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Old 12-29-2009, 10:03 AM   #16
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3 way Switch Install


I think commons AND travelers should be taped black if they are white or grey...to tell that they are NOT neutrals. Travelers also carry hot current, even if only one at a time.

If you remove the old switch, the two recoded wires should be tied together with a wire nut, and the incoming black should go right to the common (i assume that's what you planned to do, tough to tell from your diagram). Looks right to me, and it's exactly how my kitchen light is wired.

This diagram may help you understand how the 3-way switches actually work, if it is still unclear. All the different 3-way diagrams are doing the same thing, just routing the wires through different paths for ease of installation or to prevent redoing old wiring when retrofitting.


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Old 12-29-2009, 10:38 AM   #17
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My situation is that the light is not easily accessible so doing the mods at the switch is easiest. Both the existing wires are black as is. I plan to connect each of the two black wires to the common on each of the two new 3 ways. Then connect the travelers together leaving them the original color what ever they are from homedepot.

The picture you posted and the ones at the site I found (I was only googling for pics) all show a source wire going to the light. That's difficult for me because I would have to remove the light and trace the wires to confirm things as I do not want to assume anything being inexperienced as I am with this stuff. Following the simple all-around method Joed and others use I can't go wrong because it starts with both source wires at the switch which is what I have, just two wires at the switch.
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Old 12-29-2009, 11:00 AM   #18
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The picture I posted shows the source at the switch.

When coverting an old single-pole switch to a 3-way setup, it is of course easier to mod the switch boxes than try to run new cables to the fixture, which is why I converted to a 3-way setup in the same fashion you are doing.

The standard (most simple) way to wire a 3-way is: Line-->switch-->switch-->lights. No matter how you wire a 3-way, this is how it works. If you simply trace the hot from the source to the lights...the devices on the line will always be in that order (switch, switch, lights), even if the wires are routed back and forth a thousand times.

The wires in 14-2 are red/white/black. You can use black and red as your travelers, and the white will connect to the common on the new switch and to one of the black wires in your existing switch box. This wire needs to be taped black since it's hot.

I hope I am explaining things clearly....

Do you know which of the two wires in your existing switch is the hot? Might be easier to explain exactly how your setup works with a diagram. Joed's wiring diagram will work regardless of which is the hot, but it might help you understand (and me explain) what's going on if you know which one it is.
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Old 12-29-2009, 11:40 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by secutanudu View Post
The picture I posted shows the source at the switch.

When coverting an old single-pole switch to a 3-way setup, it is of course easier to mod the switch boxes than try to run new cables to the fixture, which is why I converted to a 3-way setup in the same fashion you are doing.

The standard (most simple) way to wire a 3-way is: Line-->switch-->switch-->lights. No matter how you wire a 3-way, this is how it works. If you simply trace the hot from the source to the lights...the devices on the line will always be in that order (switch, switch, lights), even if the wires are routed back and forth a thousand times.

The wires in 14-2 are red/white/black. You can use black and red as your travelers, and the white will connect to the common on the new switch and to one of the black wires in your existing switch box. This wire needs to be taped black since it's hot.

I hope I am explaining things clearly....

Do you know which of the two wires in your existing switch is the hot? Might be easier to explain exactly how your setup works with a diagram. Joed's wiring diagram will work regardless of which is the hot, but it might help you understand (and me explain) what's going on if you know which one it is.
secutanudu,

I think you are just confusing the OP. He had it exactly right on his last post. It does not matter which of the 2 wires on the existing switch is the hot. The method Joed and I suggested has the hot on the switch either connected to the common at the old switch location or at the new switch location. And it makes no difference which.
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Old 12-29-2009, 12:17 PM   #20
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selvan777: Follow the advice given by joed and rjniles; all that is required is the 14/3 between the switches and you do not have to disturb any other wiring.
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Old 12-29-2009, 12:35 PM   #21
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I guess I am not as good as explaining things as I'd like to be. I know it doesn't matter which is hot (it will work with either), just trying to explain how it is actually run im his case so he'd understand better what's going on.

You're probably right in that I'm just confusing him more!
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Old 12-29-2009, 12:46 PM   #22
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Looks good to me.
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Old 12-29-2009, 02:47 PM   #23
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Thanks all.

I've got it all tore up and the bk/rd/wh 14/3 run in. After connecting and testing I'll post back if not after returning from ER...
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:05 PM   #24
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Cheers my friends, it's all connected and working like a champ... thanks a bunch.
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:12 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by selvan777 View Post
Cheers my friends, it's all connected and working like a champ... thanks a bunch.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:28 AM   #26
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Here's another I'd like to tackle with your help. Let me ask first if this is possible: if S1 & S2 are made 3-ways for L1, L2, L3, & L4 can I still have S4 only control L4?

Currently:
S1 controls L1
S2 controls L2
S4 controls L4
L3 may be added
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:11 PM   #27
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yes you can. Drawing to follow later tonight.
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Old 12-30-2009, 01:12 PM   #28
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Hi Joed, I don't know but maybe it's best you wait till I get more detailed info for you on how things are as is like the number of circuits involved, the wire runs, etc. These are all backyard porch lights, L1 & L2 are on walls of a single closet, L3 will be off an adjoining bedroom wall, & L4 is off the garage wall after 2 more bedrooms not pictured.

Question: if L4 is on will I be able to turn it off with S1 and/or S2?

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Old 12-30-2009, 02:16 PM   #29
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There can only be one circuit involved.

If this is an existing setup then you can figure on probably rewiring most everything.

Give us the details and we shall see, but it must be on one circuit to work.
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Old 12-30-2009, 07:47 PM   #30
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It is an existing setup except for the third light - L3. So far I've only been able to find that there are two 15amp circuits involved, one for L1 & L2, and the other to L4 by the garage and close to the breakers.

I do realize there will be much work involved so if you don't mind I'd like to confirm the end results with just one question for now.

If L4 is on and the rest are off, what will happen when I use S1 or S2? Will the remaining 3 come on and then if toggled again, all 4 off?

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