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Feed @ the light/recpt. or not? #43049 10/03/04 04:50 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 186
NJ Wireman Offline OP
Here is a question that often starts a long conversation. How many people reverse feed their switchs ie feed to the light or outlet to save on wire? I myself do not! for the reason down the line when happy h/o wants to change something out you got no neutral. How ever several people i work with do it all the time. I do not see the big picture cost wise here for a few feet of romex. what does everyone else out there do?

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: Feed @ the light/recpt. or not? #43050 10/03/04 05:12 PM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 806
NJwirenut Offline
I usually bring the feed in at the switch location, so there is a neutral here for future use (timers/motion detectors/X10, etc.). I also use a 3 conductor run between the switch and the light, in case a ceiling fan gets installed later.

Re: Feed @ the light/recpt. or not? #43051 10/03/04 06:04 PM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,374
Ryan_J Offline
Nuetrals are kind of nice to have around.

Ryan Jackson,
Salt Lake City
Re: Feed @ the light/recpt. or not? #43052 10/03/04 07:18 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,346
Trumpy Offline
We've used that method here for wiring lighting circuits for years.
It's a throw-back to the days of steel conduit, where you'd only have two single wires at the switch.
I'm glad it's not used much these days.
Light circuits are looped at the switches these days. [Linked Image]

Re: Feed @ the light/recpt. or not? #43053 10/03/04 09:21 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 381
Hutch Offline
Loop-in is normal set-up in UK. Feed runs from light to light where standard ceiling fittings have line, neutral and loop terminals.

For commercial use, 'Romex' equivalent with two hot colored wires (plus ground) is available to loop to the switch. Otherwise feed switch with hot colored wire, return on recolored (taped) neutral wire – opposite to US practice.

Re: Feed @ the light/recpt. or not? #43054 10/04/04 05:05 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 55
Ray97502 Offline
NEC Code Article 410.11, “Temperature Limit of Conductors in Outlet Boxes”, paragraph 2, “Branch-circuit wiring, other than 2 wire or multi wire circuits supplying power to luminaries (fixtures) connected together, shall not be passed through an outlet box that is an integral part of the luminaire (fixture) unless the luminaire is identified for through wiring”, would limit the type of luminaries that you could wire in this manner.
NEC Article 90.1 (B) “Adequacy” uses the phrase …”not necessarily efficient”. I was taught that this also applies to construction methods. So saving of a few feet of copper at the expense of a safer installation would not be the best wiring method.
In general, and especially in residential, I try to avoid creating any switched circuit at any location other than the junction box or panel (control point) containing the switch.
There are many situations where it is perfectly acceptable and in some situations (3 and 4 way switches and in multi-wire circuits) it would be impractical not to have voltage pass through a junction boxes providing connections for switched receptacles or luminaries. But if it isn’t necessary why do it? The quality of my work should be worth the expense.

Re: Feed @ the light/recpt. or not? #43055 10/04/04 05:35 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
iwire Offline
Ray that section only applies to boxes that are an integral part of the luminaire.

I have never seen this type of fixture used in a house.

A 4" round box mounted in the ceiling is not integral to the surface mount fixture mounted to it.


Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Re: Feed @ the light/recpt. or not? #43056 10/04/04 09:37 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 55
Ray97502 Offline
Iwire what about recessed lighting of flourescent fixtures?

Re: Feed @ the light/recpt. or not? #43057 10/04/04 10:09 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 186
NJ Wireman Offline OP
I'm not concerned about what code says here your reading into it to much to be gin with. Im asking what others do, we all know we do things that ride the fence on the code!

Re: Feed @ the light/recpt. or not? #43058 10/05/04 11:23 AM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 745
mamills Offline
Wireman: My relatively uneducated take on this... 1) the amount of romex used by routing from switch to fixture is really a negligible amount, 2) If Harry Homeowner wants to add one of those "combination" switch/outlet devices after the fact, there is a better chance he will use the neutral rather than the ground [Linked Image] and 3) it makes it simpler to keep colors together - all blacks, all whites, etc. without having to re-ID anything.

My $.02

Mike (mamills)

Wirenut: running a 3 cond. from the switch to the fixture box is a nice touch [Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by mamills (edited 10-05-2004).]

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