I had to replace the middle light switch. I found the following cabled and found this very odd. Never ran into it. Seems like its called switch loop wiring? Would this be switch loop? Also all the black wires are wire nutted together in the light box and none connect to the light switches. Only white cables are connected to the light switches. The grounds also are wire nutted together and none connect to the light switches (not show in the drawing). If I disconnect the neutral that runs from the junction box none of the lights work. It appears they are using that neutral to get back to the panel? Is this a valid assumption? Has anyone seen this setup before? The lights themselves are workshop lights with the long tubes.Wiring Diagram

  • Can you post photos of the insides of the boxes involved please? Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 22:12
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    Are these wires not run together in cables??? If they are, can you show how the cables are routed? That will be essential to correcting these very serious defects. Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 0:58
  • For future reference, since you seem to have a digital copy of your drawing stored on your computer somewhere, you can simply post that to a web site instead of taking a picture of the screen with your phone and posting the grainy, unfocused phone pic. It makes it much easier to read, and, as an added bonus, doesn't come out crooked.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 10, 2021 at 13:19

1 Answer 1


I'm guessing you could call this a modified switch loop. The loop switch I'm used to seeing is hot and neutral at the light, neutral connected to the fixture and always hot to a switch and a switched hot back to fixture... no neutral at switch.

What you've got here is a switched neutral modified loop which is bad because the fixtures are always hot even when the switch is off. This is probably not to code depending on where you're at. A way to fix it would be to tape all your white wires black and your black wires white at all the locations and switching the black and white wires in the junction box so all the black wires become neutrals and the white wires become hot. again, might not be to code depending on location. If the basement is unfinished, you might want to rip all this out and do it right.

  • JACK: Isn't this the type of circuit that was banned back in the early 1900s ? I remember seeing a similar question/answer here a couple of months ago, but can't remember the name of the circuit. I'll keep looking. Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 22:52
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    @GeorgeAnderson I did this back then and it failed inspection... :-) just kidding.
    – JACK
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 22:57
  • LOL JACK! Still, I wish I could have found the name of that style of switch loop. If I'm getting this right, it was banned a century ago. I just couldn't find it. Maybe somebody else will chime in. + Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 0:02
  • The house is from 1962. The romex is from 1998 per the date code on it. I am unsure why they ran it like this. When I purchased the home it had a 60amp main panel that was over loaded and items were piggy backed. When we moved in we installed a new 200amp panel with permits done to code in 2012 It is a square d qo panel. I have plenty of breaker space to change this. I will change it. I just never ran into this. Even googling was a pain to find a lot of details about it.@GeorgeAnderson
    – Fintech
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 0:57
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    @Fintech When you change it, the new codes require neutrals in switch boxes even if they're not needed at the switch location.
    – JACK
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 1:59

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