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Hotwire2012
Hotwire2012, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 60
Experience:  Residential, Farm, & Commercial installation and service!
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how do I wire two lights to one switch when the power comes

Customer Question

how do I wire two lights to one switch when the power comes to the first light?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Hotwire2012 replied 2 years ago.

Hotwire2012 :

Hello my name isXXXXX will be glad to assist you. In your ceiling box you should find that a white wire is tied in with black wire (possibly more than one black wire in the joint ) this would be the hot for that circuit, You will NOT attach anything at this point leave it as is. You will also see in the ceiling box black wire that is attached to the light fixture black this is where you will tie your black feeding your second light light fixture be sure the light fixture at this point/box is attached here as well, you will also find a white that is attached to your light fixture, this is where you will attach your white for your second light fixture. be sure the light fixture at this point/box is attached here as well and of course all grounds/greens tie together. Please let me know if this makes sense or if you need further clarification. If you do need further assistance simply reply to this topic and I will answer as soon as possible. Thanks, Justin

Hotwire2012 :

Does this make sense? Do you feel like you need a further explanation?


 

Customer:

I am about to look at the wiring to the first light, which is existing and has the power coming to it and then is goes to the switch. From your stuff above, I am confused about how to wire the actual switch. Would you mind clarifying that for me?

Hotwire2012 :

Sure, give me just a few and I will try to draw you a sketch of the entire circuit.

Customer:

Thank you that would really help me. The power comes to the first light, then a wire goes from there to the switch. I want to add a second light also controlled by that same switch.

Hotwire2012 :

Full Size Image


 

Hotwire2012 :

I understand this is a very elementary drawing but I can go through it with you and I think it will make sense.


 

Customer:

I want to double check my understanding of the diagram. The black wire coming out from Light #1 should connect to the white wire that goes to the switch.

Customer:

The black wire of the switch should connect to the black wire of light 2. And the white wire of light 2 connects to the white wire of light 1. All the ground wires are connected together. Do I have that right?

Hotwire2012 :

those 2 wires coming in from the top of the drawing would be your power wires. If you notice the black with power ties to the white going to the switch which means you will feed the switch on the white wire, your power will return from the switch on the black wire to the first light box, at this point you will tie that black to the light fixture and to the black wire feeding the 2nd light fixture. Your white wire that enters with the power wire will tie to the white that feeds to the 2nd light, and to the light fixture at the first location. All greens will tie together and tie to green/ground of light fixture


 

Hotwire2012 :

Let me do a different drawing.

Hotwire2012 :

Full Size Image


 

Hotwire2012 :

Ok You will notice the power wires, take the black power wire tie it to the white that goes down to the switch, cap these off and put in back of box your done with them, you will have a black wire coming back from switch and a black wire feeding to light 2 these tie together, You will have a white wire in the same cable with the black power wire, this white will tie to white feeding light 2, this leaves you with grounds they tie together,


 

Hotwire2012 :

At the switch location, You will only have a black white and ground, black goes to top screw on switch, and white to bottom screw on switch, and ground to green screw on switch. As long as you have ground to green screw, the other 2 you cannot get wrong as long as one is on one screw and the other on the other screw

Hotwire2012 :

Does this clarify?


 

Hotwire2012 :

Now as far as your light fixtures are concerned light 2 should be simple, black to black, white to white and ground to ground, and your done, Light fixture 1 you will find the joint with the 2 black wires (one from the switch and 1 feeding light 2) this is where the black from the light fixture will tie, you will find you have a joint with 2 whites ( one feeding light 2 and the one in the cable with the power wire) this is where your white of the light fixture will tie, and all grounds tie together.


 

Customer:

I am wondering if another approach would be better for me to try. I will leave light #1 and its switch alone. I have an outlet with power near light #2. How would I wire a new switch that would control the old light #2?

Hotwire2012 :

Ok from the plug run a cable to the new switch box, the cable should match in size to what you have in the current outlet (ie 14-2 or 12-2) In the out let the new cable will tie color for color, black to where black is connected and white to where white is connected, ground to ground, In the switch box you need to run another piece of cable up to your new light, should be same size again (14-2 or 12-2 depending on whats in your outlet) once you do this you will have 2 cables in the switch box. In switch box, whites tie together and your done with them, grounds tie together and run a piece to green screw on switch, 1 black goes to one brass screw on switch, other black goes to the other brass screw on switch, you cant get the blacks in wrong place, as long as one is on one screw and other is on the other screw. now in the light box, you should have black white and ground, your light fixture will tie color for color black to black, white to white and ground to ground, and that is it. Please let me know if this makes sense or if you need further clarification.

Customer:

Sounds logical. I will start the actual wiring in about 30 minutes or so.

Hotwire2012 :

ok, again let me know if you need further assistance.


 

Customer:

got it done. Thank you

Hotwire2012, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 60
Experience: Residential, Farm, & Commercial installation and service!
Hotwire2012 and other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Hotwire2012 replied 2 years ago.
Great, You are very welcome, If you are satisfied with my answer please accept and a positive rating is appreciated, if you still need further clarification please let me know. Thanks, Justin

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