Confusion About 3-way Lighting Switch Behavior - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 07-20-2008, 01:39 PM   #1
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Confusion about 3-way lighting switch behavior


I have two 3-way switches connected to a light fixture. The way I currently have them wired up, the light fixture is on when both switches are down or up. When I switch the position of the travelers on one of the switches, when only one switch is up, the light is on.

The room this is in is connects the house to the garage, so in a way it also serves as a hallway. In this way, I would expect that having both switches up to turn on the light is the right way, since at the other end, the person is going to flip the switch down. It seems strange that the lights also turn on when both are down, but working out the wiring diagrams, it makes sense.

I just want to make sure I have it hooked up right. Is it standard that you can wire it up either way, or am I doing something wrong?



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Old 07-20-2008, 02:01 PM   #2
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As long as you can turn the lights either on or off from either location, it does not matter which positions the switches are in. 3- and 4-ways are not designed to be up when on/down when off (like the 1p switches where up is usu. "on"). In fact, if you think about it, if they were both up initially and this corresponded to the lights being "on," then to turn them "off," you'd have one up and one down. Then you could turn them back "on" by flipping the other to the down position. If you cycle them in a certain sequence, you can have evey combination turning the lights "on" or "off."


Well, now, there's what's right and what's right and never the twain shall meet.
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Old 07-20-2008, 04:41 PM   #3
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I just want to make sure I have it hooked up right.
3-ways don't have an "on" or "off" as regular switches do. If you can turn the light on or off as you choose from either end, it's right.
If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. If you wouldn't put your name on it, it ain't done right!
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