How to wire a switch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Subject: Easy wiring question Date: Saturday, December 10, 2005 6:29 AM
I am going to wire a new room in a basement. There will be a dedicated circuit for it. I want to have a switch to control wall lighting but not control the wall outlets. Do I have to split the circuit before the switch to do this or is there another easy way?
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It's hard to judge; but if someone has ask a question as basic as this; it is strongly (and respectfully) suggested "get a competent electrician" or do it yourselfer to do it with you!
It would be quite possible to answer this, in good faith, for it to be misunderstood and for the OP to end up with something unsafe, miswired, not in accordance with electrical codes that would be rejected by their home insurance company.
We've seen so many posts here along the lines of "I wired up the lights in my .............. When I throw the switch ................ the lights go dim/don't come on etc. etc. etc." Possibly circuits with switches in the neutral lead, fixtures/boxes not properly grounded (e.g. what's the bare wire for??????) Also: Circuit works but one suspects the circuit is actually using the ground conductor to carry current etc. etc.
This not be uncooperative. Just recommend safety.
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Taking it a step further, how is the circuit laid out? Do you want the lights to go out when you plug in something and the breaker trips? You'd want two circuits down there, not just one.
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That really is so basic you probably are not the person who should be doing this. Get a pro or find a friend with some wiring experience to help you. At the very least get a good DIY wiring book, study it, and then leave everything open with switches and receptacles hanging out (unpowered) and let someone knowledgable look it over before you push them into the boxes. Surely you will know someone with at least a little know-how.
If you are actually going to add a breaker to the panel yourself be aware that if you open it parts of it will still be hot even with the main breaker turned off. This is really not for you.
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Yeah, my usual advice is simple.
If you do not know what you are doing, don't do it.
Charlie
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Try a Web search:
http://www.indepthinfo.com/wire-switch/index.shtml
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Rich256 wrote:

Reading the question, it'd be better if he did not do the wiring. First I wouldn't feed light fixtures and wall outlets from one circuit.(is it OK on code?) Worst case of doing something improper is fire, electrocution, death. And insurance won't cover it if they found out. Tony
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I don't know what the Code says nowadays either. But it certainly *can* be done safely especially if we are only talking about a couple of fixtures drawing maybe 1 or 2 A a piece.
If this new room has several outlets on different walls I think it would be more useful to put some of them on one circuit and the others plus the light fixtures on another circuit rather than fixtures on one, outlets on another. But, again, I don't know what the Code's opinion is. My way gives the room more practical ampacity plus if you do trip a circuit the entire room doesn't go dark.
Disclaimer: Opinion only
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On Sun, 11 Dec 2005 00:48:43 GMT, Steve Kraus

But trip the other one and it does. You could divide the light fixtures too.

--
15 days until the winter solstice celebration

Mark Lloyd
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What about after he sells the house and some future owner wants to plus his Plasma TV into it while having lights on at the same time? This is why we have a building code, houses outlive owners unless they're wired incorrectly. Then it's a toss-up.

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I don't know what the draw is on a plasma TV but for sake of discussion if it's over about 10A or so it probably needs a dedicated single outlet circuit of its own. The planned arrangement per the OP has more than one outlet on the circuit and that would be inadequate for such a high draw item whether the fixtures are on that circuit or not. In reality of course no changes would be made unless there were frequent nuisance trips. If another outlet on the same circuit has a powerful home theatre audio system plugged into it that will likely be the case. But if the 2nd outlet is just running a floor lamp then probably not. In that case it would make little difference in a practical sense if instead of a floor lamp it was a permanent fixture.

Yes but we're still talking about wiring protected by breakers that trip on overloads.
I grew up mostly in a house that had, besides the dedicated circuits for the fridge & washer outlet, A/C, garbage disposer, kitchen counter outlets, and later a garage circuit (the dryer being Main #2 by itself) just 2 circuits: One for the living room and one taking care of all three bedrooms and two bathrooms. And this was not an ancient house either...circa 1957. So by comparison any provision of individual circuits for different rooms or multiple circuits for different sets of outlets in the same room would be a great improvement (not that we had that many trips). A circuit just for a couple of sconces sounds downright luxurious; necessary if the Code requires it but IMHO hardly a necessity if it does not.
Disclaimer: Opinion only.
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wrote:

If you dont know how to wire a switch, I highly recommend getting an electrician, or at least some friend or relative that knows something about wiring. I'm just being honest, because if you dont know basic wiring, you are likely to get electricuted or cause a fire hazzard. However, if you really want to learn to DIY, get some books on wiring and learn all the basics. Then find someone that has done wiring and have them assist you.
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