Home>Discussions>ELECTRICAL & LIGHTING>How to Install switch to operate two lights.
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RISurfer
How to Install switch to operate two lights.

The situation.

In the basement I have 2 lights and want to install a switch. I need the one switch to operate both lights. Sure it would be easy if I could run the power source to the switch but the wiring goes directly to the light fixtures.

Source => Light 1 => Light 2

Any help would be appreciated.

canuk
Re: How to Install switch to operate two lights.

Need a little more information.

Are these 2 existing lights operated by a pull chain ? ( I'm suspecting so )

Are they currently supplied by seperate circuits ?

JLMCDANIEL
Re: How to Install switch to operate two lights.

Grounding is omitted for clarity but should be connected together.
White wire should be redesignated as hot with black marker.
Jack

RISurfer
Re: How to Install switch to operate two lights.

Thanks for the replys. Yes the lights are pull chains. I have 4 in may basement all located on one circuit. Two lights on one side and two on the other side of the basement. I would like to operate two switches to turn on and off two seperate sides (2 light fixtures) of the basement.

I figure I will utilze the power to the light fixtures and place a switch in between two lights using 14/3 wire and do the same for the opposite side???

I do have a different circuit that operates the receptacles. I guess I could run wire from the receptacle to a switch to the lights but I would have to re wire the basement ceiling.

I am looking for the easiest way to accomplish this.
Any help and suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

RISurfer
Re: How to Install switch to operate two lights.

Basicly I guess I will follow the diagram by McDaniel for each side of the basment.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: How to Install switch to operate two lights.

That diagram is for one switch controlling the two lights. Are you talking about two switches?
Jack

RISurfer
Re: How to Install switch to operate two lights.

I have 4 lights in the basement connected to one circuit. They are pull chains all on one wire. I want to control one side of lights (2 lights on left and 2 on right) with two seperate switches. One switch to control the right and one switch to control the left lights.

The diagram provided can achieve this correct? Or do I need to run wire from the receptacles to two different switches to control the right vs. left lights and therefore box up the original circuit running in the ceiling.
Thanks for the help.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: How to Install switch to operate two lights.

Pull the cable between 2 and 3 and install new cable between 1 and 4.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: How to Install switch to operate two lights.
deadshort wrote:

It must be the water in Ohio..........? I shake my head at the brilliance. The thought of switching an electrical conductor on or off is revolutionary.

Do you think i can try this at home? Currently I just screw bulbs in and out when light is needed..... or not.

I don't know, down here in the boonies we still use coal oil lamps we have found a much better use for copper.
Jack

RISurfer
Re: How to Install switch to operate two lights.

McDaniel thanks for the help and diagrams.

I am a little confused. Can I keep the existing 2 wire in the ceiling?

I figured I could run the power to the 1st fixture and the 2 wire to the 2nd fixture(existing wire). I would add a 3 wire to a switch from the 1st and 2nd fixture. Run the 2 wire to the 3rd and 4th fixture (existing wire). Then add another 3 wire to another switch from the 3rd and 4th fixture. Done?

The only additions would be adding a 3 wire betwen the fixtures and from the fixtures to switches? Can I use the current wires?

Thanks for your help!

canuk
Re: How to Install switch to operate two lights.
RISurfer wrote:

I have 4 lights in the basement connected to one circuit. They are pull chains all on one wire. I want to control one side of lights (2 lights on left and 2 on right) with two seperate switches. One switch to control the right and one switch to control the left lights.

The diagram provided can achieve this correct? Or do I need to run wire from the receptacles to two different switches to control the right vs. left lights and therefore box up the original circuit running in the ceiling.
Thanks for the help.

It's common around here to find the power was fed to basement lights from a receptacle in an upstairs room --- typically would be at the end of those circuits. This would be evident by the cable suppling the power coming from above to the light fixture box.

Personally --- I usually route power from the service panel to the basement lights since the panel is usually located in the basement and reduces the draw on the circuit upstairs.

If you decide to go this route and is the way mentioned above --- you will need to disconnect the cable that feeds the lights from an upstairs circuit. Find the source receptacle and shut the power off.

Disconnect the conductors from both the source receptacle and the light fixture ---- twist the white and black together cap with a wire nut --- wrap electrical tape around them --- done this way at both ends of the cable.

Or --- cut the conductors that feed the basement lights flush inside the upstairs receptacle box --- cut the whole cable in the basement flush with the flooring above.

Since you have receptacles already in the basement it would be simple and easy to cable a supply from a receptacle to the switch --- a 14/2 from the switch to light 1 -- 14/2 from light 1 to light 2
.
Disconnect the cable from 2-3

The same applies to the other two lights.
Supply to the switch --- 14/2 from the switch to light 4 --- 14/2 between 3 & 4

I like to have the light circuit seperate from receptacles . This way if a device plugged into a recetacle trips the breaker it doesn't affect the lights ---- you're not roaming in the dark trying to get to the service panel.

This way will require a breaker to added to the service panel and a cable run.
It could be wired as Jack's diagram shows --- just make sure the first box is large enough to accomodate eight conductors.

The choice is yours.

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