Wiring Switches

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Gary TP, Feb 3, 2004.

  1. Gary TP

    Gary TP Stunt Coordinator

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    Is there any way to turn a 3-way switch into controlling two seperate light sets?

    In other words, I have 2 light switches near the door - one controlled the fan light, and the other controlled the fan. I'm going to remove them and use that power to run recessed lighting...

    The problem is, after inspecting the wiring it looks as though I have only one set of wires coming in and coming out and the switches are '3-way'. I was under the impression that I can't control two different sets of recessed lighting with this setup despite the fact that I have 2 switches (because they are both not dedicated runs)

    Here's how it looks:
    Wiring Diagram

    Is there any way to run 2 sets with this hardware by just having ALL of the lights on (both sets) and then just use the red wire to control (dim) one set of them?

    Something like this:
    Lighting Layout
     
  2. marc_manny

    marc_manny Stunt Coordinator

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    Remember that anytime you do any kind of wiring that it must be up to code. Just because something can be done doesn't mean it should be.

    I would talk to a local electrician and see what can be done. It might be easier to run 2 new lines to the seperate lighting.

    Dimmers light switches run off of a 2 wire system (black and white). If your recessed lighting is halogen I would not recommend using a dimmer. The transformer for the halogens will not like this and you will get a constant hum from them.

    Marc
     
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Gary,

    To clear up some possible confusion: Three-way switches have three terminals (not counting one for ground). However, they can be used as two-way (standard on/off) switches. In that case, one of the three terminals would be vacant. If all three terminals are used, then there will be another pair of switch somewhere across the room that would also switch the light and fan.

    If I understand your diagram right, the bottom wire is the feed, and the top wire (with the red and black) goes up to the light/fan. If that’s the case, then your switches are wired for normal on/off use. The wiring you’ve shown would not support three-way switches (i.e., a second set across the room). Three-way switches would require a third cable that would go directly from one switch location to the other.

    That said, everything looks fine. The bottom wire (the feeder) splits off the hot lead (black) too both of the switches, as it should. If you want two light zones, you will not have a problem accomplishing it. One zone will be the old fan lead, the other the old fan light. You can put a dimmer on whichever one you want – no problem.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  4. KenA

    KenA Stunt Coordinator

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    Your wiring is fine. Its actually a very efficient way to power separate loads at the same junction box. You have a couple of options from here. If you just want to control one light, cap off the red wire and use the black and white for the replacement light. If you want to power two lights with two switches, run a two conductor cable from the current light to the new location. Connect the new cable to the red and white and connect the current light to the black and white. The white wire will be common. If you want the same switch to control multiple lights, cap off the red and daisy chain all of the lights to the black and white. Make sure you check the amp rating of the circuit and do not exceed it.
     

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