­

Wiring Ceiling Fixtures with Switches

Depending on which way is easier to run cable, you can wire a ceiling fixture with the power coming into the fixture box, or with power coming into the switch. Here, the type of fixture doesn’t matter. Whether it is a flush-mounted light, track lighting, a chandelier, or a ceiling fan, the rough wiring to the fixture is the same.

1. Begin making connections. NOTE: Shut off power. Install fixture and switch box, if they do not already exist . Find a junction box that has power from a circuit you can use. Run two-wire cable from the junction box to the fixture box, and from the fixture box to the switch. Connect the ground wires as shown. Connect all the black wires as shown. Note how the black wire picks up power at the junction box and carries it to the fixture box, then on to the switch

2. Complete the connections. Mark the white wire running from the switch box to the fixture box with black tape on both ends. Attach one end to the switch. At the fixture box, connect the black-taped white wire to the black fixture wire, and the untapped white wire to the white fixture wire. At the junction box, connect all white wires together.

Wiring Two Ceiling Fixtures

In this wiring configuration, power comes to the switch first, then goes to one or more fixtures by extending the run from one to the next. If you have multiple fixtures on a single line, make sure the wattage or amperage total of fixtures on the line doesn’t exceed the maximum indicated on the body of the switch or what’s available on that fuse or breaker.

1. Begin making connections. NOTE: Shut off power. Install fixture boxes and a switch box, if they do not already exist . Find a junction box that has power from a circuit you can use. Run two-wire cable from the junction box to the fixture box , and from the fixture box to the next fixture box. Connect the ground wires. At the switch box, hook both black wires to the terminals. The current in the black wires passes through the switch, which can allow it to flow (on) or stop (off).

2. Complete the connections. At the switch box, connect the two white wires together. At the first fixture box, connect all three black wires together, and connect all three white wires together. At the second fixture box, connect the black wires together, and connect the white wires together. Note that you also can control two or more fixtures with the power coming to the fixture, but it’s more complicated. Route the power and connect the second fixture’s black wire to the black-taped white wire in the first fixture box.

Wiring Fixtures with Separate Switches

If you are installing ceiling fixtures and a switch box, with a little more work you can provide individual switches for the fixtures. Use a two-gang box for the switches and run three-wire cable between the fixtures and to the switch. Power comes to the fixtures by means of two-wire cable. Electricians are fond of three-wire cable because in many instances it allows you to run one cable instead of two.

1. Begin making connections. NOTE: Shut off power. Install fixture boxes and a switch box, if they do not already exist . Run two-wire cable from a junction box to the first fixture box. Run three-wire cable from the first to the second fixture box, and from there to the switch box. Connect all ground wires as shown, using green connectors. Bring power to the switches by connecting the black wires in all three boxes as shown. In the switch box, cut pigtails (the two short pieces of wire) and connect them to the switches.

2. Complete the connections. At the switch box, connect the red wire to a switch and the white wire to the other switch. Wrap black tape on the white wire, both at the switch box and at the second fixture box, to show that it is hot. At the second fixture box, connect the two red wires together. At both fixture boxes, connect the hot and neutral wires to the fixture wires, as shown. Or install this wiring configuration with power coming to the switch. Split the incoming black wire and run the outgoing red and black wires to the fixtures. The neutral white wire, shared by both switches, passes on through.

Wiring Three-Way Switches

Three-way switches control power to a fixture from two points, allowing you to control a light from either side of a room. Three-way switches use a three-wire system composed of a power wire and two interconnecting wires called travelers. Unless you have metal conduit or armored cable, you also need a fourth grounding wire. Power comes in through one switch, travels to the fixture and to the second switch.

1. Begin making connections. NOTE: Shut off power. Install switch boxes and a fixture box . Run two-wire cable from a junction box to the first switch box. Run three-wire cable from the first switch box to the fixture box, and from the fixture box to the second switch box. Connect all ground wires as shown. At the first switch box, connect the hot wire to the common terminal on the switch (it is labeled and/or is darker than the other two). Attach traveler wires to the other two terminals. At the second switch box, attach the red and white wires to the non-common terminals of the switch. Wrap a piece of black tape on the white wire, both here and at the fixture box. At the fixture box, connect the two red wires, and connect the marked white wire to the black wire that comes from the first switch.

2. Complete the connections. At the second switch box, connect the black wire to the common terminal on the switch. This completes the hot portion of the circuit. At the first switch box, connect the two white wires. At the fixture box, connect the white and black wires to the fixture. Once completed, either switch will operate the light.

Wiring Three-Ways, Power to Switch

1. Begin making connections. NOTE: Shut off power. Install switch boxes and a fixture box . Run two-wire cable from a junction box to the first switch box. Run three-wire cable from the first switch box to the second, and two-wire cable from the second switch box to the fixture box. Connect ground wires as shown. At the first switch box, connect the black (hot) wire of the power source to the switch’s common terminal. Connect traveler wires to the other terminals. At the second switch box, connect the travelers. (Note: A three-way dimmer can burn out if hooked up incorrectly. Check by setting up the circuit with ordinary three-way switches and turning on the power. Then replace one switch with a dimmer.)

2. Complete the connections. At the second switch box, connect the black wire that goes to the fixture box with the dimmer’s common wire. Connect the two white wires. At the first switch box, connect the white wires. At the fixture box, connect black to black wires and white to white wires. Install the switches and switch plates and the light fixture.

Wiring Three-Ways, Power to Fixture

In this situation, power comes to the light fixture, then proceeds to the two switches. A two-wire cable runs to the fixture and to the the first switch box. A three-wire cable runs only from switch box to switch box.

ABCs of Three-Ways - Follow these principles when installing any three-way configuration: A. Always attach the incoming hot (black) wire to the common terminal of one switch. B. Use traveler wires to connect the other terminals to each other, never to the light. C. Connect the common terminal of the second switch only to the black fixture wire.

1. Begin making connections. At the ceiling box, connect the black, hot wires. At the first switch box, connect the hot wire to the common terminal and the traveler wires to the other terminals. Wrap a piece of black tape on either end of the white wire to show that it is hot. At the second switch box, attach the traveler wires.

2. Complete the connections. At the second switch, connect the black wire to the common terminal. At the first switch box, connect the black and white wires, and wrap a piece of black tape at either end of the white wire to show that it is hot. At the fixture box, connect white to white wire and the black-taped white wire to the black wire of the fixture.

Wiring Four-Way Switches

To control a fixture from three or more different switches, use one or more four-way switches. You can install any number of them between a pair of three-way switches. In four-way situations, the first and last switches must always be three-ways.

1. Begin making connections. NOTE: Shut off power. Install switch boxes and a fixture box. Run two-wire cable from a junction box to the first switch box. Run three-wire cable from the first switch box to the second and third ones, and two-wire cable from the third switch box to the fixture box. Connect all ground wires. At the first switch box, connect the black wire from the power source to the switch’s common terminal. Connect the traveler wires to the other terminals. At the second and third switches, connect the traveler wires as shown. The four-way switch carries only traveler wires.

2. Complete the connections. At the third switch, connect the fixture box’s black wire to the common terminal. Connect the white wires. Connect the white wires at the first and second switch boxes. Connect the fixture to the two wires at the fixture box and install the switches and switch plates. Once completed, you can turn the fixture on and off from any of the three switches.

Log in to comment
­