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post #1 of 58 Old 07-14-2015, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Localize Lighting on a 3-way circuit?

Team,
I have a large finished basement and one section of it homes my theater. My problem is the basement has about 30 can lights all on one circuit. Its either retna burning bright or pure darkness. I have a lamp I set up by my couch if I need a touch of light, but its rather annoying during TV watching. I'm pretty good at understanding how basic home wiring works. I realize I could dim all 30 cans at the same time if I had the right bulbs and switches. What I've love to do is find an ingenious tech way to just dim the four cans or so behind the couch area for a touch of light.

In my head the only way I can think to do this is with a special can light (not even sure if this exists) that would dimly glow with a low level input from a dimmable switch, but all the other cans would not have enough voltage to produce light.
All the tricky app stuff would require power to the cans to work, which basically would turn all 30 of them on. Unless I put 30 "smart" lights in and left the circuit on all the time, which seems like a bad idea to me.

Tricky ideas?
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post #2 of 58 Old 07-14-2015, 12:55 PM
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Maybe something like this?
http://www.amazon.com/Lvjing-Wireles...eless+can+lamp
They make battery operated ones, also.
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post #3 of 58 Old 07-14-2015, 01:22 PM
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These are all on the same circuit, but are they all on the same switch(es)?
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post #4 of 58 Old 07-14-2015, 01:26 PM
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30 lights on the same circuit in a giant code violation in my area. Limited to 12 devices per circuit.
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post #5 of 58 Old 07-14-2015, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
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yes, sorry. I was not clear. There is a 3 way switch at the bottom of the stairs and a 3 way switch at the walkout basement entrance. The single switch circuit controls roughly 30 can lights. Its crazy. It is roughly 1,400 sq ft that is lite off a single switch. Its almost like turning on the lights on a factory floor with one throw of a switch. The only other light switch is over by the bar which turns some lights on over the sink/bar area. The rest is off that crazy 3 way circuit.
Here is an older picture of the area off the single switch.
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post #6 of 58 Old 07-14-2015, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Hendry View Post
30 lights on the same circuit in a giant code violation in my area. Limited to 12 devices per circuit.
I'll count them tonight, I'm fairly confident its over 12. Maybe 30 is a stretch.
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post #7 of 58 Old 07-14-2015, 01:32 PM
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Fair enough. If there are fewer, you may be able to get away with a dimmer switch set to it's lowest setting. Might not get perfectly dark but at least it would be low ambient light. Good luck!
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post #8 of 58 Old 07-14-2015, 01:50 PM
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Dauber... Are you confident to pull your panel cover off/ throw on a clamp on ammeter to see what that circuit actually is drawing? I would either get some LED dimmable bulbs to bring it under a manageble circuit load for now. Proper way would be to split that circuit into a few zones. Might not be too bad a job. See which way your rafters are running/ split the circuits to a few new switches at the bottom of your stairs. Looks like you may have access via your duct encloser. Hope this gives you some ideas.
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post #9 of 58 Old 07-14-2015, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 69glamboy View Post
Dauber... Are you confident to pull your panel cover off/ throw on a clamp on ammeter to see what that circuit actually is drawing? I would either get some LED dimmable bulbs to bring it under a manageble circuit load for now. Proper way would be to split that circuit into a few zones. Might not be too bad a job. See which way your rafters are running/ split the circuits to a few new switches at the bottom of your stairs. Looks like you may have access via your duct encloser. Hope this gives you some ideas.
I don't have a clip on anmeter. I'd have to pull the line and test the draw inline with my multimeter. Something I've always been curious about. Bought the house two years and was not brought up on inspection.
However, the inspector also failed to notice a failing retaining wall that had mud two feet up the wood siding that for the life of me I don't know how I didn't notice.
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post #10 of 58 Old 07-14-2015, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
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I just counted. 21 can lights on the single switch.
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post #11 of 58 Old 07-14-2015, 03:38 PM
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How many watts are the bulbs Dauber? Getting more curious... Lol.
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post #12 of 58 Old 07-14-2015, 03:39 PM
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I'm also hoping that particular circuit breaker doesnt do other rooms. Try turning the basement lights all on / adjacent rooms and see what goes off when you flick the breaker off. ( bring a flashlight with you)
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post #13 of 58 Old 07-14-2015, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
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I didn't put any of these bulbs in. Bought the house two years ago and never changed a bulb yet. I pulled down two and they were both 60 watts.
I might do a breaker test with the wife not home.
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post #14 of 58 Old 07-14-2015, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Odd thing is, is a newer house, built in 2000.
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post #15 of 58 Old 07-14-2015, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
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If my math is solid 21 lights at 60 watts is 1260 watts. At 120 volts, that is 10.5 amps assuming it's a stand alone circuit.
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post #16 of 58 Old 07-14-2015, 04:40 PM
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Yes a 15 amp breaker can handle that no problem. But to be drawing 10.5 amps each time you use that room...thats heavy on the electrical bill. If those are 60watt incandescent bulbs, maybe switch to compact fluorescent style to draw less. This is a cheap n dirty fix until you decide on a more permanent zone fix.
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post #17 of 58 Old 07-14-2015, 04:57 PM
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I have to wonder how they daisy chained those lights? You might luck out and find those
spots at the end of the daisy chain.

