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Old 10-15-2009, 07:21 PM   #1
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Wire 3-way light & still provide power


I picked up some 12-3 UF-B and wonder now if what I want to do is possible. I was hoping to have a 3-way switched light at a shed where one switch is INSIDE my house and the other switch inside the shed (that way I don't have to run inside my house to turn it on) AND supply the shed with power (recept and light inside) using just 1 run of 12-3 UF-B to the shed.

I'm thinking it's not possible, thoughts? Thanks
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:11 PM   #2
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You are one wire short.
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:40 AM   #3
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No problem if you only want the one switch controlled circuit. Simply add receptacles or other light after the one in this picture. The switch with the power connection is the one in the house. The three wire cable between the switches runs from the house to the shed.

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Old 10-16-2009, 09:11 AM   #4
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Suggest getting heavy duty (20 amp) switches for the single circuit above with the switches controlling everything in the shed. Otherwise the total power draw would be limited to what the switches can handle.

Regarding multiple subcircuits in the shed, namely not all controlled by this pair of switches, everything in the shed has to be powered by the same 120 volt or 120/240 volt feed coming from the house. Here you would need to run a second 3 wire cable back to the house, using all 3 conductors for a switch loop to the 3 way switch. Here, standard duty switches would probably suffice.
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:25 AM   #5
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Run a 3 wire frome where you want the 3 way at the house and bring that wire and the 12-2 feed gfci into the same j-box then bury your pipe like you were going to and pull in 3 extra eires fro your 3 -way you can use the feed in the shed to control the 3 way i will atttach a video on a 3 ways
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:27 AM   #6
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3 ways


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Old 10-16-2009, 10:35 AM   #7
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Okay, at the risk of sounding stupid. This 3-way switch I want to be a floodlight on the shed I can turn on from the shed or inside. But I also want a recept & light in my shed that has power

What I read from Joed diagram (thanks for the diagram it makes things easy) is that I can do it however all of the sheds power will be controlled by the 3-way right? Since the 3-way is to power the floodlight on the shed, if I want to power up the recepts or the light inside I would need to turn on the floodlight from either inside the house or on the shed. That being the case it is possible but I lose power to the shed with the floodlight off.

As I understand what AllanJ is saying is, if I do Joed solution I need 20A switches. In that scenario my 3-way's are powering all the power to the shed including a recept. If I go plug a big vacuum cleaner, wired that way it's going to pull all that juice through the 3-ways so I need 20A switches. If there wasn't a recept, just lights I could use 15A 3-ways instead since it would just be to power a few lights.

Hope I got that right, I think I would prefer not having to have the floodlight on to have power in the shed. I think I'm going to return my UF-B 12-3 and get two 12-2 THHN/THWN. I couldn't find any THWN... but then I read almost all THHN today is dual-classed as THHN/THWN-2 (all of HD's evidently) that's why I couldn't find any. I'll be sure to check the dual rating of THHN to see if I can use it instead.

Last edited by Piedmont; 10-16-2009 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:48 AM   #8
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Ok at the house where you are going to pipe over to the switches on the house run your 12-2 power in there.From there you need a 12-2 to power shed and a 12-3 for 3 way put in box on side of house that you are going to pipe out of you might need a 2 gang weather proof box there more room. Now in that box you have your 12-2 feed and your 12-3 for your 3 way if you are going to pipe all of this you need #12 thhn bury your pipe and when you go into the shed hook your power up to your disconect switch and rec and light in shed the 3 wires put in the box that you want the 3 way in and run a 12-2 up to your light the black going to light will be your common on 3 way other two will be your travelers . Dont know if this makes any since to you its hard to explain!!
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:55 AM   #9
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You will want to get measurments on your #12 thhn and different colors I would pull Black,Green,White,for feed 2 reds for your travelers another color like blue or something.So you are going to need 5 wires to make it work you can share the ground from the feed for the 3 ways or pull another one

Last edited by 300zx; 10-16-2009 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 10-16-2009, 02:06 PM   #10
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I hope I can do it with 4 wires (and 1 ground), I brought back my 12-3 and when I asked the guy for #12 THHN I learned it only comes in one wire at a time but in many pretty colors and the wire itself is labelled THHN or THWN so it is dual purpose. The Home Depot guy told me I can use regular old romex (with the yellow sheath) burried by code as long as it's in conduit. I said, I don't think so it's not for wet locations. He said as long as it's in conduit, conduit isn't wet, and code lets me. I said what do you think happens when the wires warm up inside and that warm air rising off hits the cold pipe in cold earth? Condensation... then the wires will be sitting on condensation... I'm pretty sure that's a wet location. So, I ignored his advice.

