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Topic Title: "Hall and landing lights very dim"
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Created On: 13 October 2010 04:56 PM
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 13 October 2010 04:56 PM
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broadgage

Posts: 1293
Joined: 07 August 2007

Found a new bodge recently, and not an easy one to properly rectify.

Upstairs and downstairs light controlled by the same pair of standard 2 way switches.
Unfortunatly the two lamps are wired in series, each therefore receiving only about 120 volts and being very dim indeed, despite the householder useing 150 watt lamps.

They say it worked fine until last year, when they ran out of the "special bulbs" that came with the house.

Twin cable from C/U to downstairs ceiling rose, second twin cable from ceiling rose to downstairs light switch.
3 core from downstairs switch to upstairs switch.
If only feeding a single lamp, that would work fine.
Unfortunatly a second lamp is fitted upstairs, in series with the common wire to the upstairs switch.

Not easy to rectify as running additional cables would entail considerable damage to decorations.

Looks quite well done.

Neighbour had a qoute for hundreds of pounds to rewire.
Decided not worth it, the lack of any CPC is a low priority as the swiches and pendants are all plastic.

Fortunatly I have obtained a supply of the "special bulbs" i.e. 120 volt 40 watt GLS lamps, works fine.

Anyone found this before, looks original not a later bodge or addition.

And what if any code on a PIR ? (leaving aside the lack of a CPC) It does not seem right, but I am not aware of any regulation prohibiting the use of 120 volt lamps in series pairs, wired as desciribed.
 13 October 2010 05:45 PM
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aligarjon

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i might be reading it wrong but that just sounds like a standard 2way set up to me. it sounds like they have connected the switch wire for the upstairs light onto the common instead of the strapper. it should be on the same colour strapper as the s/l in the downstairs switch and they will both work fine. be it on together. Gary

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Specialised Subject. The Bleedin Obvious. John Cleese
 13 October 2010 07:28 PM
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hifly

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I had a similar problem with a loft/outside light, the house holder had fitted the loft light in series with the outside light. He thought it was ok until i sorted it out and he could see how much brighter it was wired correctly.

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 13 October 2010 08:37 PM
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Zs

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Broadgage, I think they have been sold a Pup by the installer. Are they importing 'special' lamps from the US?

Assuming the first switch has a proper circuit,

Take the strapper apart and reconfigure it (and are they the same brand of switch up and down? cos some use L1 as common and L2 as L1). Big brownie points for you.

Zs
 13 October 2010 09:21 PM
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Zs

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No broadgage, I can't do this to you. old duffer DIYers do this to me all the time because they think I'm a soft touch when they've made a bish. They want me to look like a pratt and them to look like they've done nothing wrong in front of the wife if you pardon the plain speaking. I usually suggest a cup of tea would be nice and then quietly show the old boy what I found

I bet you 50p there's a neutral problem and it's a DIY switching bish. That circuit is not complete.

Go back to the first ceiling rose and test between L-N. ( my money is on 240 incoming) Then follow it through. My 50p lies firmly on it turning into 110 pretty soon and a lost neutral somewhere in the connections.

If you have 240 incoming, d'you know what? save yourself some time and just take it apart and start again, your way.

Let me know....I do a good line in gently forbidding old men and not so old DIYers from ever touching electricity again.

Suspect previous electrician wasn't an electrician.

Zs
 13 October 2010 10:47 PM
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AJJewsbury

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i might be reading it wrong but that just sounds like a standard 2way set up to me. it sounds like they have connected the switch wire for the upstairs light onto the common instead of the strapper. it should be on the same colour strapper as the s/l in the downstairs switch and they will both work fine. be it on together. Gary

I think the problem is no N at the upstairs lightswitch - where they've attempted to connect the top light to. Beats borrowing a N from the upstairs circuit! Someone must have understood what they were doing to think of putting in 110V lamps.
- Andy.
 14 October 2010 12:30 AM
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RRichard

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Many years ago it was common for the labourer's on the big sites to steal the 110v lamps from the temporary supplies and boast how they had rewired there home light fittings in series to use them. I got asked many times if the hall & landing lights could be wired the same way. It amazes me how much effort was put into it just to save buying a light bulb, But its nothing new, i still see people stealing sugar, coffee & teabags from the communal jars on site.
Nowadays mainly fixed fluorecents are used for the temps.
 14 October 2010 06:59 PM
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aligarjon

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Originally posted by: AJJewsbury

i might be reading it wrong but that just sounds like a standard 2way set up to me. it sounds like they have connected the switch wire for the upstairs light onto the common instead of the strapper. it should be on the same colour strapper as the s/l in the downstairs switch and they will both work fine. be it on together. Gary


I think the problem is no N at the upstairs lightswitch - where they've attempted to connect the top light to. Beats borrowing a N from the upstairs circuit! Someone must have understood what they were doing to think of putting in 110V lamps.