You might be able to pull the cans and remove those four from the circuit, and
fish some armoured some armoured cable, and then rework the switch electrical box to
add a bay (or use a larger box). Then you could use a jumper to bring power to something
like an infrared controllable dimmer, for the back spots.


If you know what you're doing electrically, you can often rework using only the existing openings,
some luck with how the floor joist orientation, and whether there's unfinished space on the other side of the
wall.


Electrical boxes can have power cut off, and can be pried off the stud, and then the opening can be used to secure
new wiring to the stud, in the wall. Same with remodel style spot lights.
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post #18 of 58 Old 07-14-2015, 06:53 PM
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I replaced all my recessed light bulbs with these purchased from Home Depot. Except they cost a whole lot more at big orange.

http://www.amazon.com/Philips-452268...1MPKPB1FQW9836

They don't dim down quite as much as incandescent bulbs, but otherwise they are pretty nice bulbs.

-




Is it solipsistic in here, or is it just me?
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post #19 of 58 Old 07-14-2015, 07:39 PM
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If you were to dim all of it as is and replace a few of the bulbs with CFL, you would find that the incandescent bulbs will dim to virtually nothing while the CFLs stay much brighter. Doing it this way has drawbacks I'm sure, but all it costs you is a few CFL bulbs and a CFL compatible dimmer. (Obvs I'm not an electrician or inspector)
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post #20 of 58 Old 07-15-2015, 04:18 AM
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Another thought is why not put some track lighting in the back, and fish a new circuit?
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post #21 of 58 Old 07-15-2015, 06:42 AM
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I got these for about 3 bucks each at local discount store and they work great.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...RQAK3JR8MJ5MJE

I had other bulbs which stay lit with a Maestro IR dimmer switch even at lowest setting, while these actually turn all the way off.

Issue for you if it comes down to replacing just the bulbs is that you need a solution for a 3 way circuit. The Maestro IR does offer a 3 way option but it requires the companion dimmer as well. You would need good line of sight to the main switch to control from convenient locations. Otherwise you may need another solution which would require something like a hub of some sort and accompanying switches like Insteon, Wink or Z-wave.

Some info on the Maestro.
http://www.lutron.com/en-US/Products.../Overview.aspx

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...Qqh8OVrliZbOiA

I do also suggest at least looking at the possibility of zoning things for better control in your comfortable with it
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post #22 of 58 Old 07-15-2015, 06:49 AM
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Try looking at Insteon products on the Smarthome website. Insteon now has a wireless dimmer that can be wired into the fixture. This would give you discrete control over individual cans.

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post #23 of 58 Old 07-15-2015, 09:51 AM
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That might get pricey if you were to get one for every light but that might offer a good way to zone out or segment some those lights tlogan6797.