I ended up getting two 50 ft rolls of 12-2 UF-B it was cheaper than 5 individual THHN/THWN. I hope it can be done with 4 wires + ground (enough for a 3-way and provide constant power to the shed). My Red/Purple in the pic would really be one roll (white/black) I'll mark them to identify they're different. Hope my pic makes sense, I didn't clutter the pic with grounds and all the intricacies of my shed (kill switch, etc.). Anyway, hope it's enough and makes sense

Thanks 300zx, you gave the excellent idea (a few weeks past) as I penetrate the house to add a receptacle while I'm at it and then pipe to the shed. That was a most excellent idea and I'm doing it!
Attached Thumbnails
Wire 3-way light & still provide power-shed3.jpg  

Last edited by Piedmont; 10-16-2009 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 10-16-2009, 02:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piedmont View Post
I hope I can do it with 4 wires (and 1 ground), I brought back my 12-3 and when I asked the guy for #12 THHN I learned it only comes in one wire at a time but in many pretty colors and the wire itself is labelled THHN or THWN so it is dual purpose. The Home Depot guy told me I can use regular old romex (with the yellow sheath) burried by code as long as it's in conduit. I said, I don't think so it's not for wet locations. He said as long as it's in conduit, conduit isn't wet, and code lets me. I said what do you think happens when the wires warm up inside and that warm air rising off hits the cold pipe in cold earth? Condensation... then the wires will be sitting on condensation... I'm pretty sure that's a wet location. So, I ignored his advice.

I ended up getting two 50 ft rolls of 12-2 UF-B it was cheaper than 5 individual THHN/THWN. I hope it can be done with 4 wires + ground (enough for a 3-way and provide constant power to the shed). My Red/Purple in the pic would really be one roll (white/black) I'll mark them to identify they're different. Hope my pic makes sense, I didn't clutter the pic with grounds and all the intricacies of my shed (kill switch, etc.). Anyway, hope it's enough and makes sense

Thanks 300zx, you gave the excellent idea (a few weeks past) as I penetrate the house to add a receptacle while I'm at it and then pipe to the shed. That was a most excellent idea and I'm doing it!
DO NOT LISTEN TO THE HOME Electricians They have no idea what they are doing Tell him to prove this to you ( The Home Depot guy told me I can use regular old romex (with the yellow sheath) burried by code as long as it's in conduit. I said, I don't think so it's not for wet locations. He said as long as it's in conduit, conduit isn't wet, and code lets me.) You are right YOU CAN"T DO THAT.Yes make sure you mark them som you dont get confused
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Old 10-16-2009, 06:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
The Home Depot guy told me .............


That's where I stopped reading.


You can do it with two 12/2's but it aint right.


One uf is power and neutral (blk/wht), the other is travelers.

Provide power to the house 3way switch (common terminal)

The switch leg on the shed light (black) comes from the shed 3way (common terminal).



Last edited by 220/221; 10-16-2009 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 10-16-2009, 06:28 PM   #13
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Yeah, always run what you hear from HD or big box by someone on a site like this
Enough condensation can form in conduit that eventually it is full of water

I read somewhere in the NEC code about allowing switching of lights from one building to another
Do not remember the section or the specifics
I don't think the (2) 12-2's are right at all
You really should be using THWN in conduit...not the cables
You may have problems pulling 2 cables in 1" conduit, get some wire lube



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Old 10-16-2009, 08:29 PM   #14
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You would be better off running the power to the send and then bringing a 3 wire cable back to the house for the switch loop. The way it drawn is not code compliant. The power and neutral wires must be in the same cable. Two separate cables used as shown are wrong.
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