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Thread: one 2 in 1, 3-way switch and three regular 3-way switches

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    odin, illinois
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    23

    Default one 2 in 1, 3-way switch and three regular 3-way switches

    I have power coming into a double gang switch box. I have one 12/3 cable running from this switch box #1, up the wall, across the ceiling, past my light fixture and ceiling fan/light, down the opposite wall into switch box #2. I have one 12/2 cable running from switch box #1 to the light fixture. I have one 12/3 cable running from light fixture to ceiling fan/light. I have one 12/2 cable running from light fixture to ceiling fan/light as well. Finally, I have one 12/2 cable running from ceiling fan/light down to switch box #2. My question is this: Is it possible to operate both lights on 1 switch and the fan motor on the other switch from both sides of the room with my current setup?. My 2 in 1, 3-way switch is a Pass & Seymour TM813-WCC6 legrand decorator style and my regular 3-way switches are Pass & Seymour TM873-WCC10 legrand decorator style switches. If I can't do this, what are my options as far as controlling the fan and lights from both sides of the room. I do not have anymore 12/3 cable and cannot afford to buy more. Please post diagrams of possible solutions, thanks in advance!
    Last edited by jbird; 03-12-2014 at 04:23 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Welland Ontario
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    422

    Default

    That is some messed up cabling.
    I'm not sure I understand what you want. Please tell us again how many switches are in each box and what switches you want to operate what devices.
    Operation Overlord.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    odin, illinois
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    Default

    Zero switches in double gang boxes. I have multiple 3-way switches and 1 double rocker 3-way switch that I would like to use. I have mostly 12/2 cable. I only have enough 12/3 to reach from switch box to switch box and from the light fixture to the fan/light. I would like to operate both fixtures from either side of the room. I wanted to know what options (if any) were available with my current hardware. Ideally, I would like to operate both lights with the top half of my combo switch and the fan motor with the bottom half. As long as I can operate both lights from both sides of the room, I will be satisfied, but the switched fan motor would be awesome! What all can I do with what I have to work with? I was on another forum and the only answer I could get (although not an option) was that I have to run 3 long lengths of 12/3 cable, and I'm just not convinced. I know there's gotta be more than 1 way to electrocute a cat, lol!?!?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kent, WA
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    Well that's the correct answer if you want each light and fan to be independently switched and use metallic wiring methods and avoid EMF fields. Is this ceiling exposed so you can run more wiring? I'm also assuming you want each light independently switched. If not (you actually want the separate light and light in the fan-light to come on/off at the same time), then what is below can be simplified.

    Normally, every 3-way needs a 12-3 between it, that's the way they work. However, because these are all part of the same circuit you may be able to use 12-2 between additional 3-ways. There is one requirement though, and that is to use non-ferrous wiring equipment. Are you using romex (NM) cable and plastic boxes? If so, you can run two additional 12-2's run between box 1 and box 2 instead of 12-3's. These 12-2 must follow closely to the 12-3 (run them right beside it) in order to keep EMF fields low.

    I'd remove the 12-2 between the light and fan-light.
    I'd remove the 12-3 between the light and fan-light.
    I'd run a new 12-2 from box 2 to the light.
    I'd remove the 12-2 from box 1 to the light.
    You should have run 12-3 from box 2 to the fan-light. But two separate 12-2's will also work (you already have one installed).

    At box 1, the black in the power feed needs to go to the common screw of each 3 way (use pigtails in a wire nut). These are usually an odd color screw like black or dark brown.
    The white in the power feed needs to go to the white of the 12-3 going to box 2.
    The travelers of one 3-way in box 1 go to the red and black of the 12-3 cable going to box 2.
    The two new 12-2's from box 1 to box 2 also go to the travelers on the other two 3-ways (one cable to a given 3-way switch). Tape the white wire red in these two 12-2's indicating they are now "hot" wires.

