Converting Switched Plug to New Ceiling Lights - Wiring Help Need

hatrickDecember 15, 2011

I want to add 4 recessed ceiling lights to my collectibles room and run them off the existing light switch which currently controls one plug on one of the wall outlets. I am a newbie to this type of wiring so I am hoping that some of the experts can help me make sure to get this right. I have attached a picture showing how the existing outlet is wired as well as what I hope is the correct way to re-wire this for the ceiling lights.

The light switch currently has black/white/ground running to the switch. The wall outlet has black/white/ground coming into the bottom of the box and black/white/ground running out the upper left of the box which I think goes to the switch and another black/white/ground running out the upper right of the box which I assume is going to the next wall outlet. The interesting thing is that the one white wire that is in the wire nut bundle with all of the black wires does not have a piece of black tape or any marking on it to show it is hot.

Does the picture I attached of the proposed wiring look correct and safe?? I will of course have to install a new wall outlet as the brass connector between the two plugs is currently broken off to have a single switched plug.

Existing Wiring

New Proposed Wiring

Thanks for the help!!


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Ron Natalie

The feed to a switch loop used to be given special dispensation in the code from having to be remarked. In the current code you are (and you should in your work) remark it.

As you've shown it (assuming you are using the same devices), your circuit will not work. The switched half of the outlet has no power feeding it ever and neither does the switch and the resultant lights.

If you don't want to retained the outlet as switched, you can feed the switch (and the downstream lights) with the hot in the receptacle box (you'll need to replace the receptacle or jumper the "split" connection on it).

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 2:55AM
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I was planning on putting in a new receptacle since the brass tab connecting the two plugs is currently broken off. If I put in a new receptacle, does my proposed wiring plan look correct?


    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 6:46AM
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Ron Natalie

Yes, and while technically acceptable, I do not like making through connections on the device. I'd connect the black feeding to the switch to the others under the wire nut instead. The rest is fine (presuming that the omitted grounds on all the cables, devices, and any metal boxes are indeed connected together).

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 8:21AM
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You can feed the new lights from the existing switched receptacle feeds or form the switch itself (if the switch is not on a switch loop).

The choice may depend on joist direction and light placement.

Running wire parallel to the joists allows it be be fished above the ceiling, running perpendicular to the joists means you need to bore a hole in every joist for the cable.
The holes at every joist require patching (and if the cable is not 1.25 inches from the bottom edge of the joist a nail plate to protect the cable).

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 8:51AM
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Since you recommend not running the connections to the switch and next outlet through the receptacle, should I also have the white wire that goes to the next outlet in the white wire nut bundle just like you recommended for the black wire?

Since I have a walk up attic I was planning on running the wires up to the attic and then drill holes 3/4" holes through the middle of the joists to run the wires. I have 2x10 joists so I think I am all set just running the wires through the holes I will drill in the centers.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 3:23PM
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