Tying together 2 areas

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by ladder13, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. ladder13

    ladder13 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    NY
    Hello. I want my basement lights to operate off 1 switch. Currently, there's a switch at the top of the stairs and at the bottom that turns on the stairwell light. I then need to walk 15 feet to activate a switch to turn on the basement lights. How do I put all 3 switches together to be able to light the staiwell and also light the basement from either of the 3?
    Thanks,Mike
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,126
    Location:
    New England
    Depends on how it is currently wired. Open up the switch for the basement lamps and see if there is more than one cable coming in, then come back. If it's only one, you'd need to splice those together to simulate the switch always on, then break it somewhere else (to remove the existing power) to get the power from the stairwell lamp to power those lamps. More detail once the current switch info is known.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,797
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    From the information you have supplied, we cannot tell you. It depends on HOW the separate circuits are wired and if there is any "common" location where they all come together. But, if you do NOT know how to do it, getting instructions over the Internet is NOT a good way to learn.
  4. ladder13

    ladder13 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    NY
    So in other words you don't want 2 feeds?
  5. ladder13

    ladder13 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    NY
    The only "common" location would be the breaker box.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,126
    Location:
    New England
    It's not good or bad to have two cables, it just determines where you can make the connection. A second cable in the box with the switch generally means power is fed from there. If there's only one, then that is called a switch leg, and it is essentially one wire, connected together when the switch is on. 3-way switches will have at least an extra wire in them, called a traveler, so you can turn the lamps on and off from each location, otherwise, a switch would only open or close (a 3-way switch has two actual switches in it controlled by the lever).

    Unless you can map out the connections and have some understanding, you can quickly get yourself into trouble. It may be best to call a pro. At the least, you need to study where each cable goes and map out how it is being used.
  7. ladder13

    ladder13 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    NY
    Thanks Jim, better left to a pro.
  8. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,793
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    good decision ladder.
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