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Old 01-02-2012, 04:48 PM   #1
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3-Way Switch Bypass Questions


Hello, everyone! I regret that this is my first post here. I have been searching but I can't find an answer to my question. I would appreciate any assistance you can spare.

Here is my situation.

I have a room that has nine recessed lights controlled in groups of three. Before I started messing around with everything down there they were controlled by a three dimmers on one side of the room (one dimmer per three lights) and by three switches on the other side of the room. A standard 3-way scenario.

My goal is to remove the switches on one side of the room and combine all nine lights onto a single two-way dimmer.

The load from the panel comes in to the box that has the switches (that I want to remove).

The switch box (to be removed) has black and white coming in and then it has three black, three, white, and three red going out (presumably to the fixtures).

The Dimmer box (to stay but to gang together into a single dimmer) has three black, three white, and three red coming in.

I'll add the caveat that putting nine of these fixtures into a single dimmer might not be a good idea. The dimmer specs support 800w but my load is a total of 99w (LED).

So all of that being said here is my question:
What do I do with the wires in the switch box and dimmer boxes to make a single dimmer control these nine lights?

Thank You!

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Old 01-02-2012, 05:11 PM   #2
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3-Way Switch Bypass Questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by jdanforth View Post

I have a room that has nine recessed lights controlled in groups of three.
A standard 3-way scenario. OK so far.

My goal is to remove the switches on one side of the room and combine all nine lights onto a single two-way dimmer. Doable.

The load from the panel comes in to the box that has the switches (that I want to remove).

This will be an issue.
You can remove the switches but the wires need to be in a box.


The switch box (to be removed) has black and white coming in and then it has three black, three, white, and three red going out (presumably to the fixtures).

Hopefully not.
It'll be a LOT simpler if these 3W's go to the OTHER switch box...

The Dimmer box (to stay but to gang together into a single dimmer) has three black, three white, and three red coming in.

That's too bad. Still doable but more complicated.

I'll add the caveat that putting nine of these fixtures into a single dimmer might not be a good idea. The dimmer specs support 800w but my load is a total of 99w (LED).

That's a topic for another day.
Fwiw... I'd suggest dimming six and switching 3 at 100% power.

So all of that being said here is my question:
What do I do with the wires in the switch box and dimmer boxes to make a single dimmer control these nine lights?

Thank You!
Start with 3 way switch option diagrams and understanding what is in YOUR house.
This is what we WANT to see but I don't think you have.

If you can diagram what you ACTUALLY have, which will probably require opening a few of those light fixtures to confirm, that'll go a long way to being sure.

hth
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Last edited by TarheelTerp; 01-02-2012 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 01-02-2012, 05:46 PM   #3
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3-Way Switch Bypass Questions


I think this will do it based on the *assumption* that the 3w romex is going through each fixture on the way to the other switch box. It'll still require opening up EVERY light fixture and changing the tie in.

Feed/Switch Box

2W 120V feed White ---> 3 White wires tied into Light 1 & 2 & 3 and ends at #3
2W 120V feed Black ---> 3 Black wires goes through Light 1 & 2 & 3
to feed the Dimmer Box without connecting to any of the lights.
Red Wire gets wire-nutted and ignored.

At The Dimmer Box
Black fro switch box becomes new feed to Dimmer Sw.
Red goes back and tied into Light 3 & 2 & 1
White wire gets wire-nutted and ignored.

Red and Black can be reversed depending on what you find in the fixtures.
---

This leaves you with the old switch box used for junctions (w/ blank cover plate) still in place.

hth

Last edited by TarheelTerp; 01-02-2012 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:43 AM   #4
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3-Way Switch Bypass Questions


Thank you SO MUCH!

I have done a little more digging and have some clarification to offer. I don't intend to remove the *box* at the other end, just the switches inside it. I know all too well how bad an idea that is. I phrased my sentences very poorly earlier.

I have dug around in the boxes and made a diagram of what's in there. Hopefully it's clear enough to follow. Here is a link to the diagram since it's really big (so you can read it!).

The Porch Box contained the switches which I'd like to remove. The Stairs Box is the one I'd like to keep.

BL = Black
WH = White
R = Red

All wires have grounds tied together.

And my narrative of what I found:

There is a black/white/ground ("X") going between the two boxes. There are two black/white/red/ground "A" and "B" going between the two boxes although I don't know how to tell if these wires have an intermediate destination.

The Porch box has three black/white/ground ("Left", "Center", and "Right") which go to the groups of three cans. I have confirmed that connecting the load in from the panel to these three wires does, in fact, light the groups.

Given this new information can you suggest a method for installing a single dimmer in the Stairs Box that will control all three zones?

Again, thank you SO much for your help!
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:14 AM   #5
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3-Way Switch Bypass Questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by jdanforth View Post
Thank you SO MUCH! You're welcome.
Given this new information can you suggest a method...
You're in luck! This arrangement makes it all SUPER easy

Pick a wire... any wire.
1) Pick the A or B or X that runs between the two switch boxes and ignore the others.
Don't cut them! Tape up the ends related to each and tuck that into the back of the box... Just be sure you know the ends of each! (use a continuity tester to confirm)

I'll say you're using set "A".

At the Stairs Box:
Connect the black & red wires of "A" to the dimmer wires.
Wirenut the remaining white wire.

At the Porch Box:
Connect the feed black (from the 2W) to the "A" black wire.
Connect the "A" red wire to the (3) blacks going to the fixtures.
Connect the feed white wire (from the 2W) to the (3) whites going to the fixtures.

Done.

The porch box can then be covered with a blank plate.
Managing a cover plate for the stairs box will be trickier.

hth

PS: I still say to dim six and switch three.
(this can be accomplished later when you decide I'm right)

Last edited by TarheelTerp; 01-03-2012 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:55 AM   #6
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3-Way Switch Bypass Questions


It works! Yeah! Thank you so much!

The main reason that I'm dimming all nine of these 6-inch recessed lights is that there are 21 additional 4-inch recessed lights in this room on three separate (12, 4, 5) zones.

Again, thank you!

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