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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I'm adding a timer to my outside lights which are currently run by two three-way switches (one in the garage, one in the living room).

I'll be replacing the garage switch with the timer. The timer is not a 3 way. It has black (line), blue (load), and white (neutral) wires. The white is just for the timer to power itself without passing current through to the fixture, so it's just the black and blue that are relevant, making the timer essentially a fancy single pole switch.

My thought was if I wire the timer to one of the garage 'traveler' wires, and pigtail the other garage traveler to the incoming hot, then in the living room the 3-way will be switching between the timer control and always on. Right?

The living room switch would then essentially function as an override to turn the lights on when the timer is off. I wouldn't be able to override the timer to turn the lights off from the living room, but I don't anticipate wanting to do that anyway.

Does that work, or am I way off base? Also, I'm not entirely sure in which order the switches are connected currently. But will it make a difference? The pigtailed traveler would either be connected to the incoming source hot or the outgoing fixture hot. In both situations it would bypass the timer when the living room switch is on, right?
 

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Yes, you can add the timer but you need to be sure that at whatever location you add the timer you have a hot, neutral and switch leg. You can rewire either location to meet that. Then you can wire in a SP switch in the other location as an override. As you say if the timer is on, the other location will not turn it off. Sounds like you have it correct.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the response. I guess I'm still confused though. Wouldn't I need a 3-way at the other location, not a single pole? The single pole would only let me override the timer by turning it off, right? I want to be able to override the timer to turn the light on from there.
 

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Your theory is correct IF YOU HAVE A NEUTRAL. If the 3 way where you want to install the timer does not already have a neutral then you need to use the white wire as a neutral instead of a hot override.
 

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If you use a timer you are going to abandon the 3 way system. So forget about the 3 way. You have 2 locations you can install the timer. Decide which location you want the timer and rewire that location so that you have a neutral, a hot, and the switch leg to the light. It all depends on how the 3 way was wired to begin with. But it makes no difference. You can wire either location for the timer and the other location gets the override switch. Lets assume you have a dead end 3 way and you want to locate the timer there. You need to go to the other location and rewire it so that the dead end location has a neutral, hot, and a switch leg. SO you would wire the black wire to the feed and send it over, then wire the neutral to the white and send it over and then wire the red wire to the switch leg of the light and send it over. Now on the dead end side you have your hot, neutral and switch leg. Wire up the timer accordingly. Now at the other location you can install a single pole switch from the hot to the switch leg. At this location you can turn the light on and off, but if the timer is on you can't turn it off. In the other location you can turn the light on by the timer or the internal override, but if the light is on from the other switch you can't turn it off. That's it.
 

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So, I'm adding a timer to my outside lights which are currently run by two three-way switches (one in the garage, one in the living room).

I'll be replacing the garage switch with the timer. The timer is not a 3 way. It has black (line), blue (load), and white (neutral) wires. The white is just for the timer to power itself without passing current through to the fixture, so it's just the black and blue that are relevant, making the timer essentially a fancy single pole switch.

My thought was if I wire the timer to one of the garage 'traveler' wires, and pigtail the other garage traveler to the incoming hot, then in the living room the 3-way will be switching between the timer control and always on. Right?

The living room switch would then essentially function as an override to turn the lights on when the timer is off. I wouldn't be able to override the timer to turn the lights off from the living room, but I don't anticipate wanting to do that anyway.

Does that work, or am I way off base? Also, I'm not entirely sure in which order the switches are connected currently. But will it make a difference? The pigtailed traveler would either be connected to the incoming source hot or the outgoing fixture hot. In both situations it would bypass the timer when the living room switch is on, right?

*This timer switch made by Honeywell will work with existing 3-way wiring: http://yourhome.honeywell.com/home/...rity/Programmable+Timer+Switches/RPLS530A.htm

It does not require a neutral and allows 3-way operation from the timer or the remaining 3-way switch. It comes with a jumper that must be installed on the remaining switch. It is only rated for incandescent and halogen light bulbs.

I just installed two of these this past week for a customer. They are easy to program and have a built-in rechargable battery. The directions are easy to follow.

John Grabowski
 
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