Wiring 3-way switches

Keith44
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Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2016 9:52 pm

Wiring 3-way switches

Unread post by Keith44 » Sat Jun 04, 2016 7:00 pm

Wiring two switches to control a light circuit is not difficult, but it does require some thought. The thing to keep in mind is one switch moves where power is supplied to the other switch. The second switch simply selects which wire it uses to supply power to the light(s). In practice, a wire is connected between the power source (in my case I ran from the breaker panel) and the traveler terminal (usually the black screw). Then two wires are connected between the two switches on the brass terminals (the switched legs of the switch). The neutral wire is connected only to other neutrals. (Note: I did not say white wire, I said neutral. White is normally neutral, but with the 3-way switch circuit the white becomes a hot conductor, at least in the method I will show here.

The basic schematic looks like this...or similar.

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So from the panel to switch 1 I used 2 conductor romex, then three conductor romex between the switches. This gave me two white wires, two black wires, two bare wires, and one red wire at the first switch.

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Switch one was wired with the black from the panel going to the black terminal, and the black and red from the 3 conductor romex cable connected to the two brass terminals.

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The two white wires were shortened to fit in the box and tied together as a neutral.

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At the light fixture (this is where it gets confusing, and close attention must be paid) I connected all the neutrals, including the neutral that will run to the other 5 lights. The two red and two black wires between the switches were also tied together. Now to the left you can see two black wires, and a white wire tied together. The white is the third wire from switch two. One black wire goes to the fixture, one goes to the next fixture in the circuit.

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a pic of switch 2 with the white wire connected to the traveler or black terminal

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Keith44
Posts: 291
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2016 9:52 pm

Re: Wiring 3-way switches

Unread post by Keith44 » Sat Jun 04, 2016 7:11 pm

Oh and yes I buttoned everything up before stopping for the day

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S2
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Farmfresh
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Re: Wiring 3-way switches

Unread post by Farmfresh » Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:45 pm

What time are you coming over on Monday? I could sure use someone on the other end of my fish tape that has a clue as to what is going on.
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
"Stop Dreaming About the Good Life and Start Living IT !"
Every little bit ... is a little bit.

Keith44
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Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2016 9:52 pm

Re: Wiring 3-way switches

Unread post by Keith44 » Sun Jun 05, 2016 6:10 am

LOL well umm Monday might be a little too booked up for a road trip...I sure wish some of us were closer together

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Farmfresh
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Re: Wiring 3-way switches

Unread post by Farmfresh » Sun Jun 05, 2016 6:53 am

You said it!
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
"Stop Dreaming About the Good Life and Start Living IT !"
Every little bit ... is a little bit.

patriceinil
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Location: Illinois

Re: Wiring 3-way switches

Unread post by patriceinil » Sun Jun 05, 2016 12:23 pm

Great tutorial Keith!

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Rohn
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Re: Wiring 3-way switches

Unread post by Rohn » Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:15 am

That is a great tutorial Keith. I could have used that a few years ago when I tried to hook a three-way up. I don't think I ever did get it right.
Rohn


(John 8:32) And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (KJV)

Keith44
Posts: 291
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2016 9:52 pm

Re: Wiring 3-way switches

Unread post by Keith44 » Mon Jun 06, 2016 2:52 pm

Don't feel bad, most folks can't get it right. Since I was installing it, I thought it might be something for the archives that would benefit all do it yourselfers

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