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3way questions
Residential Wiring - The Right Way!

Wiring Information for the Do It Yourself Homeowner

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Thread: 3way questions

  1. #1

    Default 3way questions

    Installing 8 recessed cans. There were two 3 way switches controlling two outlets. I've disconnected the switches from the outlets (which are now just constant on) and now I'm hoping to use those "freed up" switches for my lights.

    Power is coming from a different circuit than the outlets I mentioned; and I can take it to the fixture or to one of the switches.

    The issue I have is that the traveller between the switches has only TWO wires, not three.

    Is there a way I can wire the lights and power to still make use of the existing traveller or do I need to start from scratch?

    I also need to know the proper sequence for wiring and which type of wire I'll need between the lights, 14/2 or 14/3.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    219

    Default

    I think you need to start from scratch. If the switch boxes are metal, there is no code legal way to do it with just 2 wires between 3-way switches. There is also a new code requirement to have a neutral available in switch boxes. So run 14-2 to one of the 3 way switches. Run 14-3 between the two 3-ways (neutral is just nutted to itself, the red and black go on the 3-way switch terminals). Run 14-2 from the last 3-way to the first light, and 14-2 between each light.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by suemarkp View Post
    I think you need to start from scratch. If the switch boxes are metal, there is no code legal way to do it with just 2 wires between 3-way switches. There is also a new code requirement to have a neutral available in switch boxes. So run 14-2 to one of the 3 way switches. Run 14-3 between the two 3-ways (neutral is just nutted to itself, the red and black go on the 3-way switch terminals). Run 14-2 from the last 3-way to the first light, and 14-2 between each light.

    I thought it might not be possible... switch boxes are plastic, but can I run 14/2 power to a switch, and 14/3 between the lights, and then down to the second switch? Rather than having to run the 14/3 through lots of drywall and joists? I've already got my work finished in the ceiling for running cable between the lights, and would hate to have to do any more boring through 2x4s or cutting any more drywall!
    Last edited by tominrichmond; 12-27-2012 at 04:36 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    219

    Default

    If you want to skip the "neutral in the switch box" rule (because your house probably pre-dates the rule), you have more options, but not going from switch to light to light to switch. Doing it like that will require 14-4 cable between the lights. You could do 14-2 to light, 14-3 to 3-way, 14-3 to other 3-way (dead ended there) and then continue with 14-2 between the lights.

    No matter how you do it, you need 2 travelers between the switches, and a switched hot and a neutral at each light. There are many different paths to do that, but kind of tough if you didn't run 14-3 between the switches first... If you have only one light, or can connect both switches from the same light, you have an option.

    Here's some diagrams:
    http://www.wiringdoneright.com/3wayswitch/
    http://www.wfu.edu/~matthews/courses...ariations.html
    Last edited by dkerr; 07-16-2013 at 03:40 PM. Reason: updated link
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by suemarkp View Post
    If you want to skip the "neutral in the switch box" rule (because your house probably pre-dates the rule), you have more options, but not going from switch to light to light to switch. Doing it like that will require 14-4 cable between the lights. You could do 14-2 to light, 14-3 to 3-way, 14-3 to other 3-way (dead ended there) and then continue with 14-2 between the lights.

    No matter how you do it, you need 2 travelers between the switches, and a switched hot and a neutral at each light. There are many different paths to do that, but kind of tough if you didn't run 14-3 between the switches first... If you have only one light, or can connect both switches from the same light, you have an option.

    Here's some diagrams:
    http://www.wiringdoneright.com/3wayswitch/
    http://www.wfu.edu/~matthews/courses...ariations.html
    Thanks for the advice... I think I'm going to just bite the bullet and run 14/3 from switch to switch, which will then allow me to simply do 14/2 between lights.
    Last edited by dkerr; 07-16-2013 at 03:40 PM.

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