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Old 06-12-2012, 04:16 PM   #1
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3-way switch - powered switch in middle?


I have an existing light with a single switch near the middle of the kitchen. I want to put in a three-way switch with the second switch located by the kitchen entrance. So far, easy enough.

The problem is that it is simple to wire from the existing switch to the new switch location but not from the light to the new switch location. This means I would end up with powered switch in the middle. New 14-3 going out one way to second switch, and the existing 14-2 from the middle switch to the light.

I can't find any example of how to wire a 3-way switch with SW->SW->Light and power going into the middle switch. Can it be done?

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Old 06-12-2012, 04:44 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dalepres View Post
I have an existing light with a single switch near the middle of the kitchen. I want to put in a three-way switch with the second switch located by the kitchen entrance. So far, easy enough.

The problem is that it is simple to wire from the existing switch to the new switch location but not from the light to the new switch location. This means I would end up with powered switch in the middle. New 14-3 going out one way to second switch, and the existing 14-2 from the middle switch to the light.

I can't find any example of how to wire a 3-way switch with SW->SW->Light and power going into the middle switch. Can it be done?
It wouldn't work if you came out of the light anyway... unless you were one lucky guy that for some reason already had a 3 conductor run to the exiting light.

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Old 06-12-2012, 04:45 PM   #3
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Yes you can take an existing working switch and light setup and run a 3 wire cable from the existing switch location to the new switch location and make a 3 way setup.

Remove the power wire from the old switch and connect it to the common terminal (usually darker colored or with a "C" engraved near it) of a 3 way switch.

Remove the light fixture wire (black) from the old switch and connect it to the black wire of the new 3 wire cable going to the other switch location.

Connect the new cable red and white wires to the traveler terminals of the 3 way switch.

At the new switch location connect the red and white wires to the traveler terminals of the other 3 way switch and connect the black wire to the common terminal.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 06-12-2012 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 06-12-2012, 04:58 PM   #4
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:04 PM   #5
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or like this, either way will work...

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Old 06-12-2012, 05:34 PM   #6
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Thanks, Allan and Stickyboy. I'll try it out in the morning.
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:49 PM   #7
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14/3 from the old switch is the only way to make this work.

This has come up so many times I have created a document about it. Here it is.

This is simple once you get the cable to the new switch.
I am going to skip ground wires in the description. Connect all of them together and to the switch if it has a ground screw.

Remove the two wires from the existing switch. Leave everything else alone. The wires could be both black or black and white. Might even be black and red. It doesn't matter.
Connect one wire to the common screw of your new three way switch#1.
Connect the other wire to the black wire to your new switch#2.
Connect the red and white wires to the remaining two traveller screws of the new switch#1.

At new switch#2 connect the black to the common screw.
Connect the red and white wires to the remaining two traveller screws of the new switch#2.

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Old 06-12-2012, 10:46 PM   #8
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Here is stickboy1375 drawing in a less schematic look. Sorry I had to use blue for the white wire.

This diagram is wrong. Please ignore this post
Name:  0way.jpg
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3-way switch - powered switch in middle?-3way.jpg
Post kept for historic reference.

Goosebarry

Last edited by goosebarry; 06-13-2012 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
14/3 from the old switch is the only way to make this work.

This has come up so many times I have created a document about it. Here it is.


There are actually 5 permutations for how to connect up 3 way switches to a single load and 3 additional for multiple loads (Flashback to 9th grade shop class). The one you show is not the OP set-up.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goosebarry View Post
Here is stickboy1375 drawing in a less schematic look. Sorry I had to use blue for the white wire.

Attachment 52382
The white should be the supply to the switch, not a traveler. Incoming power to re-marked white. Re-marked white to common at 2nd switch, black and red as travelers.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goosebarry View Post
Here is stickboy1375 drawing in a less schematic look. Sorry I had to use blue for the white wire.

Attachment 52382

Those look like normal switches with the white wire on the ground screw.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goosebarry View Post
There are actually 5 permutations for how to connect up 3 way switches to a single load and 3 additional for multiple loads (Flashback to 9th grade shop class). The one you show is not the OP set-up.
How do you figure this is not what he has. this is what he said in the original post.
Quote:
New 14-3 going out one way to second switch, and the existing 14-2 from the middle switch to the light.
one 14/3 and one 14/2.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:24 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
How do you figure this is not what he has. this is what he said in the original post.

one 14/3 and one 14/2.
OP has power to switch, you show power to light first. I think
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
The white should be the supply to the switch, not a traveler. Incoming power to re-marked white. Re-marked white to common at 2nd switch, black and red as travelers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
Those look like normal switches with the white wire on the ground screw.
Goose's drawing is totally off, and yes those are SP switches.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
Those look like normal switches with the white wire on the ground screw.
I thought something looked funny, but the coffee hadn't kicked in yet.

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