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Quick wiring question

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I've almost finished my home theater. Just have some drywall to hang on the ceiling. There is a fluorescent light up there, the big rectangular kind usually found in drop ceilings. I want to get rid of it and replace it with a regular ceiling dome light.

There are two Romex cables going into (clamped into) the fluorescent. One comes from the wall switch, the other goes to an electrical box and presumably off to the other outlets. If I wire the ones from the wall switch to the new light, what do I do with the other set? Do they just get wired in too, making three sets of three wires (3 black, 3 white, 3 ground; wall switch, light, and box) wired together?

Also, what kind of box do I need to pick up from Home Depot to attach to the truss to hang the new light from and join the wires in?
post #2 of 18
The easiest thing to do is to look and see how the current fixture is wired and mimic that with the new light. By the way, you can't cover a box with drywall. All electrical boxes have to be reachable without removing drywall. For your light, you should be OK since you'll be installing a box, but for that "other box", that might be a problem (or might not, since I don't know exactly what your situation looks like).
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks! What else would be done with the other box? I've never seen a house with random sealed electric boxes just sticking out of the wall or ceiling.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Can I just lower that box to make it flush with the drywall and have a cutout for it?
post #5 of 18
Yes, or you could find where the wires go and replace them so there's no box. When I redid my family room, I did a lot of the latter, as I didn't want random boxes in drywall. However, having a box that's reachable meets code and it's not always possible to replace wires if the runs are long and you can't determine where they go.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Yeah, it will be easier for me to just lower the box and have it accessible than replace all the wires. This being my home theater room, looks aren't important since the lights will be off and almost every inch will be covered in black fabric.

How's this for the attachment for the new light? Home Depot

The light is just a 3lb cheapie from IKEA: link

One last thing: One of the Romex cables has black, white, red, and ground. The other is just black, white, ground. Can I just wire nut the red and leave it unused?
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
I'm a dope. Can't I just use the other box as my light fixture attachment? It's a regular metal octagon box. The two Romex go into it and have their wires wire-nutted together, along with the wires from the doorbell thing plugged into the side of the box. Can I just hang my fixture from it and wirenut all four sets of wires together (fixture, romex from switch, romex to outlet, and doorbell)?
post #8 of 18
That should work. Is the doorbell thing a transformer? Power goes to it and small wires run off of it? Technically, you shouldn't have this buried either, but I'm not sure if it can go into a box with high voltage either (usually, the transformer is put in an attic or somewhere where you're unlikely to ever cover it). If it can't (you'd have to do a google search for "doorbell transformer in box romex" or something similar), you could get a box that's partitioned into low and high voltages, though I'm not sure what that does for your light idea. That is, the box will be at least a 2 gang box.

Something like this:

Both line and low voltage in one box

I used a box like this for my projector (line voltage for the power and a plastic divider and HDMI/other stuff on the other side of the divider). However, I'm just not sure about putting a transformer in a box. This site says you can't do it:

Discussion of putting transformer in electrical box
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Yes, it's a small transformer plugged into the side of the box, with the wires coming into the box and getting nutted to the others. Could I just make the cutout in the drywall large enough to expose it? It will be hidden by the light fixture.

Also, maybe I'm missing something, but why would this be connected to a wall switch? Wouldn't that mean the doorbell wouldn't work when it's switched off? Although I'm pretty sure it did..
post #10 of 18
One way it could work is if the "hot" (black wire from the breaker box) comes into the box and goes to the transformer and the black wire of the other romex, the romex that runs to the light switch. The romex that runs to the light switch then connects (or does not connect, depending on the position of the switch) the black at the switch to the white (neutral). The white for the romex from the switch then runs back to the black of the light. The white of the light is connected to the other whites in the box. Does this sound like the current wiring?
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Not 100% sure because I've disconnected it now (I'm going to move the transformer into the storage closet in the room). I know that one of the transformer's blacks was wired to the other two blacks, and one of the transformer's blacks was wired to the other two whites. But going from memory I think that one romex went to the switch and one went to a dead-end outlet.
post #12 of 18
Well, if was wired the way I said it was, then the transformer would always have power while the light would have power only when the switch was switched to the on position. If you want to keep the transformer, you can put it in a spot it won't be covered, run power to the spot, and run low voltage wiring from the transformer to the current location. The wires at the current location should be put in a low voltage box (or a box that has both high and low voltage, with a divider to divide the two, as I showed above).
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
I would be moving the transformer and its low-voltage wire to the closet that has an outlet. Can I feed it power from there? Do I still need a low+high voltage box?
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Okay, I plugged in the light to see if it works, and it comes on, but it stays on -- it's no longer controlled by the switch. I'm trying to follow your description above but I'm a little confused. What exactly is supposed to be wired to what? I've got black, white, and green on the fixture. I've got black, white, ground, and red from the switch's Romex. And I've got black, white, and ground from the other outlet's Romex.

Sorry for all the stupid questions!
Edited by curttard - 12/9/13 at 2:36pm
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Got it working. Found a post elsewhere that described my situation.

Final wiring ended up being: Black from switch and black from fixture wired together. Red from switch and black from power wired together. Whites wired together. Grounds wired together.

Thanks for your help and patience.
post #16 of 18
Originally Posted by curttard View Post

I would be moving the transformer and its low-voltage wire to the closet that has an outlet. Can I feed it power from there? Do I still need a low+high voltage box?

That sounds OK. It's just that you sound as if you're going cover the original location of the transformer, which would have wires hanging. Unless you replace that entire run (from the new location to wherever it runs now), you'll have wires that are connected and covered by drywall. That's against code. Will it matter? Probably not.
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
No hanging wires. The transformer and its low voltage wire are being rerouted to the closet. The junction box where the transformer was attached to power has now been moved down to be flush with the drywall and is now the attachment box for the light fixture.
post #18 of 18
Sounds good.
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