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Multiple lighting zones on one ciruit.

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  • Multiple lighting zones on one ciruit.

    What a great resource I have found here, thanks!!!!!

    I am renovating my basement and have a question about lighting circuits. I am planning on having more than one "lighting zone" on each circuit (yes, I know to not overload the breaker). My question is, I want to run 4 can lights controlled by 3 pole switches (two Locations) 3 Separate times, ON THE SAME BREAKER... help with a diagram?? It would be 12 lights with 6 switches.... does that make sense?

    I understand basic wiring, but I am having trouble visualizing these connections.

  • #2
    You never told us the wattage of the lights. (go with largest bulb thats allowed for calculations). With 12 100 watt bulbs (which are being phased out in most of the world) you are only using 1200 watts. Thats a about the same as a small space heater. If you had 12 60 watt bulbs thats only 720 watts. 1800 watts is 15 amps. (2400 is 20 amps). You are fine if this is the only thing on the circut. Something to keep in mind....If this breaker would trip then the whole basement would be dark if these are your primary lights. If you do not have other lighting that is in regular use then I would make this a dedicated circuit or split it just for the purpose of not going totally dark if something happens.

    As for the wiring. It sounds like you are meaning to say 3 way circuits.
    Here is info on a 3 way circuit:

    Here is info on hooking up mulitple lights:

    At the bottom of each page is links to different circuits based on where power enters the circuit at.

    Keep your box fill in mind. 3 way circuits can put you over the limits very fast. Do your calculations before you buy boxes so you get the right size. I dont have a link to a box fill calculator (someone else on here might), but if you search for "calculating electrical box fill" you should find all the info you need.
    Last edited by dkerr; 07-16-2013, 03:44 PM. Reason: update links


    • #3
      Will the switches be in the same box as in 2 boxes with three switches each controlling three banks of lights? Or maybe one box with three switches and thre more boxes with one switch each? Basically you will be duplicating this circuit three times.

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      Operation Overlord.


      • #4
        To help clarify what Chris has posted, if we refer to switch #1 as the three where the power enters the box and Switch #2 where the wire to the fixture comes from...

        In switch #1 the black feed wire (commonly referred to as the ?hot? wire) will attach to the common screw of each switch. This can be done either by connecting small pieces of wire from each switch to the black feed wire or by baring the insulation in two places on the feed wire and ?looping? it around the common screw of two switches then baring the end for a final connection to the third switch.

        In switch #2, each black wire to the fixture goes to each individual switch. There is no ?looping? or pig tailing in this box.

        In both boxes, all the whites are connected together.


        John Kuehnl-Cadwell
        Master Electrician
        Datawise Solutions Inc