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Old 07-10-2012, 02:50 PM   #1
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3 way switch


Hello,

I am wondering if someone can help me with the wiring configuration for a 3 way switch in my basement. I am in the process of finishing it and am stuck on this wiring. I have tried to draw a diagram of the situation. I will also try to explain what I can.

I have removed the wall that the "old switch" was on and am going to relocate the swicth to a panel on another wall indicated by "new switch". When I disconnected the old switch, I was left with 5 wires, (2 blue, 1 white, 1 yellow, and 1 black) coming out of the string light. There is a White and a yellow wire coming out of the light that is in the stairway. I have run new conduit as indicated by the orange lines. I am not sure yet what is in the existing conduit between the string lights or the upstairs switch.

I planned on running the white and yellow from the stairway light through the new conduit to the first string light. After that, I am not sure what to do with the 5 wires coming out of the first string light.

If this is too difficult to explain, let me know and I can have someone come by and help. I just thought I would ask here first.

Thanks for the help!
Andy

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Old 07-10-2012, 02:52 PM   #2
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3 way switch


Sorry, here is the picture.
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:39 PM   #3
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3 way switch


Quote:
Originally Posted by andybeck View Post
...wiring configuration for a 3 way switch in my basement.
...removed the wall that the "old switch" was on
Where is the second switch?

2 wire in --> 1st 3way <-- (3wire) --> 2nd 3way --> 2 wire to Light
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:42 PM   #4
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3 way switch


One is at the top of the stairs and the other is indicated by "new switch".
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Old 07-10-2012, 10:42 PM   #5
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3 way switch


hope this makes sense to you. Since you have conduit the colours will not match for a cable install.
From the bottom light to the new switch pull four wires, 1 black, 2 reds.
At the new switch
Connect black to common and reds to travellers.From light 1 ot light 2 pull two reds,one black, one white.
At first light connect panel black to new switch black
Connect two reds to two reds.
Connect two white together and to light one.
Connect black from light one to light two.

from light two to light three run black and white
From light two to existing switch run two reds and black.

Connect black from light one to black from light three black form existing switch and to light 2 fixture.
Connect white together and to light two fixture.

At existing switch connect black to common and reds to travellers.
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Old 07-11-2012, 05:41 AM   #6
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3 way switch


There are a lot of threads on here concerning 3-way switches depending on which location power comes into and then how cable is routed to the load and the other switch. Below are some common simpler arrangements:

diagram 4 is power into the load then switch-switch
diagram 1 is power into a switch then load-switch
diagram 2 is power into a switch then switch-load
Attached Thumbnails
3 way switch-load-switch-switch-2.jpg   3 way switch-switch-load-switch.jpg   3 way switch-switch-switch-load.jpg  

Last edited by hammerlane; 07-11-2012 at 05:44 AM.
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Old 07-11-2012, 09:46 AM   #7
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3 way switch


Thank you all for the help! This help a lot! The only question I now have is why are there so many wires in my setup? Shouldn't there only be a hot (yellow) common (white) and traveler (Blue)? When I removed the old switch, there were 5 wires, 1 yellow, 1 white, 1 black, and 2 blues.
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Old 07-11-2012, 09:53 AM   #8
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3 way switch


Nope, sounds like just the right number of conductors.

Hot and neutral, and 3 wires between switches.
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Old 07-11-2012, 12:36 PM   #9
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Because you moved the switch so there is now two lights in between the switches. Previously you could go direct from one switch to the other through one light.
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Old 07-11-2012, 04:01 PM   #10
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Thanks! I should be able to figure it out with this info!

One more question, does anyone know if there is typically a code that states how close to the bottom of a stairway a 3 way switch needs to be? The new switch that I am putting in is roughly 20 feet from the landing.

Thanks!
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Old 07-11-2012, 04:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andybeck View Post
One more question, does anyone know if there is typically a code that states how close to the bottom of a stairway a 3 way switch needs to be? The new switch that I am putting in is roughly 20 feet from the landing.
1) The stairwell should have it's own light with a (3way) switch at the top and bottom.

2) That box at the bottom of the stairwell can conveniently hold a second switch to operate the other or general basement lighting.

If not immediately next to the stairwell switch... it should be pretty close. But certainly not 20 feet away.

Last edited by TarheelTerp; 07-11-2012 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 07-11-2012, 04:31 PM   #12
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3 way switch


Interior stairways of 6 or more risers shall have a wall switch located:
-at each floor level
-and at each landing that has an entryway


So code does not say anything about proximity to the stairwell on each level BUT common sense should dictate the switch be at the bottom and top.
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:16 AM   #13
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3 way switch


Thanks again for all of your help! I was able to wire the 3 way switches with your help! I was also able to include the third string light on the 3 way switch. I had assumed it was already included but because the light fixture was broken, I could not be sure until I opened it up.

I have attached a picture that might help show where I will be putting the 3 way switch in the basement. The switch for the 3 way as well as a dimmer for 6 can lights will be located on the corner wall on the very left hand side of the picture and on the side that runs north. My logic for this is, when I come downstairs I will switch the 3 lights for the stairs and hallway on at the top of the stairs. Once I get to the switch box in the basement, I can turn the can lights on and the stairs/hallway lights off. If I had the lower 3 way switch directly at the bootom of the stairs, I would have to leave the lights on until I got to the can light switch and then go back to turn the hallway lights off.

It sounds like there is not a code regarding the placement, just that there must be a 3 way.

Thanks again for all of your help!

Andy
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:36 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andybeck View Post
My logic for this is when I come downstairs I will switch the 3 lights for the stairs and hallway on at the top of the stairs.
I'm not even gonna try to follow your layout logic and references...
but I'll repeat that the stairwell gets it's own lighting controlled by a 3 way at the top and bottom. This is required by law.
The question is HOW you do the other basement lighting.

What would a person unfamiliar with your basement do when they are at the bottom of that stairwell? If for some reason the general basement lighting switch is not at the same exact location as the stairwell light switch.... it should very close to that location and within unobstructed line of sight.

Before they leave the safety of the lighted stairwell their safe path through the area should be obvious.

Last edited by TarheelTerp; 07-12-2012 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:41 AM   #15
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3 way switch


Exactly what I thought would make sense. The general basement lighting switch for the can lights will be on the same panel as the 3 way switch that controls the hallway and stairs light. If I or anyone else were leaving the basement, I would turn the recessed lights off and turn the hallway/stairs lights on. I would have a lighted path to the top of the stairs where the other 3 way switch is located.

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