-thrus
    http://www.electrical-online.com/how...les/lights.htm
     
  3. TommyHawk

    TommyHawk Extra

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    Ok, I'll see if the power is running to the switchbox or to the light fixture. If it IS running to the switchbox...

    -pigtail the hot/black wire into 3 and attach one to each switch, and
    -pigtail the neutral/white into 3 and attach one to each switch
    -yes?

    These are Lutron Smart Dimmers, so I'll work out the wiring of the two sconces next.

    Thanks for the link, it was helpful.
     
  4. Brian Osborne

    Brian Osborne Stunt Coordinator

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    No.
    the hot goes through the switch, the nuetral goes to the lights.
    [​IMG]
    And be carefull of your lutron dimmers... most of these dimmers have large boxes. watch to make sure your ground wire is no where near the screwposts and be carefull when installing them that the heatsinks are not near the screwposts.
     
  5. TommyHawk

    TommyHawk Extra

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    Thanks Brian. That's what I should have said - pigtail the neutral/white and run one to the white lead of each light.

    I'll watch the spacing; did you run into any problems with your 4-gang Lutron setup?

    This will work! Can't wait to tell the wife.
     
  6. Brian Osborne

    Brian Osborne Stunt Coordinator

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    Only problem I had was the junction box. I had a box hidden in ceiling separating power, etc. and when I got everything inspected, he told me I had to have access to that box. So I moved it down and put a fiberglass plate on it that could be painted.
    As far as the dimmers themselves, not really a problem, but a caution. Those things are big... If your power is going into your switch box, you may have trouble fitting everything into the box. Mine is tight with just grounds tied together and hot in and out.
    They work great, have em programed on my harmony, couldn't be happier.
     
  7. John Titan

    John Titan Stunt Coordinator

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    Be careful, alot of the time the white wire in the box is used for the hot line going to the load (light, fan ETC.).
    A neutral isn't required for a single pole switch but there must be a neutral wire at the load.

    Example: Say you run a 14-2 (black -white and ground) romex wire to a box on your ceiling. You would hook the white neutral wire to the white wire for the light and the ground to ground of course. But the hot wire would not be hooked up to the hot connection on the light yet. You would run another 14-2 romex wire to your switch and connect the hot wire from the original 14-2 to the switch hot wire. At the switch you would connect the hot wire to switch and use the white wire to return the current to the light. This is a common set-up. The problem is with this set-up there will not be a neutral wire in the switch box.

    In order to run 2 new circuits for rope lights etc. you have to make sure you have a neutral in the switch box.

    This is very hard to explain without a diagram.

    Good luck PM me If you have any more questions.
     

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