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Old 12-15-2007, 05:21 PM   #1
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Help! Mystery power in complex 3-way!


I have installed new pot lights in the basement and a new light in the stairway. The Stair light I put on two 3 way switches (top and bottom of Stairs) My issue is I keep forgetting to turn off the lights before I come up stairs and have to go all the way back down to turn off the pot lights. So I thought I could rewire the dimmer switch that is in the same box as the 3-way in the basement so that the three way could turn on and off the pot lights as well as the stairs. Basically creating a kill switch at the top of the stairs. Great Idea but it's not really working.

See attached switch diagram.

So the power source comes in and attached to "common" terminal of my 3/way switch.
I use a small piece of black wire attach it to one jumper terminal of the switch and the other end the black wire ties together with the dimmer switch black wire and the black wire of the 14/3 wire going to other 3/way switch.
The red wire of the 14/3 wire going to the other 3-way switch connects directly to the other jumper terminal.

So here is what is happening (see attached wiring diagram)

3-way Bottom of Stairs = Bottom 3-way Top of Stairs = TOP

Bottom ON - Top ON --> Dimmer switch has power
Bottom OFF - Top ON --> Dimmer switch has power

Bottom ON - Top OFF --> Dimmer Switch DOES NOT HAVE POWER
Bottom OFF - Top OFF --> Dimmer switch has power

Why is it that when the bottom is off I have no control over the lights with the top switch?
Attached Files
File Type: pdf switch diagram.pdf (18.0 KB, 70 views)

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Old 12-15-2007, 05:28 PM   #2
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Help! Mystery power in complex 3-way!


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http://www.the-home-improvement-web....way-switch.htm


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Old 12-15-2007, 06:26 PM   #3
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Help! Mystery power in complex 3-way!


Thanks this is a good site for three way diagrams. Unfortunately it doesn't have my situation listed.

My Diagram I am power source --> 3/way --> Dimmer and to other 3/way -->to light

Any other ideas?
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Old 12-15-2007, 06:39 PM   #4
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Help! Mystery power in complex 3-way!


what ya did is wrong it will not work that arrangement what you did wired up.

do you want the dimmer be on seprted circuit from stairway ??

if so you will have to change the connections there.

get the 3 way connection back on correct.

then take the power source and run it seprated go to the dimmer[s].

do not take the netual wire from 3 way at all [ it will need for traveller wires]

just get the netrual from power source and leave the 3 way part alone this will reduce the chance getting all mixed up.


Merci, Marc
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Old 12-15-2007, 06:42 PM   #5
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Help! Mystery power in complex 3-way!


You can't do it. You need to feed the dimmers from the switch box at the top of the stairs to make it work. You can't tap a traveler wire like your diagram shows. Your diagram has one wire between the switches missing also to make it work.
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Old 12-15-2007, 06:53 PM   #6
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Help! Mystery power in complex 3-way!


do you want the dimmer be on seprted circuit from stairway ??

NO - I am trying to make it so that I can turn off the pot lights that are connected to dimmer
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Old 12-15-2007, 07:02 PM   #7
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Help! Mystery power in complex 3-way!


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
You can't do it. You need to feed the dimmers from the switch box at the top of the stairs to make it work. You can't tap a traveler wire like your diagram shows. Your diagram has one wire between the switches missing also to make it work.

I left out the neutral wire in the diagram. Is there no way to make this work with the power comming into the box that has the 3/way and dimmer switch in it?
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Old 12-15-2007, 07:43 PM   #8
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Help! Mystery power in complex 3-way!


The black traveler between switches is a switched hot wire as is the red sometimes the red carries the power between the 3 way switches and sometimes the black carries power between switches. But never both at the same time there is always one position where either the black or the red will have no power in it.
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Old 12-15-2007, 09:02 PM   #9
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Help! Mystery power in complex 3-way!


