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Old 01-23-2011, 09:43 PM   #1
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3 way light switch help


Hello everybody, i have a question that I cannot find the answer to... I have two 3 way light switches with 2 lights in between. The run goes 12-2 wire into the first switch box, then 12-3 wire to light, then 12-3 wire to 2nd light, then 12-3 wire to second switch box. In the second box (at the end of the run) I also have power coming from another 12-2 wire from a different circuit. My question is if I can control both lights with both switches without adding any wire from the first light to the second (only have 12-3 wire there)--- In all I have heard and seen done you have to run an extra wire (12-4 ?) from the first light to the second light which will let you control both at the same time.. Does having power to both switches make a difference in this? or do I have to cut down the sheetrock and add a wire? Thanks- Pete

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Old 01-23-2011, 09:56 PM   #2
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3 way light switch help


I'm a bit confused--does the switch control both lights now?

Try to explaining what is happening with the switches now--and what you are trying to add--Mike--

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Old 01-23-2011, 10:08 PM   #3
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3 way light switch help


right now both switches control both lights but not how it should work... the way they turn on and off changes and only 1 turns on if the bottom switch is up- (I am only using power from the first circut right now but could use the other if it would help). I have everything wired like it would be for a normal 3 way light switch controlling 1 light (where the power source goes to the first switch then both lights then the last switch) and don't know how to add the second light with only the 3 way wire in between them (I think most people put more than just the 3 way wire from the first light to the second light?) thanks
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:14 PM   #4
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3 way light switch help


I am wondering if I can get everything to work right like it is supposed to without adding any wire as I have already hung sheetrock and painted. I know I would have to add a wire between both lights (you need more than just the 3 way wire between the 2 lights to control the 2 lights with the 2 switches), but am wondering if having the power from the other circuit already at the last switch could change this? thanks
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:27 PM   #5
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3 way light switch help


Power at both switches may not be used to get around running another wire.

As an academic exercise, it could be done. (Use some miniature lamps, wires in 18 to 22 gauge, a piece of perf-board, and with one battery and both positive and negative wires going to both ends of the board and to the traveler terminals of the respective switches.) The result is against code and sometimes referred to as a California 3 way.

The easiest real solution in your case is to run another 2 conductor cable between the two lights. The cleanest way was to run the 3 conductor cable non-stop between the switches with a 2 conductor from one switch to one light and a 2 conductor between the lights
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:54 PM   #6
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3 way light switch help


so I definitely need another wire in there for it to work properly ?
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:06 PM   #7
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3 way light switch help


yes more wire. can you access a crawlspace below or an attic above? Then you don't have to damage drywall.
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:44 PM   #8
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3 way light switch help


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Originally Posted by dixonpj View Post
so I definitely need another wire in there for it to work properly ?
Yes you need 4 wires between the lights
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