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Old 01-19-2013, 10:41 PM   #16
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strange wiring for three switches?


Quote:
Originally Posted by srtaylor View Post
I assume 14/3 is also an option?
If the breaker is 15 amps, then yes.

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Old 01-20-2013, 01:08 PM   #17
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strange wiring for three switches?


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Originally Posted by srtaylor View Post
I assume 14/3 is also an option?
Since it was stated that all the existing cables are #12 I would not consider #14 an option.
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:16 PM   #18
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strange wiring for three switches?


Per your diagram it shows 2 wires under 1 terminal on 2 of the switches. Not OK.
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:22 PM   #19
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strange wiring for three switches?


Here are 4-common wiring arrangements for 3-way circuit configuration.
Grounds not shown for ease of drawing.

diagram 1 is power into a switch then load-switch
diagram 2 is power into a switch then switch-load
diagram 3 is power into the load where the switches are after the load
diagram 4 is power into the load where the switches are between the load

Since you already have power at the switch location, you could do diagram 1 or 2 depending on where the cable/wire goes after it leaves the switch location.
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strange wiring for three switches?-1-sw-lo-sw.jpg   strange wiring for three switches?-2-switch-switch-load.jpg   strange wiring for three switches?-3-lo-sw-sw.jpg   strange wiring for three switches?-4-load-sw-sw.jpg  
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:18 PM   #20
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strange wiring for three switches?


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Originally Posted by hammerlane View Post
Per your diagram it shows 2 wires under 1 terminal on 2 of the switches. Not OK.
It may be OK if the wire is unbroken and wrapped around the terminal (rabbit eared).
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:43 PM   #21
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strange wiring for three switches?


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Originally Posted by fa_f3_20 View Post
Something is not right with that 3-way. It doesn't appear to have a neutral.
Switches do not have neutrals.

Switches switch hot wires on and off. Multi-way switches have travelers, none of which are neutral. It is true that cables include black and white (and maybe red) wires, but the only reason white wires are connected to switches is for convenience, so that you don't have to buy cables with only black wires. You can use the white wires, but you are supposed to color them black (with electrician's tape or something) to identify them as hot. No wires connected to a switch should be white, and they definitely shouldn't be neutral.

Look at diagrams 3 and 4 in hammerlane's post. Those are correct because the whites have been recolored black. The others work but aren't colored correctly.
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:50 PM   #22
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strange wiring for three switches?


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Originally Posted by joed View Post
Since it was stated that all the existing cables are #12 I would not consider #14 an option.
It doesn't matter much. If #12 was overkill, there's no need to continue it.

If it's a 20 amp circuit, then #14 might not be to code, but it wouldn't be unsafe if we're at the end of the circuit and just powering a couple lights. (However it's hard to know if the circuit would continue past the lights.) If it's a 15 amp circuit, then it would both be safe and also to code.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:06 PM   #23
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strange wiring for three switches?


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Originally Posted by jeffnc View Post
It doesn't matter much. If #12 was overkill, there's no need to continue it.

If it's a 20 amp circuit, then #14 might not be to code, but it wouldn't be unsafe if we're at the end of the circuit and just powering a couple lights. (However it's hard to know if the circuit would continue past the lights.) If it's a 15 amp circuit, then it would both be safe and also to code.
Very bad advise Most of the participants on the board try to give safe and code compliant answers.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:09 PM   #24
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strange wiring for three switches?


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re the 3 way. They are using the black and white of a 12/2 as trsvelers and picking up a neutral at the far end. Not kosher.
You guys talking about neutrals aren't making sense. What does "picking up a neutral at the far end" mean? I don't know what the NEC code is regarding color of the travelers, but there is not necessarily anything wrong with the way this is wired functionally, according to the original diagram (I'm going by this, since I can't see in the photo. Also, I'm not commenting on how the hot source lead is shared among the switches). However, there is no neutral involved. Anywhere. In switches. Neutrals get connected to other neutrals or to the outgoing wire from a fixture. Not to switches. Neutral is for the back end or outgoing current. Switches switch the front end or incoming current. Neutral wires should not be used as hot source. Switches should handle hot source. Any white wires involved with switches should be colored black to show they might be hot.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:14 PM   #25
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strange wiring for three switches?


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Very bad advise
Maybe you mean "advice".

Me saying that something is not to code is hardly "bad advice". And using a 14 ga wire to power a light is not unsafe. Codes often exist for reasons outside the context of the item in question, so breaking code does not necessarily mean unsafe.

You are one to talk though, with regard to wiring neutrals to switches. Now we have an unsafe situation.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:25 PM   #26
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strange wiring for three switches?


Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffnc

It doesn't matter much. If #12 was overkill, there's no need to continue it.

If it's a 20 amp circuit, then #14 might not be to code, but it wouldn't be unsafe if we're at the end of the circuit and just powering a couple lights. (However it's hard to know if the circuit would continue past the lights.) If it's a 15 amp circuit, then it would both be safe and also to code.
I checked the breaker, which turns out to be 20amp. After exploring in the attic, I discovered the garage door is on this same circuit, and appears to be on this circuit after, not before. So, I'll keep with the 12 gauge. Also, to clarify: there are not 2 wires on 1 screw. 1 wire is under the screw and the other is pushed through the whole in the back. I think I have a good action plan for moving forward.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:26 PM   #27
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strange wiring for three switches?


Hole, not whole.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:28 PM   #28
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strange wiring for three switches?


Also, based on the above posts, I will be sure to add black tape to the white traveler for clarity and safety.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:37 PM   #29
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strange wiring for three switches?


It definitely looks to me like there are some white wires going to the left switch, but there aren't any in your diagram going to that switch. What's going on there?
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:48 PM   #30
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strange wiring for three switches?


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Originally Posted by jeffnc View Post
Maybe you mean "advice".

Me saying that something is not to code is hardly "bad advice". And using a 14 ga wire to power a light is not unsafe. Codes often exist for reasons outside the context of the item in question, so breaking code does not necessarily mean unsafe.

You are one to talk though, with regard to wiring neutrals to switches. Now we have an unsafe situation.

I never said a word about wiring a neutral to a switch. What I did refer to is that neutral is supposed to be in the same cable as the travelers. which the poster's are not. The neutral for the light is being acquired in either the far end switch box or at the light itself

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