3-way Switch Configuation Modification - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 01-23-2016, 04:09 PM   #1
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3-way switch configuation modification

I am need some advice on changing out a 3-way switch
Wiring and current switches are +40 years old

current wiring-
1. power goes through 2 light fixtures-
2 wires come from lights to switch (2-wire cable with ground, black, white and dark grey ground)
Black wire attaches to SW1 common terminal
White wire is connected to the black wire that goes to SW2 common terminal
Grey Wire is attached to SW1 outlet box

2. SW1- this 3 way switch uses Black hot wire on Common Terminal
Also has 2 traveler wires (red and white- which connect to SW2)
*This is an older switch and isn't grounded, however the wiring between switches is 3-wire cable (Black, White, Red and bare copper)
The ground wire is currently hooked to outlet box on SW1 end

3. SW2- This switch is connected on Common terminal to Black wire (which comes from the white wire out to lights
It also uses the red and white wires from SW1 for traveler wires
This switch is also not grounded, and the ground wire that comes from SW1 is attached to SW2 outlet box

This is where I need some advice
4. Duplex outlet in SW2 outlet box
This outlet is hot whether the lights are on or not
It's power comes from pigtail from SW2 Black wire
And it has a bare copper wire attached to where you would normally attach white wire

I would like to-
A. remove 3-way switch at SW1 and replace with an outlet/switch combo that is always hot
B. replace old 3-way switch in SW2 with single pole to control lights
C. Have the outlet in SW2 always hot
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 3waySwitchConfig.pdf (74.1 KB, 41 views)


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Old 01-23-2016, 04:51 PM   #2
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The receptacle in sw2 box s using a bare ground as a neutral. That is against code and is dangerous. It should be disconnected, immediately.

Your root problem is that you have no neutral from the light to sw1 box. The white wire is the constant hot, and the black is the switched hot that returns the power to the light from the 3way switch arrangement. Without a neutral, you cannot have a receptacle in either box.

If you want to control the lights from either location and have a hot receptacle in each, you need an XX-3 coming down to sw1 and an XX-4 between the two switch locations.


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