DIY Home Improvement Forum banner

3 way switch wiring

579 Views 9 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  nkobylik

I am wiring up a set of stairway lights where the wire is run behind the wall. Its a four wire setup with black, red, white and ground wire. I may have wired the whole thing wrong at this point, but have to live with what I have. I want a 3 way at the top and bottom of the stairs, and have seven lights in-between. When I set this up, the guy at the local electrical supplier assured me I was doing everything right. Now after reading a bit, and asking an electrician, I'm more confused than ever.

Here's the situation. Power at the downstairs switch. Wire runs through 7 outlet boxes that will have 7w lights in them, up to a switch box at the top of the stairs. I do NOT have a wire running directly from one switch to the other, except to say all the ones in the light boxes. After reading a bit, I figured I would use the red wire as a direct traveler, just binding it with wirenuts in each box. The white wire and the black wire will go through, connecting to the black and white wires in the light fixtures.

I was told this. Power to the black pole on the switch. White and Red wires to the gold poles on the switch. The red wire will connect directly to the other switch without any interruption. The white wire will connect to a gold terminal on both, but will feed through each light. Black wire the same.

Will this work? For some reason, my electrician friend got me so confused I don't know which end is up now. I don't want to burn my house down!

Thanks in advance for any help
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
You would need 4 conductors to wire it the way you did. It is much simpler to run power to sw1 xx-3 to sw2 and then to the light.
To do it the way you have it you need 3 wire to each light and 3 wire from last light to other switch.
No way to make it work unless you use wireless switch with remote at the top.

You need four wires between the lights.
You need
1 neutral wire at each light
2 travaller wires between switches.
1 switched hot wire

Here is a 3 light example of what you are attempting.

View attachment 3 light between 3 way.bmp
Okay, what everyone is telling me is that I need four INSULATED wires, and a ground, please correct me if I'm wrong there. No way for me to re-wire it at this point. How does a wireless switch work in this situation, and how would I wire that? Cost of a wireless switch?

If I don't do the wireless switch, I guess I'll just put a simple switch in and cap the wires off at the top of the stairs. Curious about the wireless switch tho.
joed, can you advise me of manufacturers of wireless switches, and one you might recommend? Also need to have a wiring diagram on how to do it. Thanks for the reply.
Never used a wireless. I just know they can be used in your situation.
Found it. - Lutron Caseta Wireless Dimmer Kit.
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.