- Andy.



Blimey thats a new one on me. i must be too young

if it is the case then i'd be inclined to try and pull a twin down on the single from the loft and switch the 2 lights seperately. landing 2way up and down and the hall on its own 1 way.

Gary

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Specialised Subject. The Bleedin Obvious. John Cleese
 14 October 2010 07:32 PM
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slittle

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Not a cheap option, but could well work...If you can achieve a live supply to the upstairs light, use an mk solo wireless gizmo... They work well two way, I've got two sets providing 2 gang 2 way (in normal speak) across a warehouse


Stu
 14 October 2010 08:03 PM
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seeker

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Originally posted by: RRichard

Many years ago it was common for the labourer's on the big sites to steal the 110v lamps from the temporary supplies and boast how they had rewired there home light fittings in series to use them. I got asked many times if the hall & landing lights could be wired the same way. It amazes me how much effort was put into it just to save buying a light bulb, But its nothing new, i still see people stealing sugar, coffee & teabags from the communal jars on site.

Nowadays mainly fixed fluorecents are used for the temps.


I had one factory where 40 and 60 watt bc 240v lamps were stolen almost every day. 100 watt lamps were never stolen apparently because they consumed too much electricity when used at home!
 14 October 2010 09:30 PM
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broadgage

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The problem is that there are only 3 wires between the upstairs and the downstairs, therefore I dont believe that any alteration of connections can correct the problem, without running an extra cable.

Simpler to use 110/120 volt lamps !
These are readily available at present, but not for much longer.

Will have to use a couple of small flourescents after that, some types are designed to run two in series from one ballast and could therefore by used.
 14 October 2010 10:27 PM
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Zs

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tut tut Broadsword. we're all looking in to know the answer now. You gotta get out there with your tester and help us.

Nice one Stu, like that. And the GET ultimate grid system is completely neutral free too, just a live and a strapper between any number of switches. I've just put them in at home and the national grid is holding out quite well so far. The green neon lights for 'off' keep me awake a bit but I'll get used to them. I love them.

And 3 wires between up and down?....private mail me. You are laughing. re- connect it from first principles and get some hero points.

Danny boy Zs.
 14 October 2010 10:46 PM
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broadgage

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Only three wires to the upstairs switch would be fine, this is normal.

But in this case, we have a switch AND a lamp upstairs, and only 3 wires in total, between the upstairs and the downstairs.
If a lamp is also installed downstairs, as is the case, then I dont see how this can be made to work.

I suspect that originaly there was only lamp, downstairs, controlled by a pair of two way switches, one up and one down.
That would be a standard arrangement, with a 3 core cable to the upstairs switch.
Someone then added a second lamp upstairs, connecting this in series with the common terminal of the upstairs two way switch.
 14 October 2010 11:03 PM
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Zs

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BG, three to upstairs is good if the first lamp comes off from downstairs switch or from a junction box. Because the lamps come off from the switching to the first lamp, and then to each other in a line.

Take the lamps out of the equation and check the up and down switching. L1 to L1, L2 to L2 and com to com or L3 to L3 (depending on make of switch). WAtch out if the two switches are different brands though.

At the first switch....L1 and L2 (or L2 and L3) the two slots next to each other, will be doubled up in the slot, so two wires in each hole with one of the cables leading to the first lamp, then subsequent lamps linked to that one.

If that's not what you've got then you're on the other way of wiring up 2 way lights with the live coming form the last switch but doesn't sound like it so let us know before we blow you up.

Put a pic of the first switch on here as your avatar....We'll sort this!

Zs
 15 October 2010 11:20 AM
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OMS

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There's no neutral at the first floor rose - no amount of swapping the wiring around on the switches will cure that.

It would appear this is a simple "conversion method" two way arrangement with the switch feed and switch wire from the ground floor switch to the ground floor rose - you either need a cable from the ground floor rose to the first floor rose to supply a switched line and neutral or you need to find a neutral for that first floor rose from the ground floor circuit. (or borrow a neutral from upstairs and reconnect all the lighting to one MCB)

Regards

OMS

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 15 October 2010 03:37 PM
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tfrien

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HI, everybody,
As OMS says you are shost of a neutral.
T,
I think the best proposition would be to extend the upstairs lighting circuit with a live and neutral to the stairway light. as you have the two wires going from the stairs light to the upstairs switch i.e. will be now a live & switch wire,
conversion method two-way with the three core between the switches. Then at the dowwnstairs switch fit a two gang switch seperate the Live and switch wire from the Hall light into one switch and the three core into the other switch, thus ensuring no borrowed neutrals and thus enabling the upstairs lighting to be on its own circuit. Not forgetting the cps if there is one? and label switch having two circuits.
Regards,
Tom
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