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Old 01-08-2010, 12:38 PM   #1
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Is this possible?


I have two 3-way switches, one at the top of the basement stairs, one at the bottom. They control a light at the top of the basement stairs. The power comes in through the top-of-the-stairs switch. Is it possible to add a light at the bottom of the basement stairs that is controlled by the 3-way switches, without the light being connected to the other light? (I don't want to have to go into the attic esp in zero degree weather and fish wire down through a wall) In other words, to tie it in somehow with the wiring in the switch at the bottom of the stairs? I was trying to diagram it on paper, but I couldn't work it out so that it would be in parallel, with the white wire uninterrupted by any device.

So if anyone could tell me "yes, it's possible", or "nope, not possible", then I wouldn't have to agonize over whether this can be done or not anymore.

Thanks!!

Last edited by Brak; 01-08-2010 at 12:42 PM.
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Old 01-08-2010, 12:59 PM   #2
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Nope, not possible. Sorry.

You either need to come from the other light or the other 3-way switch.
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Old 01-08-2010, 01:09 PM   #3
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I was afraid of that. Thanks for the quick reply.

What I need is a switch that hooks onto another wire and senses if current is flowing through it. Then I could just put the bottom light on a separate circuit. That's dumb, i know.
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Old 01-08-2010, 01:32 PM   #4
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Let me take a contrary view and suggest that, perhaps, this can be done. Unfortunately, it will take more than conventional wiring and switch hardware. One also has to ask how much it is worth. There are home automation devices out there that allow one to link (by RF or powerline communication) switches with each other, even if on different circuits and wires. Using these, you can set up one switch to control the other, vice versa, and everthing in between.

Perform an internet search on UPB, Z-wave, Zigbee, and Insteon. X-10 is also a possibility, but can introduce some interesting complications. You may be able to find something that can work for you. For the record, I use insteon and believe this would work for you. Of course, cost will be MUCH higher per switch than most of us are used to spending.
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Old 01-08-2010, 01:41 PM   #5
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If the 3 way is fed from the top switch then the switch leg is coming out of the bottom switch so I don't see why it isn't possible if they ran a 3 wire from switch to switch. (travelers and a neutral)

Open the bottom switch and see if it was done like that. If it was, the neutral will be wire nutted in the box.
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Old 01-08-2010, 02:05 PM   #6
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If I'm reading you correctly, the top switch is fed so, the bottom switch will be your switch leg and you're wanting to add a light at the bottom. I'm assuming you just want to install a wall sconce.
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Old 01-08-2010, 04:40 PM   #7
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I dont think you gave enough details. you said the power comes into the top switch, does the feed to the light come out of the top switch?
If the answer is the feed to the light comes out of the top switch, the answer is no by convential wiring.

Last edited by codeone; 01-08-2010 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:29 PM   #8
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You told us the power feed was at the top switch but you did not tell us where the fixture feed was.
If the bottom switch has only three wires in it (one cable from the top switch) then you can not do it.
However if the fixture feed is at the bottom switch then you can add your new fixture from the bottom switch.
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:10 PM   #9
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Just another thought, Is your basement unfinished? Might have an idea for you.
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Old 01-09-2010, 07:35 AM   #10
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Sorry for the lack of info, guys. If I'm looking at it right, the source feed and the switch leg both are in the top switch. The bottom switch just has the one 14/3 wire.

So, according the responses, the answer is "no", unless I want to invest in some fancy (and very interesting - thanks for posting the links) electronics.
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Old 01-09-2010, 07:48 AM   #11
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>>> controlled by the switch and not connected to the other light

The same switch cannot be both a 3 way switch for one light and a regular switch for another light.

I fyou don't want to fish wires, you can run the wires on the wall surface. They make a channel called Wiremold that can hold the wires. With compact fluorescents it is no big deal to hook the second light dircetly to the first light and have them both go on and off together using the same switches.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 01-09-2010 at 07:53 AM.
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wirenut1110 View Post
If the 3 way is fed from the top switch then the switch leg is coming out of the bottom switch so I don't see why it isn't possible if they ran a 3 wire from switch to switch. (travelers and a neutral)

Open the bottom switch and see if it was done like that. If it was, the neutral will be wire nutted in the box.
exactly,it depends on where switched power is coming from
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brak View Post
So, according the responses, the answer is "no", unless I want to invest in some fancy (and very interesting - thanks for posting the links) electronics.
Again I ask is your basement finished yet? If so do you have a dropped ceiling in your basement?

If you pull the sw box out at the top switch you could fish a wire down to the basement then through the drop ceiling for your light.
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