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Connecting an outlet into a 3-way switch controlled light
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Connecting an outlet into a 3-way switch controlled light

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Connecting an outlet into a 3-way switch controlled light
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Thread: Connecting an outlet into a 3-way switch controlled light

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    1

    Default Connecting an outlet into a 3-way switch controlled light

    I have an existing light in a garage stairway, controlled by two switches. i would like to run an always hot outlet off of the light. I have pulled the light out to see the wires, and this is how it is wired:

    Switch A feeds into the outlet box with a 4 wire cable. The black wire feeds into a junction with the black wire from the 4 wire cable leading to switch B. The red wire feeds into a junction with the red wire from the 4 wire cable feeding switch B. The white wire is taped to look black, and feeds into a junction with the black wire from the light.

    The white wire from Switch B connects to the white wire from the light.

    I am assuming the the original power is feeding through switch A, mainly because it is downstairs and closest to the circuit breaker.

    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks[/QUOTE]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Lala land, OH
    Posts
    237

    Default

    Cant do it.

    You do not have a constant hot at the light. The red and black wires are travelers. Only 1 of them is ever hot at a time. You need to power this outlet from elsewhere.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    414

    Default

    I had to read it a few times to understand what 'planner rich' was explaining regarding the existing wiring. A white wire that has black tape around it means that that wire has been used as a hot / switched hot.

    You really only need to look at the cable at the fixture itself and if only one cable and that cable is a 2 wire plus bare then without having to look further it has only a switched feed and no always on. This means as Mr T stated you cannot get an always on feed to a new outlet from the fixture.

    You will have to find another location to wire an always on feed to your new outlet
    Last edited by dkerr; 09-01-2013 at 08:46 PM.
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  4. #4

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    I know this is late, but I thought I would mention for future viewers. I came across an alternative wiring method called the "California-3way" or "Coast 3way" that makes it so you can have an always hot wire at the end of a 3-way.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3-way_s...rnative_system

    It is not a code violation, and doesn't require pulling new wire through. Just rewire at the boxes and make a note for someone who would have to deal with it later in the panel.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    217

    Default

    The california 3-way can be a code violation. Code requires that all conductors of a circuit be run together and through the same knockout. You can't do this circuit like that unless you're running conduit or find some 14-4 cable. There is an exception allowing this if the cabling, switch box, and light box are all non ferrous. However, this will cause EMF issues if the neutral is distant from the other conductors. Many people are becoming paranoid about EMF, so I'd avoid that if you can.

    As much as I like wikipedia, they are short a few details on code compliance.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Welland Ontario
    Posts
    400

    Default

    The California three way requires four wires so it is no different than any other three way wiring method. With four wires you can do it with any of the methods, two travellers, a hot and a neutral.
    Operation Overlord.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by suemarkp View Post
    The california 3-way can be a code violation. Code requires that all conductors of a circuit be run together and through the same knockout. You can't do this circuit like that unless you're running conduit or find some 14-4 cable. There is an exception allowing this if the cabling, switch box, and light box are all non ferrous. However, this will cause EMF issues if the neutral is distant from the other conductors. Many people are becoming paranoid about EMF, so I'd avoid that if you can.

    As much as I like wikipedia, they are short a few details on code compliance.
    Sorry it was late when I replied, I didn't retain the question in my head correctly. I was thinking he wanted an outlet after the switches. Now, I'm wondering whether he wanted one of those old timey ceramic lights with the Rx actually built into the light. For that, if the wire is not stapled down, it would be possible to pull new 4-wire through from the first switch junction, using the old wire to fish the new line up. The only reason I would see doing that compared to running a new line would be if it kept me from digging through sheetrock and if I knew the holes drilled through the studs for the wire aren't too small to do such a thing. Not likely since everyone seems to be doing the minimum to get by.

    I'm ready to start focusing on my problems now.

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