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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So we have 1 dull existing light in our room right now and its on an existing 3 way switch for some reason. One switch when you first enter and then another 8 ft away on the other side of a long closet.

Were adding 8 recessed lights to this room, hopefully on 3 separate switches. Can I just eliminate the switch near the closet (or just use that to add a closet light) and use the main switch at the entrance to run the recessed lights? Just use the feed from wherever its coming from then branch off from there? Then jumping each light to each switch?
 

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If I understand you correctly you're saying that you want your 8 new lights to be controlled by 3 switches. Flipping any of the 3 switches would turn the lights on, and flipping any of the 3 switches again would turn the lights off.

You would need to replace the actual switches because there's a difference between 3-way and 4-way switches. There are different ways to wire 3way and 4way circuits, the locations of the switches and the source will be helpful in choosing the right configuration. The basic idea in a 3way is that the switch directs the current down one traveller(or the other) and when both switches are set to the same traveller, the current is able to complete the circuit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If I understand you correctly you're saying that you want your 8 new lights to be controlled by 3 switches. Flipping any of the 3 switches would turn the lights on, and flipping any of the 3 switches again would turn the lights off.

You would need to replace the actual switches because there's a difference between 3-way and 4-way switches. There are different ways to wire 3way and 4way circuits, the locations of the switches and the source will be helpful in choosing the right configuration. The basic idea in a 3way is that the switch directs the current down one traveller(or the other) and when both switches are set to the same traveller, the current is able to complete the circuit.
Lol it's tough to explain. So the 8 recessed lights I want to add, I want to dim and turn on/off a set of 3 on 1 switch, a set of 3 on a 2nd switch and then the other 2 on the 3rd switch.

So right now there are 2 switches in my bedroom that controls 1 light for whatever reason. I was hoping to be able to use the power from that switch for the new ones instead of having to run all new.

Then take the other existing switch and just run that into the closet and add a light there.

Hope I made it a little more clear lol
 

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I gotcha now. It depends on which 3way configuration was used. If possible, you would still need to replace the switch for a single pole switch. What's inside the junction box of the bedroom switch? How many wires?

Edit: Here's an example of how the 3way setup changes. You should find the source conductor in one of the 3 junction boxes; bedroom switch, closet switch, or the light.

https://www.familyhandyman.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/how-to-wire-3-way-switch-3.jpg

https://www.familyhandyman.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/how-to-wire-3-way-switch-2.jpg

https://www.familyhandyman.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/how-to-wire-3-way-switch-1.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I gotcha now. It depends on which 3way configuration was used. If possible, you would still need to replace the switch for a single pole switch. What's inside the junction box of the bedroom switch? How many wires?

Edit: Here's an example of how the 3way setup changes. You should find the source conductor in one of the 3 junction boxes; bedroom switch, closet switch, or the light.

https://www.familyhandyman.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/how-to-wire-3-way-switch-3.jpg

https://www.familyhandyman.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/how-to-wire-3-way-switch-2.jpg

https://www.familyhandyman.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/how-to-wire-3-way-switch-1.jpg
Appreciate the feedback. Yeah I want to just do away with both 3 way switches. I was planning on adding 3 smart dimmer switches for the recessed lights. I'm not sure what's inside the junction boxes yet I was planning on tackling it tomorrow. I'll reply back with what's going on.

Thanks again
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I gotcha now. It depends on which 3way configuration was used. If possible, you would still need to replace the switch for a single pole switch. What's inside the junction box of the bedroom switch? How many wires?

Edit: Here's an example of how the 3way setup changes. You should find the source conductor in one of the 3 junction boxes; bedroom switch, closet switch, or the light.

https://www.familyhandyman.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/how-to-wire-3-way-switch-3.jpg

https://www.familyhandyman.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/how-to-wire-3-way-switch-2.jpg

https://www.familyhandyman.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/how-to-wire-3-way-switch-1.jpg
Decided to wait till today to start but here's what I found inside the light fixture, then the 2 switches.

To try and go back over I'm hoping to take that "entry switch and add 3 total dimmer switches to that to control the 8 new recessed lights.

That "closet switch" I'd like to possibly just run that into the actual closet and add a light or 2 in there. I'm a little confused on what to do with that since theres 2 3 way switches
 

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From what I can tell, the setup you currently have is the second link I posted. They seem to have jumped to the entry switch with a 2 conductor cable, instead of a 3 conductor cable. In the light box, you have 3x 2 conductor cables (3 blacks, 3 whites). Two of them appear to join as normal; the two whites join and the two blacks join. But the black join has the third white in there, and the third black is attached to the light. This means they used the white to send power over to the first switch. At the entry switch, if I'm right, you should find that the white and black joint is always hot, as well as the black wire in the closet switch.

Power starts where the light is. It goes down the white(joined with blacks) to the entry switch then down the black to the closet switch. The closet switch directs it either down the red or the white to the entry switch. If both switches "agree" it's free to move up the black back to the light box.

This alternate type of wiring is no longer allowed by the NEC as of 2011 if a neutral wire is not present inside each switch box.

Neither switch contains a "true" white so neither are able to be extended into a new circuit (closet lights) New smart switches often require a connection to a white to work. The only white available is at the light. You'd have to start from there.

Hope that makes sense.

Basically, somebody used 12/2 when they should have used 12/3.

One thing I can't seem to tell is how your light is being hooked up to a white. Is it wired with just one black wire? It almost looks like it has a black and a white and they've both been attached to the black wire. And I see no ground wires at all, which is an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
From what I can tell, the setup you currently have is the second link I posted. They seem to have jumped to the entry switch with a 2 conductor cable, instead of a 3 conductor cable. In the light box, you have 3x 2 conductor cables (3 blacks, 3 whites). Two of them appear to join as normal; the two whites join and the two blacks join. But the black join has the third white in there, and the third black is attached to the light. This means they used the white to send power over to the first switch. At the entry switch, if I'm right, you should find that the white and black joint is always hot, as well as the black wire in the closet switch.

Power starts where the light is. It goes down the white(joined with blacks) to the entry switch then down the black to the closet switch. The closet switch directs it either down the red or the white to the entry switch. If both switches "agree" it's free to move up the black back to the light box.

This alternate type of wiring is no longer allowed by the NEC as of 2011 if a neutral wire is not present inside each switch box.

Neither switch contains a "true" white so neither are able to be extended into a new circuit (closet lights) New smart switches often require a connection to a white to work. The only white available is at the light. You'd have to start from there.

Hope that makes sense.

Basically, somebody used 12/2 when they should have used 12/3.

One thing I can't seem to tell is how your light is being hooked up to a white. Is it wired with just one black wire? It almost looks like it has a black and a white and they've both been attached to the black wire. And I see no ground wires at all, which is an issue.
Lol it's a little confusing but so is looking at all the work that was done here previously. All in all it sounds like I would be better off just starting over and maybe running off of a junction box located near (hopefully) or just running new from the circuit box
 
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