This is the microdimmer your referring to I believe.
http://www.smarthome.com/insteon-244...er-module.html

You'd be able to create scenes that could be programmed into one of these Keypad switches or control from smartphone or tablet.
http://www.smarthome.com/insteon-233...ton-white.html
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post #24 of 58 Old 07-15-2015, 10:11 AM
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Yes, thats' the one. I can see where if you wanted one in all 32 cans, it might be cheaper to run new circuits and/or rewire to add switches. But they DO run sales, so it's worth it to keep an eye on the price.

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post #25 of 58 Old 07-16-2015, 07:33 AM - Thread Starter
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All good thoughts gentlemen. I'm going to consider jumping off a wall receptacle and fishing a wire into the ceiling area. Run a remote style lighting system somehow. I just need to figure out what kind of light I want. soft and not distracting for sure, but placement I'm not sure yet. Something I have never really considered.
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post #26 of 58 Old 07-16-2015, 07:57 AM
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If you mean grabbing power from a wall receptacle to power lights, you want to make sure you have at least SOME lights on a separate lighting circuit. You don't want the wall breaker to trip AND lose the lighting, too. Best practice is to put walls and lights on separate circuits.

If you mean grabbing power from a wall switch to add additional lighting, you need to make sure that power was run to the switch and not the fixture. My guess is that power was run to the fixtures and then down to the switch, which MAY make it easier to extend power to additional lights or rewire to add new switches once you open up the ceiling.

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post #27 of 58 Old 07-17-2015, 06:51 AM
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In a single pole setup maybe, but he has a 3 way circuit going. So power may run to switch first. I would first check the switch closest to breaker panel.

I'm not trying to sell you on Insteon, but I got a hub from them so I could install some leak sensors for HVAC drip pan (in case it clogs) and the infamous sump pump pit. Those have worked great and now I've started to expand that system to control outdoor lighting on a schedule and also automate main door lock, since I already have the hub I figured why not.

Not to long ago they had a special on one of their hubs for like $50.00 bucks but now their more like $80.00 unless you go for the new apple homekit version which is costlier. Then you'd be able to add devices as necessary including plug in lamp modules like these.

http://www.smarthome.com/lamplinc-in...and-2-pin.html
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post #28 of 58 Old 07-18-2015, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dauber65 View Post
I just counted. 21 can lights on the single switch.
That's too bad. The electrician who did that should be berated. (Or the builder who built the house.)

Bob
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post #29 of 58 Old 07-18-2015, 06:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I'm an idiot, but at least I didn't burn my house down yet.
So I'm fairly comfortable with electricity (I know how to wire basic receptacles single and three way circuits from classes I took 15 years ago), but today got me worried.
I opened the box at the bottom of the stairs to check out the 3 way circuit.
There are two standard romax and a three way romax.
The black of one of the two is always hot and running to the common.
The black and red of the three set are the travelers.
This is where is gets confusing.
The white wire with the black hot wire is connected with the white of the other 2 pair. Then the black of the other two pair was connected to the white of the 3 wire set.
When I disconnected the white / white and white / black I got some interesting results.
If switch is off, there is no power to any of the wires.
If switch is on, power on one white wire on each set, no lights.
I tired to just connect one set to see if I'd get some lights, but it didn't work.
Both pairs needed to be connected.
This is where I got confused. I figured that since both pairs needed 120 volts, I could experiment by putting voltages on them by a wired taped off the common to see if I could get some lights. I figured it couldn't hurt since both connections have voltage with lights on. None with lights off.
But anytime I attempted to put voltage from one pair to the other, it turned into an arc welder. I tried twice and the second time it blew the 25 amp breaker.
Why would I throw sparks trying to connect two spices that have 120 volts? Ideas on why I was making a welder?
Everything is working like before, but I hate the idea I might have burnt wires.
this circuit literally covers 1,300 finished square feet.

Last edited by dauber65; 07-19-2015 at 07:10 AM.
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post #30 of 58 Old 07-18-2015, 07:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Doing this from my phone is rough.
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