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Old 11-23-2010, 08:03 AM   #1
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is this possible?


I have wired 8 recessed lights as follows:

3 way switch at top of stairs, 3 way switch down(recroom). The wiring from the source and each 3 way switch meets at the the first light and the wiring to the remainder of the lights continue on from there.
This is working fine. I intend to replace the downstairs 3 way switch with a dimmer.

The following is what I would like to do, but I am not sure if is possible.

Split the 8 lights to 2 banks of 4.

Top of stairs - one switch (what ever type that would be required) that is capable of turning on or off both banks of light or whichever bank is on (therefore any on will then be turned off)
I understand that when this switch is turned back on, that whatever was on when turned off (both or either bank) is what would come back on.

Downstairs - be able to turn on or off either bank of lights, a switch for each bank (what ever type that would be required).

I am assuming that if this can be acomplished that the downstairs switches can also be replaced with dimmers for each bank.

I guess if this was done there were 2 switchs at the top as well as the bottom that this would be simpler but our preference would be to have just the one switch at the top.

Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.
Thanks.

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Old 11-23-2010, 08:19 AM   #2
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is this possible?


It's possible. I would leave the exisiting three way function(I think it is required by code) and simply add two more switches for the new control you want. Where wer you wanting the new switches? In the box where the bottom three way is or elsewhere?

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Old 11-23-2010, 08:22 AM   #3
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is this possible?


I am having trouble comprehending how this would be done using conventional switches and wiring techniques. However, this is easily done with some form of home automation switches. My personal choice is Insteon but there are others that could do this. In the case of Insteon, you would install one switch at the top and two at the bottom. The one at the top would control no load directly. Each of the two at the bottom would directly control one bank of lights.

The switches would then be electronically linked in such a way that an off command from the top would turn all three off. An "on" command from the top can be programmed to be any single response you desire (all on, either on, both on but dimmed, etc...). There may be a way to set an "on" command to return all to previous setting, but this may be a bit more complicated. I would also link each of the bottom switches to the top, such that if either were on, the top would be on.

These are available in dimmer or non-dimmer settings. You could install a dimmer in the top, as well, but sending "dim" commands would affect both. Another benefit to such dimmers is that you can program ramp rates, rather than have instant on. I have found this to greatly extend the life of incandescent lamps.

Price for these types of switches tends to be around $50 each.

Alternatively, I have seen Lutron (or was it Leviton?) switches that create these virtual three-way links. Perhaps it is possible to purchase the proper types (two primary and one secondary) and have them able to communicate with each other. Unfortunately, this is only theoretical. I have not personally done this.

There are a couple of additional considerations with the Insteon solution, but I will offer these only if this sounds interesting to you.
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Old 11-23-2010, 10:28 AM   #4
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is this possible?


assuming new cable can be run from the existing lights to the new switch locations this not very difficult. I just need to know exactly what he is trying to accomplish.

You can leave the exisiting switches operate the entire bank of lights and add two switches that will control anuy combination of lights you want to setup if the original switches are on.
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Old 11-23-2010, 10:31 AM   #5
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is this possible?


joed - I will try and put together a map with aceess points.

thanks
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Old 11-23-2010, 01:09 PM   #6
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is this possible?


joed

attached is the current setup - current.gif

attached is what I am trying to achieve with the 2 banks - trying_to_achieve.gif

I believe your last post stated what I am trying to do

there is only one source wire

please have a look at the 2 attachments
hopefully it is clearer

thanks again for your help
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Old 11-23-2010, 01:27 PM   #7
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is this possible?


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You can leave the exisiting switches operate the entire bank of lights and add two switches that will control anuy combination of lights you want to setup if the original switches are on.
Please note that, under certain configurations of switch positions, the proposed method may require pressing of two or three switches to turn basement lights on.

For example, if the proposed two new switches are in the off position, there is no way to turn on the basement lights from the top of the stairs. (joed....is this true. If so, would this be a violation of code?) From the basement you may (no way to know) have to press two switches to get any light.

If this meets your needs, great. It is the simple and inexpensive solution.

It is also possible that I am misunderstanding the proposed solution from joed.
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:07 PM   #8
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is this possible?


yes, I want to be able to always turn the first bank of lights on/off from the top of the stairs (3 way) as well as on/off with the 3 way downstairs.

