Wiring lights

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by prohandymansvc, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. prohandymansvc

    prohandymansvc New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Ohio
    Hi guys. I'm helping a friend wire an old apartment and we're having trouble finding a good diagram on how to wire the ceiling lights and switches. We're going to call a licensed electrician in our area to do the panel but figured we could save some money by setting boxes and pulling wire ourselves.

    Can someone please point us to a simple diagram that takes us from the panel through the lights and switches.

    Thanks,

    RS
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    You should make your own diagram...it will make more sense to you. In its simplest form, here is how it could go:

    A 14/2 cable runs from the panel to the switch. Another piece of 14/2 runs from the switch box to the light.
    Inside the switch box, the two whites are just nutted together. The black from the panel goes to the switch, and the other black picks up the other side of the switch. Now at the light fixture, you have a white common, and a black hot which is switched.

    There are many variations on how the cables could actually be laid out, but your goal is always to have continous connection of the neutral, and switching of the hot.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,058
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    1. Every diagram is unique to the building it applies to, so we cannot give you a generic diagram.
    2. The actual wiring is somewhat intuitive, so if you are having a problem with it, maybe you should not be trying to save the money.
    3. NO ELECTRICIAN is going to connect your wires to his panel until he checks everything to make sure it is correct, and the cost of doing that could be close to what you think you are saving, especially if he is not too concerned about doing the inspection as cheaply as possible.
  4. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
    If the controlled light is a 50 W incand. then use the same size lamp & type in place of the switch until you get the circuit debugged.
    If the both lamps glow dimly, you can put the switch in place.
    Otherwise, if you accidentally wire the switch across the source, from 400 A to 10,000 A flows through the switch in the dozen milliseconds before the breaker trips and the switch is clobbered.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,270
    Location:
    New England
    Keep in mind that, depending on where you live, it is illegal to perform electrical work on a multifamily dwelling without a proper license. You could be in big trouble, not only with the locality, but with your insurance company. I know where I live, I can't legally touch the wiring in my townhome.
  6. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
    Good point: risking your own life is one thing, but risking the safety of non-consenting "innocent civilians" is another.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,058
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    In most areas, the building's management would have rules in place to insure that ONLY licensed and bonded contractors do the work, and it MUST have a city permit and be inspected to protect the current, and all future, residents.
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