I think so - the OP's referring to a two-gang switch I think! (or maybe
Antgel: a two-way switch is one which lets you control a light from two
locations, typically on the landing (ie up and downstairs); a two-gang
switch is a faceplate which has two switches on it (the switches could
be one-way or two-way!)
To convert to a one-gang to a two-gang switch isn't entirely
straightforward I'm afraid; basically you'll need to replicate the
cables going to the original switch. Imagine if you wanted to do the
same job, but installing another one-gang switch a couple of feet away:
that would be exactly the same level of work required.
So without going into all the details, assuming you have conventional
wiring, the main requirement will be for a second cable to be wired into
the switch, up the wall and into the ceiling space above the light
fitting. Do you need more info, or is that enough for you to know it's
not going to happen?!!
Indeed I am referring to a two-gang switch. And it could very well
happen. I'm in the process of hacking my ceiling to install projector
So you're saying that I need to run two new cables, one from the switch
to each of the two lights?
What cables are in the switch already?
If there is just a single cable (Containing a black or blue, red or brown
and bare wire) you will need to run another one of these from the switch
into the ceiling.
Can you get access to the light fittings from above?
Also, what sort of fittings are there presently - ceiling roses or
something different? If you've got ceiling roses, how many cables are
wired in to each one? I'd expect one to have several (call this light
"A") and one to have just one cable (light "B") because B will simply be
piggy-backed on to light A, so that it goes on and off at the same time
You need to get a cable to run from light "B" all the way down to the
switch; and finally the 'piggy-back' cable connecting to light "A" needs
to be wired differently in order to energise light "B" continuously
rather than just when light "A" is switched on.
If you don't have roses, how many cables come through the ceiling - just
one for each fitting? If so, the connections will presumably be in
junction boxes above the ceiling, instead, and it's not so immediately
obvious which light is A and which is B.
Five actually, I could get my hands were my father couldn't get his
But I don't call my self an expert by any means, although I've done
quite a bit of both domestic and 'industrial'  3ph wiring - the one
thing I always do if I don't understand things is ask first before I
risk making mistakes that could prove fatal to others.
20 odd tears ago in a voluntary organisation.
Oh yes I agree, but sometimes those question and answers are coming
*after* work has started, when the person doing the work obviously
doesn't have a clue to start the job - no problem with people asking
how to do the job, I just wish that they would ask first and be
realistic about their abilities...
Perhaps you missed part of the thrust of my question, i.e. since what
the OP is doing is outside the scope of part P anyway (i.e. a minor
work) how is it supposed to help? Part P makes the law into an ass
whichever way you look at it.
You do raise an intersting question however: How are we to be
"realistic" about our abilities without knowing where the limits of
those lay? How do we test where those are without actually attempting to
do something and reaching them? Surely reaching the limits of ones
abilities is not a significant event in itself, what we do next however
is significant (e.g. seek help, give up, press on regardless). In an
ideal world we could research every step of a job from start to finish
before starting, but the real world has a habit of not being so
Enough already with the "past his abilities" stuff! ;P
I'm not entirely clueless and do understand basic safety with electricity.
I also know a fair bit about electricity at a slightly lower level from an
engineering degree many years ago. From that, I know I'm not likely to set
the neighbourhood alight by connecting a cable in a lighting circuit to see
what happens. I'm also not dumb enough to leave something in place if I
don't think it's right. Thus my original post.
The only reason I've run into difficulties here is because of impractical
house design and the impossibility of doing something right without
destroying my kitchen :(
Isn't this work in a kitchen area and thus comes under Part P ?
There does seem to be some confusion about basic feeds, switched feeds
and (neutral) returns though, if someone can't get to grips with what
needs to be present already were they wish to extend the circuit from
that to me suggests that they need to learn considerably more before
they start altering existing wiring.
Again, this came around out of trying to add a second light where one was
needed while that side of the ceiling was being re-decorated. Unfortunately
the other side wasn't and I really don't want to destroy it. There is no
part of the lighting loop available to me at all to take feed from for this
switch. I therefore dangled the cable down, connected it up, tried it ...
and it didn't work. I disconnected it and posted here to make sense of what
I'd done and why it didn't work - which I now perfectly understand.
My only option now really is to take a fused feed from the ring main
junction box by my boiler, which I can reasonably well conceal up to the
switch after digging myself a little trench in the plaster ... which I
fortunately haven't papered over yet in that area.
That is my point, you tried something that basic knowledge said could
not be done, you shouldn't have even tried it - what if this
'exercise' had not be as harmless as you thought or indeed it turned
out to be ?
My point is, you should have posted here first surely, but then basic
circuit knowledge should have told you all you need to know...
Or consider doing the job correctly, irrespective of what need
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