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Old 06-17-2012, 10:12 PM   #1
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Fixing a 3-way connection


Howdy folks,

So it would appear I screwed up my 3-way connection wiring for the panel-switch-light-light-switch variety... I only ran a single 14-3 wire from switch through all the lights to the end switch and just found out it takes 4 between the lights...

So simple question: is it legal to run a single 14 gauge wire through a ceiling without the additional jacket normally holding wires? As I understand my options are to either add a single wire through all lights (for the hot) or run 3 lights in parallel from the first properly switched light using 14-2.

For simplicity's sake, I would prefer just the single wire (connection boxes for these recessed lights are tight...), but obviously if it's not advisable, I'll run a 14-2 in parallel. It's doable...

Thanks

Tom

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Old 06-17-2012, 10:13 PM   #2
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Fixing a 3-way connection


No it is not. If you can, run a new 14-3 between the two switches and don't stop at the lights.

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Old 06-17-2012, 10:21 PM   #3
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Fixing a 3-way connection


Yeah, I thought not... Unfortunately, it's gonna be too much damage to run a whole new 14-3 between switches, so I guess parallel connections it is.

Thanks for your reply.

t.
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:26 PM   #4
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Fixing a 3-way connection


Assuming that power comes into one of the switches and not the lights, you will need to run a 14-2 from one of the switches thru all three lights, not just between the lights.
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:48 PM   #5
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Fixing a 3-way connection


Hmm? I was aiming at the following diagram:



and just run off the 14-2 from my first light to the remaining 3... The lights are fairly close together so it's doable, whereas the switches are impossible to access without chopping up walls, which I really want to avoid at this point.

I think I may be actually easier for me to use the existing 14-3 to pull a 14-4 for the 3 sections between the lights and end up with:



The fasteners holding the wires are close enough to the holes for me to remove and free up the wire. If not, I'll just cut them away and fish some 14-4 and do it right. How does that sound?
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:26 PM   #6
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Fixing a 3-way connection


could run an extra 14-3 from the first light to the last light as well
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:32 PM   #7
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Fixing a 3-way connection


While that diagram will work, I see two problems with the upper diagram.

1) The junction box where the 3 wires run thru will not be large enough for the wire fill unless it is a minimum 18 cubic inches.
2) There is no neutral in the second switch box as per NEC 2011.
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:50 AM   #8
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Fixing a 3-way connection


Quote:
Originally Posted by manbitesfilm View Post
So simple question: is it legal to run a single 14 gauge wire through a ceiling without the additional jacket normally holding wires? As I understand my options are to either add a single wire through all lights (for the hot) or run 3 lights in parallel from the first properly switched light using 14-2.
It's not legal to run a stand alone single conductor but, if that is all you need, then running a 14-2 Romex cable on that same proposed route will do the trick.

The advantage of running the 3 conductor wire for the switch travelers non-stop past the light fixtures is that there are fewer joints and fewer conductors requiring box fill considerations inside the boxes.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 06-18-2012 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 06-21-2012, 06:55 AM   #9
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Fixing a 3-way connection


Thanks for all your suggestions. End result: I ran and additional 14-2 from the first to the last light and disconnected the red from the 14-3 running through all the lights. Sent the travelers on the new wire, labeled everything properly and presto! all works as advertised. Yes the first and last lights are a little cramped in the junction boxes, but I hope it won't be an issue. I've seen worse...

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