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Discussion Starter #1
I want to put some flood lights on my garage and the side of my house. One of our cars was broken in last night, so I want to put a motion sensor light or two up there. I don't have much experience in doing this, so I have some questions.

I have a GFI outliet in the garage ceilling in which the garage door opener connectes to. I was thinking I could tap into this box to suppliy power to my light, which would be mounted about 7 ft away, once passing thru the wall. Can I simply use some Romex wire and do this? Also, the wires scar me. I am guessing there will be some white and black wires in there. I don't know which is the hot wires or ground. Does anyone know? Can I just piggyback the wires and conect the flood light? How many times can I do this. I may want a 2nd light installed on the other side of the house. Should I just daisy-chain the wires from the new flood light to the 2nd one?

I was thinking of going to Lowes/home depot and getting a a book on this.

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Kevin
 

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You can piggyback on the outlet you have the garage door opener on. There will be 3 wires, black-white-and copper. Copper is the ground.

I have the same box for the garage door opener that I used to put lights in my attic. I have 3 lights connected and they are all in line piggybacked to each other. My father-in-law who is a general contractor home builder helped me with it.
 

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and black is supposed to be hot, while white is neutral, but don't take the colors for granted. buy a non-contact power tester ($15) to tell what's hot before you cut anything. then just match the colors from there and ground the lights well. romex staples every 3-4 feet and just outside of each box. leave 6" of extra romex wire inside the boxes.

the electrical book from home depot is great for a novice...i've even done panel work and added a subpanel using that book. all of the code elements are detailed nicely in it. have fun and play safe! :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
so if my flood light only has two wires to connect, do I just use the hot wire(black) and ground? What would the white netrual wire be used for?

How many things can I wire to this? I would like to do something like from the GFI box, connect two lights and then a 4 outllet box so I have somewhere to plug things into without having to walk all the way into the garage.

Like this: (can I safely do this many items?)
[GFI outlet] ====> [motion light]===== >[motion light] =====> [power outlett]

Is there a distance limit to running romex? LIke 100 feet, etc? Is there a load limit, like so many amps or watts?

Kevin
 

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there's no real limit for romex distance, just a limit on the guage wire you need. i'll explain briefly, but all this is answered in the HD book.

assuming you have 2 bulbs per light at 150watts each bulb, that's approx 6amps of power drawn by the lights. add to that your door opener (check it's aperage rating), and you'll get a total aperage draw. I'm assuming this is a 15 or 20 amp circuit were talking about (look on the circuit breaker). if you're below 15 amps (or 20, if that's what you have), then it's all good.

there really is no way to calculate amperage of an outlet since it doesn't consume power, so if the lights and door opener add up to, say, 10 amps, then go ahead and add theh outlet. just know that if the lights+opener=10amps and your circuit is 15, then you can only plug in a 5amp device, like a roto zip, but not a circular saw that is likely 10 amps. it's all in the math.

be sure your new romex matches the gauge of the existing wiring. it doesn't sound like you're going far...75 feet is probably about where you may need to start accounting for distance.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
cool, thanks a lot!
 

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vwjedi said:
so if my flood light only has two wires to connect, do I just use the hot wire(black) and ground? What would the white netrual wire be used for?
the light should have 1 black, 1 white, and maybe 1 green, or at least something marked "ground". hook up black-black, white-white, and bare copper-green. if there is no ground wire, there should at least be a screw to which you will connect the bare copper of the romex. technically, the ground of the romex (bare copper) should connect to a screw inside both boxes, and another short piece you cut should connect that same screw to the light and gfci outlet. that ensures the light, gfci, and the boxes are all properly grounded. it's a little overkill, but when it comes to electricity, you don't want the fire marshall to tell your insurance company that your short cuts are what started the fire.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
thanks again.. :)


Kevin
 

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Darter said:
technically, the ground of the romex (bare copper) should connect to a screw inside both boxes, and another short piece you cut should connect that same screw to the light and gfci outlet.
now that i'm visualizing this, it's not quite right. connecting more than one ground to the ground screw is really hard. instead, take about 6" of bare copper and attatch it to a grounding screw of the box near the light. to the end of that wire you will attatch both the ground from the romex and the ground from the light.

on the gfci box, do the same.

grounding the box is irrelavent if you have plastic boxes. then you just connect all of the grounds together and skip grounding the box.

it's not really that complicated once you've seen the diagrams and such. after i added a few circuits to my house, i realized my paranoia was a little much for such simple work. it's important to respect electricity and stick to code, but it's not difficult work.
 
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