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Thread: 2 lights on same circuit controlled by 2 switches

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member lynams's Avatar
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    Lightbulb 2 lights on same circuit controlled by 2 switches

    I have a 3 switch plate on my wall. One switch is for an indoor light switch ( 3 wire, as there are 2 on the same line). The other 2 switches are two separate outdoor light fixtures. I am replacing 2 outdoor (motion sensor) light fixtures that are controlled by 2 switches. Originally, the two lights were connected together by a very thin, 3-connector(?) flat cable which is also being replaced. The first light when replaced by itself worked, but when I turned both switches on it now stops working. I am still trying to get the first one (closer to the switch) to work.
    The old flat cable did not have colored wires, didnot help me with how the two lights were connected, except the middle wire was wired around the cable itself, or not used.
    How do I make sure I have them connected right and both to operate?
    THANKS.

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member kreemoweet's Avatar
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    You look at the installation instructions that came with the fixtures!

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Thin flat wires are not typical for line voltage. WIthout being there, it's hard to say if the original installation was correct.

    Basically, if one light works, you'd parallel the wires (black/white/ground or hot/neutral/ground) from one to the other. Thin, flat wires may be low-voltage control cable from the remote sensor to the light fixture, not power.

    Hard to say without being there.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    From your description, we do not know if those are even "3 way switches", or how you are wiring the lights and switches together. WE would need a lot more information to even try to diagnoes the problem.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  5. #5
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynams View Post
    I have a 3 switch plate on my wall.
    Is this three switches in one box or what?
    Quote Originally Posted by lynams View Post
    One switch is for an indoor light switch ( 3 wire, as there are 2 on the same line).
    Three wire? Is this one black one white and one bare and two what on the same line and what is the line?
    Quote Originally Posted by lynams View Post
    The other 2 switches are two separate outdoor light fixtures. I am replacing 2 outdoor (motion sensor) light fixtures that are controlled by 2 switches. Originally, the two lights were connected together by a very thin, 3-connector(?) flat cable which is also being replaced.
    If the two lights were on two different switches why would the very thin three conductor be doing between these two fixtures that are on two different switches?
    Quote Originally Posted by lynams View Post
    The first light when replaced by itself worked, but when I turned both switches on it now stops working. I am still trying to get the first one (closer to the switch) to work.
    If it worked why are you still trying to get it to work?
    Quote Originally Posted by lynams View Post
    The old flat cable did not have colored wires, didnot help me with how the two lights were connected, except the middle wire was wired around the cable itself, or not used.
    Again why were these two connected together if they were on two different switches?
    Quote Originally Posted by lynams View Post
    How do I make sure I have them connected right and both to operate?
    Maybe if you could post pictures of the switches we could help but your post doesn’t make any sense.
    Quote Originally Posted by lynams View Post
    THANKS.
    Your welcome

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