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Old 05-10-2010, 08:08 PM   #1
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Convert single pole switch to a 3 way!


My house is older, with an unfinished basement!
I plan to make a bedroom and a laundry room down there!
Presently, a single pole switch at the top of the stairs controls the basement lights!
Our building code requires that sleeping quarters in the basement requires a 3way switching arrangement, to be installed!
However, the 14/2 cable follows a route that cannot be fished or the cable to be pulled out.
So, I would like to use the present switch and cable to operate a relay. The relay having a 120 volt coil and a set of make/break contacts, to perform the function of the 3 way switch.
So, my question is, is this legal? And if so, is there a product out there, that is available for this type of function?

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Old 05-10-2010, 08:22 PM   #2
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Convert single pole switch to a 3 way!


You can just get a wireless switch...not cheap thought.

http://www.smarthome.com/2494M3/Swit...mer-Kit/p.aspx

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Old 05-10-2010, 10:34 PM   #3
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Convert single pole switch to a 3 way!


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Originally Posted by secutanudu View Post
You can just get a wireless switch...not cheap thought.

http://www.smarthome.com/2494M3/Swit...mer-Kit/p.aspx
How right you are! I must be getting dotty! Less than 12 months ago, I suggested this to a friend, so that they could have 3 way switching at his church!
Then, promptly forgot about it for myself! Duhhh!
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:17 AM   #4
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Convert single pole switch to a 3 way!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildie View Post
...an unfinished basement...

...the 14/2 cable follows a route that cannot be fished or the cable to be pulled out...
So abandon the wire in-place and fish wire from the switch box along some other path. Basically pretend like you were starting over. If you have an unfinished basement, then I would think enough stuff would be open to allow running a whole new circuit.


What about egress, garage, and ventelation requirements. Modern codes require that a bedroom have some sort of direct access to the outside via either a door, or a window of a certain minimum size. The bedroom can not open directly into a garage. (There were so many new requirements between the time our house was built with an unfinished basement, and the time I started to finish in the basement, I just abandoned the idea of adding a bedroom in the basement and I'm making the space to be a huge walking-air-conditioned closet.)
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Old 05-11-2010, 06:30 AM   #5
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Convert single pole switch to a 3 way!


Quote:
However the 14-2 cable follows a route that cannot ...
Any regular switch can be converted to 3 way thusly: Leave all the existing wiring in place and add a 3 conductor cable from the original switch to the new switch location.

Then you take the two wires off the old switch. Connect one to the common terminal of the first 3 way switch and the other to the black wire of the new cable. At the new switch location connect the black wire to the common terminal of the second 3 way switch. Connect the remaining wires to the traveler terminals of the switches.

It is possible you will need to install a bigger box at the original switch location.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 05-11-2010 at 06:39 AM.
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:31 AM   #6
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Convert single pole switch to a 3 way!


Allan,

If you are trying to describe how to wire a dead-end three way, the white would be the feed to the switch.
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Old 05-11-2010, 09:03 AM   #7
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Convert single pole switch to a 3 way!


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Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
So abandon the wire in-place and fish wire from the switch box along some other path. Basically pretend like you were starting over. If you have an unfinished basement, then I would think enough stuff would be open to allow running a whole new circuit.


What about egress, garage, and ventelation requirements. Modern codes require that a bedroom have some sort of direct access to the outside via either a door, or a window of a certain minimum size. The bedroom can not open directly into a garage. (There were so many new requirements between the time our house was built with an unfinished basement, and the time I started to finish in the basement, I just abandoned the idea of adding a bedroom in the basement and I'm making the space to be a huge walking-air-conditioned closet.)
The present switch is on the outside wall of the stair well. The wire was run, before the stairs were put in place and the walls were insulated.
The only way I can get new wire to the location would be to run it in surface conduit!

There are all sorts of regs for basement living accommodations. Emergency egress being one of these! I'm required to provide an exit of 3.8 s.f. and a coal shut was put in place for this place, that is exactly 4 s.f. and I will use this!
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Old 05-11-2010, 09:50 AM   #8
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Convert single pole switch to a 3 way!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
Allan,

If you are trying to describe how to wire a dead-end three way, the white would be the feed to the switch.
You're right.

Hmmm... Can you get away (I did not say correctly) using a white as a traveler?

What's more important is that the white may not be the switched power coming back to the light. So using the white for the common terminal of the far switch mandates identifying the two wires coming off the old single pole switch as to which is the panel feed (unswitched power) to attach to the white wire of the new 3 wire cable at the near switch, preserving the red and black for use as travelers.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 05-11-2010 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:01 AM   #9
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Convert single pole switch to a 3 way!


NEC 200.7 requires that the white only be used as the supply to the switch in a cable assembly. It cannot be used as the switched hot to the fixture.

The white should also be re-identified as a hot conductor.
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:35 AM   #10
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Convert single pole switch to a 3 way!


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Originally Posted by Wildie View Post
The present switch is on the outside wall of the stair well. The wire was run, before the stairs were put in place and the walls were insulated.
Unless its spray-foam insulation, I don't see why you can't fish a new wire through the wall just because it is insulated. You'll likely pull a little insulation out in the process, and that you can minimize if you can keep the fishing line along the edge of the wall.
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:40 PM   #11
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Convert single pole switch to a 3 way!


Quote:
Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
Unless its spray-foam insulation, I don't see why you can't fish a new wire through the wall just because it is insulated. You'll likely pull a little insulation out in the process, and that you can minimize if you can keep the fishing line along the edge of the wall.
Believe me, there is no way to run new wire without ripping off door casing, lifting the stair case and smashing open the plaster!
And that's not going to happen!
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:44 PM   #12
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Convert single pole switch to a 3 way!


Just to clarify, what I would like to do, I'll attempt to attach a sketch of what I visualize!

That was easier than I thought! [grin] I would like to use a relay with a 120 volt coil and a set of make/break contacts! And am looking for ideas of where to find one that would work in this application!
Attached Thumbnails
Convert single pole switch to a 3 way!-3wrelay.jpg  

Last edited by Wildie; 05-11-2010 at 01:48 PM. Reason: To express my amazement!
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Old 05-12-2010, 10:00 AM   #13
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Convert single pole switch to a 3 way!


Hi! I'm still looking for comments on my 2 way switching work around!

In the main, I'm wondering if there's a commercial product that I can use for the relay!
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Old 05-12-2010, 12:17 PM   #14
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Convert single pole switch to a 3 way!


Just a personal comment. While it will work as a 3 way workaround, I don't feel comfortable with a simple relay system since depending on the switch positions, the relay coil may be energized for long periods of time such as overnight holding the contacts in the position for lights off.
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:51 PM   #15
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Convert single pole switch to a 3 way!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildie View Post
The relay having a 120 volt coil and a set of make/break contacts, to perform the function of the 3 way switch.
So, my question is, is this legal? And if so, is there a product out there, that is available for this type of function?
Go to a relay with a 24 vac coil or less, it probably will be.

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