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Thread: Quick question on adding to 3 way light

  1. #1
    DIY Member ironspider's Avatar
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    Default Quick question on adding to 3 way light

    Greetings all, I have a quick question to verify something I'm working on.

    We have a hallway that, currently, has one light which is controlled by two three way switches (one at each end of the hallway). The current wiring setup is that power comes into the first 3-way switchbox via a 14/2 romex cable. Then it is has a 14/3 wire going out to the light. From there, a 14/3 wire continues and terminates at the other end of the hallway in a 3-way switch box.

    Our plan is to replace the crappy single light with 4 recessed lights. So, I'm trying to get an accurate description of how the wiring would work? Like a diagram or "at the first light connect this to this and this to that and then this wire leaves the box and arrives at light #2 and is connected in this manner. When leaving the last box and heading to the end of run switch it is wired like this" for "4 lights controlled by 2 3-way switches. Power at first switch, last switch is end of run"

    I have plenty of 14/3 and 14/2 so I'm not looking to do anything funky so I can just use 14/2.

    I guess I'm pleading to be told "how do I finish the wiring diagram in the attached image?"

    Thanks in advance gang!
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by ironspider; 09-21-2012 at 08:32 AM.

  2. #2
    DIY Member ironspider's Avatar
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    I left the grounds out of the diagram since they are obviously all connected together. Grey is the neutral.

  3. #3
    DIY Member ironspider's Avatar
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    Actually, I just got up into the box for the existing light and I'm a bit perplexed--but I think to my advantage (for once right?).

    As you can see from the attached picture, there are NO red wires in the ceiling light box. I don't know how this works since there are red wires in both the switch box the 14/2 comes into AND the switch box the 14/3 ends in. I just replaced both switches (one with a dimmer) and they control the light perfectly. I can dim and switch off/on from both switch positions as before.

    SO... I guess my question now is "can is just simply pigtail 14/2 to the black and white coming off the existing light? And run that to each of the new lights? I would assume yes, no brainer, but I thought it would be good to check in lest I am missing something obvious!Name:  DSC00381.jpg
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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    That plus the ground to each light from the existing one. They apparently ran directly from one three way to the other, then back to the light with a "switched hot" and neutral.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member kreemoweet's Avatar
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    So what are all those other black & white wires for in the light outlet box? If it was wired as you are speculating, there should only be 1 cable (black + white + ground)
    coming into that box. Better figure it all out & trace those wires before you hook anything up to them.

  6. #6
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironspider View Post
    Actually, I just got up into the box for the existing light and I'm a bit perplexed--but I think to my advantage (for once right?).

    As you can see from the attached picture, there are NO red wires in the ceiling light box. I don't know how this works since there are red wires in both the switch box the 14/2 comes into AND the switch box the 14/3 ends in. I just replaced both switches (one with a dimmer) and they control the light perfectly. I can dim and switch off/on from both switch positions as before.

    SO... I guess my question now is "can is just simply pigtail 14/2 to the black and white coming off the existing light? And run that to each of the new lights? I would assume yes, no brainer, but I thought it would be good to check in lest I am missing something obvious!Name:  DSC00381.jpg
Views: 283
Size:  60.1 KB
    Based on your statements in the first post and the picture here I would say that the circuit is installed to the light with a 14/2 switch leg going to one switch and 14/3 connecting the two switches together.

    You are correct that to connect the can lights to the same black and white wires that now supply the fixture will be all that is needed to be done in order to make the new can lights work.

    You will need to put a blank cover over the box and not try to cover it with any type of finish in case you ever need to get back into the box.

    On a side note please understand that the can lights no matter how many will not light the entire hall as good as one surface mounted fixture and they will cost more to use. Can lights will light straight down and not radiate out like a surface fixture.

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