I drew this up real quick so it may have an oversight.... but subject to someones scrutiny I believe you can keep your wiring and move a 3 way dimmer or two 3 way dimmers to a 2 or 3 gang box at the top of the stairs and then run the cables going to the pots to the 3 way dimmer(s) at the top of the stairs. You would have control top and bottom this way. The only issue I see is the bottom 3 way will turn both the pots and the stair light off.
Edit: Also if I'm in the basement and the pots are off and the stair light is on I will only be to turn the light that is on... off... but this will also turn the other on.
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Last edited by Stubbie; 12-16-2007 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 12-15-2007, 10:54 PM   #10
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Help! Mystery power in complex 3-way!


Stubbie:

Don't look now but with your setup with one three way switch at the bottom and one set of travelers mated with two three way switches at the top for two light subcircuits, you can end up turning on the pot lights while turning off the hall light and vice versa. This therefore does not solve the problem of having to run upstairs to turn the other off.

Regardless of where the power comes in, the 3 way switches can be a master switch (kill switch) for the pot lights by connecting one side of the dimmer (not a 3 way dimmer) to the hall light switched hot (its 3 way common) and connecting the other side of the dimmer to the pot lights black line. In exchange for being able to turn the pot lights off from the bottom of the stairs, the pot lights and hall light have to be controlled together.

Independent 3 way switching of the pot lights and the hall light require two 14-3 cables for travelers going between the switch locations both of which are double gang.

Allan

I hate PDF, it takes a long time to appear and also crashes my computer sometimes, therefore I did not examine the OP's diagram. Wish he put it up as JPG instead.

Last edited by AllanJ; 12-15-2007 at 11:13 PM.
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Old 12-15-2007, 11:19 PM   #11
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Help! Mystery power in complex 3-way!


I think he is complaining about going back down the stairs.... but the pots are in the basement so you would want control of dimming them at the bottom but it was fun while it lasted. I get a little bored at times and play with some rather strange wiring diagrams to see what I come up with. I think probably the best thing would be two sets of 3 ways top and bottom, sure wouldn't be any more work really. Gotta admit though that wiring scheme will cross a few eyes for a second or two.......

And yes pdf's are a pain and lock my pc at times.

For discussions sake....And I realize this probably is not a wiring scheme that would be actually wanted but might be an option.

The way I'm seeing the diagram is... in its drawn state both lights are on. If I am at the top of the stairs I can turn either on or off or both on or off regardless of the bottom 3 way position and I can dim the pots. If its daytime I'm not going to use the stair light (this depends of course) so I can turn on or off the pots from the top. I just can't control the dimming of the pots from the basement.... But if I'm in the basement I can turn both on or off or one or the other depending on the "on or off" status of the top switches. But I do not have total independent control of both lights from the basement. So as I see it if he forgets the bottom light switch he can still turn the pots off at the top. If I'm in the basement and the pots are 'on' and the stair light is off I can turn the stair light on with the bottom 3 way which will turn the pots off. When I get to the top I can turn the stair light off. If I forget to flip the switch at the bottom and come up the stairs I can still turn the pots off at the top. So as goofy as it may look as long as I don't live or stay in the basement and always come uptairs ...eventually... I will have dependent control downstairs and complete selective control upstairs.

Last edited by Stubbie; 12-16-2007 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:06 AM   #12
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Help! Mystery power in complex 3-way!


Quote:
Originally Posted by mnyman2003 View Post
I left out the neutral wire in the diagram. Is there no way to make this work with the power comming into the box that has the 3/way and dimmer switch in it?
There is no way to do it from the switch box with the power. You must tap into the switch box with the light connection.
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Old 12-16-2007, 02:10 PM   #13
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Help! Mystery power in complex 3-way!


Mynyman

First Joe and Allan are correct and my addition of the diagram probably was a not needed example of an "option" but in reality the wiring changes probably warrant an installation that will allow control of the dimmers at the bottom location... the labor is about the same no matter. If your interested in the option that Joe and Allan suggested I can attach a diagram showing how that would be done or any other options you would like.

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