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Discussion Starter #1
Can someone please help me understand what in the world is going on in this pic? 7 cables (all 12/2 Romex) entering a three switch box. The switch in the middle is a 3 way switch. I understand the wiring basics, but this one goes a little beyond me. Also, the triangles represent wire nuts or equivalent.

Much obliged for any light you can shed!

Stephen
 

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Retired Moderator
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Post a photo---your drawing is incorrect. (I think)
 

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Everything looks fine to me. You have a common Hot, and the Neutrals are all tied together, even though you have two single poles, and a 3-way. So again, what is your question, and are you having some kind of issue with the way it has been hooked up for quit some time?
 

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A "Handy Husband"
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I assume dark wire/triangle is black wires and dotted is white.

1 of the 12/2s brings hot and neutral into the box, the hot is pigtailed and looped the the upper terminals of all three switches. All the neutrals are tied together.

2 of the 12/2 feed the switched hot and neutral to a light or other device. The 2 single pole switches in either end of the box.

1 of the 12/2 is the travelers from the 3 way watch to the 3 way at another location.

The last 3 of the 12/2s feed unswiched hot and neutral to switches and/or receptacles at other locations.
 

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A "Handy Husband"
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I will add that the 3 way is wired in a noncompliant manner. The cable going to from the 3 way switch to the other 3 way should be a 3 wire cable to include a neutral.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I don't understand how the three way switch in the middle works...I thought I needed. 12/3.


What would it take to make it compliant?
 

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Something is not right with that 3-way. It doesn't appear to have a neutral.
Go back and look again. That white on the lower left is the Neutral/Common. It is just that the Travelers are both black. There is no ground showing though, that would be a problem with today's standards if they make any changes to the circuits.
 

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A "Handy Husband"
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re the 3 way. They are using the black and white of a 12/2 as trsvelers and picking up a neutral at the far end. Not kosher.
 

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Resi EC
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Looks okay to me.

Probably a two wire feed and traveler, switch leg is at the other switch.
So both switches have neutrals, but as old as that work looks, neutrals would not have been needed, code compliant when built.

Use to be quite common.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Helpful comments. Thank you, everyone. I would like to turn the switch on the right into a 3-way switch. Easy enough for me to replace the furthest right romex with 12/3 for running it to the rest of that circuit. Technically, does messing with that switch mean I need to rewire anything else?
 

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To make the right switch a three way is simple once you get the cable to the new switch. You need a 12/3 cable to the new switch.
I am going to skip ground wires in the description. Connect all of them together and to the switch if it has a ground screw.

Remove the two black wires from the existing switch. Leave everything else alone.
Connect one black wire to the common screw of your new three way switch#1.
Connect the other black wire to the black wire to your new switch#2 cable.
Connect the red and white wires to the remaining two traveller screws of the new switch#1.

At new switch#2 connect the black to the common screw.
Connect the red and white wires to the remaining two traveller screws of the new switch#2.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
joed said:
To make the right switch a three way is simple once you get the cable to the new switch. You need a 12/3 cable to the new switch..
I assume 14/3 is also an option?
 

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Here are 4-common wiring arrangements for 3-way circuit configuration.
Grounds not shown for ease of drawing.

diagram 1 is power into a switch then load-switch
diagram 2 is power into a switch then switch-load
diagram 3 is power into the load where the switches are after the load
diagram 4 is power into the load where the switches are between the load

Since you already have power at the switch location, you could do diagram 1 or 2 depending on where the cable/wire goes after it leaves the switch location.
 

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A "Handy Husband"
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Per your diagram it shows 2 wires under 1 terminal on 2 of the switches. Not OK.
It may be OK if the wire is unbroken and wrapped around the terminal (rabbit eared).
 
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