The second bank can be controlled from downstairs only. I would like to wire it in such a way that only first bank is on/off, only the second bank on/off or both banks on/off. It is starting to look like this will be more trouble than it is worth.

I suppose I could have two 3 ways at the top of stairs, one for each bank and two three ways downstairs, one for each bank.
I am not sure if I would know how to wire this with one source and all the 3 way switches!!

any thoughts on that?
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Old 11-23-2010, 03:11 PM   #9
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is this possible?


Quote:
yes, I want to be able to always turn the first bank of lights on/off from the top of the stairs (3 way) as well as on/off with the 3 way downstairs.

The second bank can be controlled from downstairs only.
Well...this is different than I first understood. I thought you wanted to be able to turn them ALL off or on from upstairs, with them separately controlled downstairs only. I apologize for the confusion.

This is very doable, but, as joed says, you may need to be able to run some wiring.
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Old 11-23-2010, 03:55 PM   #10
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I'm sorry, you did understand correctly, I'm getting myself confused!!!

I do want to be able to turn off any lights that are on from the one 3 way at the top of the stairs. I then want to be able to turn either of the banks off/on from switches downstairs, I'm presuming the one 3 way that currently exists and either a single or a 3 way for the other bank.

As you can see I have been wracking my brain out over this. That is why I am thinking it would be easier to have two 3 ways top and two 3 ways bottom to control each bank. Not my choice as it certainly won't be easy to run a 3 way wire up to where the other is now and possibly impossible.

Thanks for all the comments. If any other tricks up your sleeves, please post.
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Old 11-23-2010, 06:38 PM   #11
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is this possible?


Can you run the cables as follows. The red are new cables. The purple are eliminated cables. If so then rather simple to wire. I can make a drawing for you. The switch cable for the second bank can also go the main connection box instead of the light if that is easier. You might need a bigger box however as the box is getting quite full.

The three ways are going to act a master for both strings and then each string will also have its own switch that will only work if the three ways are ON.

is this possible?-pss3.jpg
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Last edited by joed; 11-23-2010 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 11-23-2010, 06:38 PM   #12
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is this possible?


I did not catch this 100 % but please do correct me is this all in the basement ?

If so it may possible to keep the three way on half of it and just string a new switch loop for other half with single pole switch format.

This idea only work if in basement otherwise it will not be festiable due NEC code/ IRC code conflect.

Merci.
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Old 11-23-2010, 08:30 PM   #13
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is this possible?


Quote:
I do want to be able to turn off any lights that are on from the one 3 way at the top of the stairs. I then want to be able to turn either of the banks off/on from switches downstairs, I'm presuming the one 3 way that currently exists and either a single or a 3 way for the other bank.
While the proposed standard methods may be viable options, I remain concerned that they will not function as you require.

I believe the automated switches would provide this capability, but believe that there may be some additional wiring required. I suspect this is going to be true of just about any option. If avoiding additional wiring is of paramount concern, there may be other options, with additional devices, that could meet your needs, but this depends on one factor: how much room in the fixture boxes do you have?

The solution would encompass installation of a multi-switch keypad in the lower box (a single switch in the upper box can suffice) and installation of one or two control units in the fixture boxes, depending on the number of wires between the power feed box and the switch box.

Last edited by oberkc; 11-23-2010 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 11-23-2010, 08:36 PM   #14
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is this possible?


oberkc.,

Just don't quote me wrong on this part { both in NEC and IRC codes } but I do recall it that the stairs if more than 4 or 6 riser it must have switches on both lower and upper part of stairway so therefore one question did the OP did have a luminaire in the stairway itself if that the case he can wired the recesses can seperated from stairway.

That one possible option that the OP can stay legit with it.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 11-23-2010, 08:51 PM   #15
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is this possible?


I am unsure how many of the shown lights, if any, are actually in the stairwell. I was concerned that some of the suggested options may create a situation where it was not possible to turn on the lights from the top switch.

I am working on the presumption that there is room for one switch at the top, one at the bottom, and a willingness to add a second switch at the bottom to control the separated circuit of lights.

If one creates a three-way circuit controlling one set of lights, and a separate circuit (controllable only from the lower level), this is code compliant, I assume, but does not give him the control he wishes (ability to turn ALL lights off from the top).

If one creates a three way circuit that feeds two sets of switches at the bottom, I assume this would give rise to the possibility that none of the lights could be turned on from the top, depending on the position of the set-of-two switches.

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