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Old 12-15-2009, 04:30 PM   #1
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Help with 3 way switch loop


Since my girlfriend bought her house a few months back, the hallway light has not worked. The wiring for it confused me a bit at first, but its starting to make sense now.

The power to the hallway light comes from the adjacent room. The wire comes in going to a light fixture, goes to a switch on the wall which controls the light in that adjacent room, and then goes to the hallway light.

What confused me was the fact that there was a 3 wire cable going from the light in the adjacent room to a 3 way switch on the wall even though that room only has one switch. I've figured out that the light is wired in a switch loop and the additional red wire acts as a neutral for the remaining circuit.

What I don't understand is how to wire the 3 way switch before it goes to the hallway light. I tried a couple things, but no luck. Both lights would turn on seperately, but turning the second one on would turn the first off.


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Old 12-15-2009, 04:35 PM   #2
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Help with 3 way switch loop


http://www.crsupport.us/144.html
this should help

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Old 12-15-2009, 07:06 PM   #3
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Help with 3 way switch loop


You lost me with the three way switch description. Where are the two switches. The first switch has three wires from the fixture because you need a neutral.
one wire(red or black) = power to switch and to next light fixture
one wire(white) = neutral to next fixture.
one wire (red or black) = switched power back to the first light fixture.
From there on I am not sure what you have. Probably a two wire to the next fixture or switch. If you only have one switch operating the light then you don't have a three way setup. You might have a three way switch installed(they can be used a regular switch) but it is not wired as a three way.
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:03 PM   #4
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Help with 3 way switch loop


Joed, you are correct. It is not wired as a three way, but I have a 3 way switch being used as a 2 way. Here's what I have going from the light in the adjacent room to the switch which controls it.
white wire = hot wire (due to switch loop)
black wire = also hot
red wire = in this case, being used as neutral

So, I have those 3 wires running from the light fixture to the 3 way switch (in this case being used as a 2 way). From there, I have a 2 wire cable going from the 3 way switch in question to the hallway light.

Whats really stumping me is how to wire this correctly when the switch loop is not at the end of a circuit. In this case the circuit continues to the hallway light.
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:08 PM   #5
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Help with 3 way switch loop


The red and white must be swapped to meet code. Only white is allowed to used for a neutral.
If you swap the red and white around then you will have in that switch box a black and white power set that are not switched. Those are your power feed to the next light.

This drawing should help. Substitute your second light in the postion of the receptacle.

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Old 12-17-2009, 11:09 AM   #6
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Help with 3 way switch loop


Thanks Joed. I will definitely switch the red and white wires so that everything is within code. Thats an easy fix.

So what terminals on the 3 way switch should the red and black wires go to? Typically there is a red and black wire which connects to another 3 way switch, but since this one is being used as a 2 way, I don't have that. Instead, I have 2 incoming hot wires.
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Old 12-17-2009, 03:54 PM   #7
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Help with 3 way switch loop


Quote:
Originally Posted by nt4sell View Post
Thanks for that link. It should come in real handy around here!
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Old 12-17-2009, 05:53 PM   #8
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Help with 3 way switch loop


Ignore the fact that it is a three way switch. Use only the common terminal and one of the traveler terminals. The other terminal is left empty.

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