How do you wire two ceiling lights on one switch? I have installed the switch, and the two lights, but only one light is working. It is the light that the power source enters. My setup is like this:

Power enters first light + another light + switch. The first light is working with the switch (where power enters), but the second is not. Can you draw a picture for me of the wiring that should be done to make this circuit work?

1 Answer 1


Here's a quick ascii art diagram of what you need to have:

Power source       First Light   Second Light   Switch
   |  |               |   |         |   |        |  |
   |  |               |   |         |   |        |  |
   |  + white/neutral ----+---------+   |        |  |
   |                  |                 |        |  |
   |                  +-- red/switched -+--------+  |
   |                                                |
   +------- black/hot-------------------------------+

Between the second light and the switch, you can run a 2 wire line (just replace the red line with the white and tape the ends of the white with black tape to indicate it's a switched hot). However, between the first and second light, you'll need a 3 wire line to handle the hot/neutral/switched combination.

enter image description here

  • Woudn't you have the neutral wire going to the electrical box with the switch and then tying into the neutral of Light 1 and 2? Your diagram suggests that you have 1 wire from source to switch and 1 wire from source to light 1, but you'd be running 14/2 or 14/3 cables, not individual wires.
    – Steven
    Commented Jan 12, 2013 at 18:35
  • @Steven Neutral to the switch? From the question, it indicated that the power source was entering the first light fixture. Ideally, it would come into either the second fixture or the switch. I didn't draw this for each x/2 and x/3 wire to each fixture, so I'm sorry for any confusion it creates. One day I'll upgrade to ascii art 2.0.
    – BMitch
    Commented Jan 12, 2013 at 20:40
  • 1
    LOL v2.0! I can see how Steven is seeing things though. If it helps anybody visualize better, think of the grey rectangle being cut vertically to represent each box, the wires running across each cut representing a single cable. 1st box is supply panel with 14/2 to light box 1. 14/3 between light box 1 and 2. 14/2 between light box 2 and switch box, except it would be marked white and black instead of red and black.
    – bcworkz
    Commented Jan 13, 2013 at 0:00
  • I have to do a similar thing: run two lights where there was just one on a switch before. (Is this OK to do?) I added a graphic to make sure I was interpreting the ASCII art correctly. So given the existing set-up (let's say Light 1 connected to the switch), I will just need to jumper both wires coming from Light 2 to the lines that go out to Light 1? Still a bit confused, but this answer is helpful.
    – beroe
    Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 23:59
  • 1
    @BMitch I finally got around to trying this and it worked just fine to follow your instructions. Thanks.
    – beroe
    Commented Sep 29, 2013 at 2:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.