two lights in sequence glow dimly only if both have working bulbs - why? and how to fix

I just wired two separate lights in a new room in my house. I tried to set up an end of the line switch so current would go through black wires to a switch and then return on white wires. In particular, here is what I did (using 14-2 w/ground):
Panel ------> light1 ------> light2 -------> switch
In light1 there are two 14-2 wires in. Here is how they are are attached:
Black-In pigtailed to Black-Out White-In to one tiny wire on light1 White-Out to the other tiny wire on light1 All grounds pigtailed, to box, etc.
In light2 there are two 14-2 wires in. Here is how they are attached:
Black-In pigtailed to Black-Out White-In to one tiny wire on light2 White-Out to the other tiny wire on light2 All grounds pigtailed, to box, etc.
At the switch there is one wire in. Here is how it is attached:
Black-In to bottom screw on switch White-In to top screw on switch Ground to switch and box, etc.
When the switch is off (open), everything works fine. If I put a detector between the two screws on the switch, it glows. If I check the two whites in light1, there is no current between them. Similarly, there is no current between the two whites in light2.
When the switch is on (closed), there is current between the two whites in light2. That is good. But, there is only current between the two whites on light1 if light2 has a bulb in it (or if I pigtail the two whites in light1 together). In some sense this is correct insofar as, when light2's white lines are pigtailed, light1 gets current in from a white line.
When both light1 and light2 have bulbs, the bulbs glow when they should (when the switch is on) but only very dimly. I am using 100 watt bulbs, and the bulbs are putting out only a very dull glow.
Never having wired an end of the line switch before, I think my problem may be that I am using the lights to connect whites wires. This would explain why light1 does not work at all unless light2 has a bulb in it. That is, light2 does not return current to light1 unless it has a bulb. But, I cannot explain why the bulb's are not glowing very much. There must be too much resistance somewhere. Is the fact that light1 and light2 have tiny wires, and I am using them to connect whites, a problem?
Can someone explain how to fix this? I suspect my wiring is probably close but it certainly is not correct (the circuit is not being used now...)
Thanks,
michael
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fixhouse wrote:

Can't do with the wire you have. You need 14-3 plus ground from light1 to the switch.
White from panel to white on each light (the screw part of the socket) Black to switch from panel. Red from switch to each lamp connected to the hot (center contact of the lamps).
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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Actually, you only need 14-3 from light1 to light2, as the switch does not require a neutral. So you are allowed to use the white conductor in the light2--switch leg as the switched hot.
Cheers, Wayne
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Wayne Whitney wrote:

True.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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You have the bulbs in series. With bulbs of equal wattage half the voltage (60 volts) is across one and half across the other.
I assume you want it wired so both lights can be turne on or off by either switch (a two way switch circuit). First of all you need to get two "single Pole Double Throw" switches.
There are many diagrams on the web:
http://www.handymanusa.com/articles/3wayswitch.html
http://www.diydata.com/planning/twowaylight/twowaylight.htm
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this format, some or all of this message may not be legible.
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040806 2201 - fixhouse posted:

2 wire 3 wire 2 wire Panel ---------------> light1 -------------------> light2 -------------------> switch
At light 1 connect the whites together with the white from the fixture. Connect the black from the panel to the black in the 3 wire. Connect the red to the black from the fixture. Connect all grounds together and fasten to the box. At light 2 connect the red wire to the black wire from the fixture and the black wire from the switch. Connect the black wire from the the 3 wire to the white wire in the 2 wire.
This posting is in HTML.
--B_3174717685_837292 Content-type: text/html; charset="US-ASCII" Content-transfer-encoding
<HTML> <HEAD> <TITLE>Re: two lights in sequence glow dimly only if both have working bulbs - why? and how to fix</TITLE> </HEAD> <BODY> <FONT FACE="Times">040806 2201 - fixhouse posted:<BR> <BR> &gt; I just wired two separate lights in a new room in my house. &nbsp;I tried<BR> &gt; to set up an end of the line switch so current would go through black<BR> &gt; wires to a switch and then return on white wires. &nbsp;In particular, here<BR> &gt; is what I did (using 14-2 w/ground):<BR> &gt; <BR> <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;2 wire &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;3 wire &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;2 wire<BR> Panel ---------------&gt; light1 -------------------&gt; light2 -------------------&gt; switch<BR> <BR> <BR> At light 1 connect the whites together with the white from the fixture. &nbsp;Connect the black from the panel to the black in the 3 wire. &nbsp;Connect the red to the black from the fixture. &nbsp;Connect all grounds together and fasten to the box. &nbsp;At light 2 connect the red wire to the black wire from the fixture and the black wire from the switch. &nbsp;Connect the black wire from the the 3 wire to the white wire in the 2 wire.<BR> <BR> This posting is in HTML.</FONT> </BODY> </HTML>
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you're sure getting off easy. people must be in good mood today.
before you kill yourself, why dont you head down to the library and get a book on home wiring and learn the basics. you will learn how to wire this circuit, how to properly mark white wires as hot, all sorts of neat things.
randy

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(fixhouse) wrote:

Whoa, cowboy, stop right there. Go to the nearest library or home center, and find yourself a book on residential electrical wiring -- or hire an electrician. You DO NOT know enough about what you're doing, to do it safely. What you've done so far is wrong. That you don't understand *why* it's wrong is the matter of greater concern. STOP before you do something really dangerous.
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Sounds like you wired the lights in series. Electrically the switch must be between the panel and the lights. Physically you can put it anywhere you want it. From light one to the switch should have been wired with 14-3 w ground. At light1 connect the 2 wire black to the 3 wire black connect the red to the black wire on the lamp connect the all the white wires together.
At light 2 connect all the red wires to the black wire on the lamp, connect all the white wires to the white lamp wire. connect the black wires in the cable together but not to the lamp.
At the switch connect the red wire to one side of the switch and the black to the other, tape off the end of the white wire.
There are other ways this could be done You only need 12-2 from light 2 to switch You dont really need 3 wire cable if you bring the panel wire to the switch first which is electrically what I did but maintained the phyical layout of your diagram.
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be
connect
switch
of
After giving this some thought I regret giving any kind of instruction on how to do this. You obvioulsy know only enough to get yourself in a lot of trouble. Hire an electrician. I say this only with your saftey in mind.
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