14 and 12 gauge wiring problem

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compliant. All junction and outlet boxes are supposed to be accesssible, and this one obviously isn't. A mirror or other non-removable covering over a box should be cut out to the edges of the boxes and the fixture should cover the opening. Of course, lots of people figure codes are just to make more money for the electricians!
Don Young
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If the light fixture itself is rated as a junction box, then no box is needed in the wall. This usually is the case with fluorescent fixtures into which the cable is led via a small hole; such fixtures have no mounting provision for an octagon box. If the fixture has been made to mount on an octagon box, then of course it ought to have been mounted on one, which would require a much larger hole in the mirror.
Assuming the OP is in the US, he might find a solution using the 12/2/2 cable that I hear is available there; use one pair to feed the receptacle on a 20A breaker and the other pair would junction onto the old 14/2 to go to the light on a 15A breaker. A huge waste of copper and he's already pulled 12/2 to the outlet, so this is not an appealing solution, but it might be a consideration for someone else who's facing a similar spot.
(If the OP happens to be in Canada, he needs to remember that Canadian code mandates 15A breakers on any circuit containing a lighting fixture, even if it's all wired 12-ga.)
To my mind the worst of it is the junction box in the ceiling. That's going to require a cover plate, a monument to the original bad work.
Chip C Toronto
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The 8 light vanity bar light was adhered to the mirror with mastic or glue. The existing wire comes out of the box, through the hole in the mirror, then out through the fixture hole, which has a grommet. Are you saying I can drill through fixture and mirror opening and into the electrical box to make a hole, then just snake the wire down through this new hole and just let it come out of the fixture the way the existing one is doing now? That might be do-able.
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Well, I don't know about making your own hole in the bar. I'd be more comfortable using it as the manufacturer had it certified.
But yeah, as I understand it, if the fixture bar is a totally enclosed box, with a grommeted hole for entry of the romex, then there normally isn't a junction box at all. The cable can run within the wall, out through a hole in the wall (ie, wallboard+mirror), and in through the grommeted hole, which obviously needs to be exactly aligned with the hole in the wall. Then you make the connections to the fixture's internal wiring within the bar, which must be accessible from the front somehow. I've only seen this with fluorescent fixtures but I've never installed a bathroom light bar.
Here's a blog from someone who is replacing such a fixture with one that needs a junction box: http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/elect/rough_in/remodel/j_boxes/ceiling4/pvc.htm . In the first picture you can see the cabling emerging from a small hole in the ceiling. This is, I believe, correct, for an appropriate fixture. In this case, there ought not to be (or does not need to be) any junction box in the ceiling at all. CERTAINLY if there is a box there must be no splice made in it, the cable should be continuous all the way back to the prior accessible junction (switch, other fixture, etc.)
My guess is that there is a junction box behind the mirror dating from some original over-mirror fixture; and when the new big mirror went up, they spliced a short pigtail within that box and led it through the hole in the new mirror. See if you can push a long nail through the hole and figure out whether there's a box there or not.
Chip C Toronto
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push the existing wires inside out of the way, then drill through the grommet hole/fixture/mirror/wallboard and through the box.
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Mikepier wrote: ...

Too many "the hole"'s...I have no clue what the arrangement is or what the objective is any more from this.
But, if the new hole includes a cable clamp that part would be ok.
There's no real provision against adding a hole in an existing box, but it'll be a pita to do it by drilling thru some other small hole and highly prone to damaging whatever else is already in there so that part I'd not recommend.
IIRC this is an outside wall? What's the siding material? If you're adamant you're not going to take this fixture down and access it that way, if it's simply siding of some sort, going in that way isn't necessarily much worse than drywall.
Again, I can't envision what you're trying to do from the above -- a picture somewhere could be worth more than the thousands of words already expended...
--
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On Tue, 16 Sep 2008 16:00:37 -0700 (PDT), Mikepier

If your lighting fixture exceeds 1500 watts, replace the 14g with 12g or select a lower wattage fixture. It is best to have separate outlet and lighting circuits.
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