    At box 2, the 12-2's coming from box 1 go two the traveler screws on two of the 3-ways. Again, tape the white wire red in these indicating they are hot wires.
    Put the red and black wires in the 12-3 from box 1 onto the traveler screws of the last 3 way.
    Connect the white in the 12-3 from box 1 to the whites in the 12-2's going to the fan, fan-light, and light.
    Connect the black in the 12-2 going to the light to the common terminal of its 3-way switch (the odd color screw).
    Connect the black in the 12-2 going to the fan to the common terminal of its 3-way switch (the odd color screw).
    Connect the black in the 12-2 going to the fan-light to the common terminal of its 3-way switch (the odd color screw).

    In all boxes, connect all the bare grounding wires together and add pigtails to go to the green screw on the 3-way switches if they have them.
    Last edited by suemarkp; 03-12-2014 at 11:28 AM.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    odin, illinois
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    Quote Originally Posted by suemarkp View Post
    If not (you actually want the separate light and light in the fan-light to come on/off at the same time), then what is below can be simplified
    Yes, I want both lights to turn on/off at the same time. So, can you please simplify or draw a diagram perhaps? I no longer have the 2 in 1switch, just four single 3-way switches. Also, the 12-3 cable I have to run from box 2 to the fan/light, doesn't have a ground wire. I heard it's alright since it is over 30 years old and "grandfathered"
    Last edited by chrisb; 03-25-2014 at 08:23 AM. Reason: fix quote

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kent, WA
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    Repeated questions from before: Are you using romex (NM) cable and plastic boxes? If so, you can run one additional 12-2 run between box 1 and box 2 instead of 12-3's. This 12-2 must follow closely to the 12-3 (run right beside it) in order to keep EMF fields low. If the box is metal, put the 12-2 into the same cable clamp hole as the 12-3.

    Second question: is this area all exposed, so you can run wiring at will, or is it concealed so you can't change anything? If concealed, just disconnect the wires I say to remove and ideally remove both ends from their respective boxes so they aren't crowding space in their boxes.

    Your old ungrounded wiring is grandfathered if it is already installed. If you're running new wire, it must be wire with a grounding conductor. An all plastic or ceramic light fixture doesn't require a ground. But you really should ground a ceiling fan, since if something fails its metal housing could shock you.

    What to do:
    I'd remove the 12-3 between the light and fan-light (assuming there is still a 12-2 between the light and fan-light).
    I'd remove the 12-2 from box 1 to the light.
    I'd run a new 12-2 from box 2 to the light. You should have run 12-3 from box 2 to the fan-light. But two separate 12-2's will also work (you already have one installed). Two separate 12-2's with ground are preferable to one 12-3 with no grounding wire.

    At box 1, the black in the power feed needs to go to the common screw of each 3 way (use pigtails in a wire nut). These are usually an odd color screw like black or dark brown.
    The white in the power feed needs to go to the white of the 12-3 going to box 2.
    The travelers of one 3-way in box 1 go to the red and black of the 12-3 cable going to box 2.
    The new 12-2 from box 1 to box 2 goes to the travelers on the other 3-way. Tape the white wire red in this 12-2 indicating it is now a "hot" wire.

    At box 2, the 12-2 coming from box 1 goes two the traveler screws on one of the 3-ways. Again, tape the white wire red indicating this is a hot wire.
    Put the red and black wires in the 12-3 from box 1 onto the traveler screws of the last 3 way.
    Connect the white in the 12-3 from box 1 to the whites in the 12-2's going to the fan-light and light.
    Connect the black in the 12-2 going to the lights to the common terminal of its 3-way switch (the odd color screw).
    Connect the black in the 12-2 going to the fan to the common terminal of its 3-way switch (the odd color screw).

    At the light, connect all whites together (2 plus the light). Connect all blacks together (2 plus the light).
    At the fan-light, connect all whites together (2 plus fan and light). Connect the black in the 12-2 from the ceiling box to the light in the fan. Connect the black in the 12-2 from switch box 2 to the fan motor hot wire (could be black or blue -- look at the fan-light instructions).

    In all boxes, connect all the bare grounding wires together (in the power cables, light, and light fan fixtures) and add pigtails to go to the green screw on the 3-way switches if they have them.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

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