wiring 3-way switch - strange set up

Old 12-21-02, 07:57 PM
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wiring 3-way switch - strange set up

Hello all. I've got a stange situation where i'd like to wire a 3-way switch to a single lite fixture. I have wired them before, with the fixture in the beginning, the middle and the end... but i've got a set up that i'm kind of stuck with here and i was wondering if doing a 3-way switch is possible with it. Here's what i have:

- I have 2-wire with the Hot and Neutral coming into the first switch. Also leaving this switch box i have 3-wire going to the other switch and 2-wire going to the light fixture. In other words, everything centers on switch 1.

It's a long story how i was presented with this, but it just doesn't fit any model for how i've done a 3-way switch. And i'm no expert, i just have been lucky enough to set them up new and thus can do it the way i know how. In this case, i'm trying to play the hand i was dealt....

Is it possible? and if so, please tell me how.

Thanks a million. John
Old 12-21-02, 08:34 PM
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jab110, Sounds like you have everything there. First box has your hot feed, black wire connects on the dark color screw, white wire will connect to the white wire from the 3 conductor cable. Black and red wires of the 3 conductor cable will be your travellers which connect to the brass color screws on both switches. Second box has your switch leg for the light. Black wire on the dark color screw, white wire connects to the white wire from the 3 conductor cable.

Old 12-21-02, 08:56 PM
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thanks Fred, but i think either you missed something or i'm not understanding what you've said.... There is no switch leg out of the 2nd switch box.... that's the delimma. The hot and neutral come into box 1, the 3 wire goes out of box 1 to box 2, AND the 2 wire to the light goes out of box 1 as well (not box 2). The only wires available in switch box 2 is the 3-wire from box 1.

It sounded to me like you were suggesting that i had wires from switch 2 to go to the fixture, but i don't. Did i misunderstand you?

Thanks again for the quick reply.
Old 12-22-02, 07:12 AM
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Box 1:

a) Black (hot) from source to Switch 1 common. The neutral IN THAT SAME CABLE to the fixture's neutral.

b) Now the three wire: The Black to the fixture's black. Color code the 3-wire's white with black or red tape. Connect the red and the newly coded white wire to the other two switch terminals. Then run the 3-wire cable to box 2

Box 2:

a) Connect the Black wire to the switch's common.

b) Color code the white wire just like you did in box 1. Now connect the red and newly coded wire to the two remaining switch terminals.

Hope that's clear. Draw yourself a picture. It will make sense.

When the light is on, the current will flow from the source, through switch 1, through either the red wire OR the newly coded white wire in the 3-way cable, through switch 2, through the black wire in the 3-way cable, to the light fixture and then through the neutral from the original source cable.

And you have a complete circuit

Good luck

Old 12-22-02, 09:06 AM
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Let me say the same thing Rob said in different words. You can use either description, whichever one makes more sense to you. Some people are more comfortable with words, some with symbols.

Call the incoming power cable to switch#1 "P".
Call the cable between switches "T".
Call the cable from switch#1 to the light "L".

At switch#1:
(1) Connect Pb to common screw.
(2) Connect Pw to Lw.
(3) Connect Tr and Tw to the traveler screws.
(4) Connect Tb to Lb.

At switch#2:
(1) Connect Tr and Tw to the traveler screws.
(2) Connect Tb to the common screw.

At the light, match wire colors.

Connect all grounding wires and screws at each box.
Remark both ends of Tw with a black marker.
Old 12-23-02, 07:22 PM
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Another way to do this is as follows:
Pb to W in 3 wire. This gets re-identified as a Hot and goes to the Common screw at the 2nd 3-way.
Pw to W going to fixture white
B and R in 3-wire to Traveller screws between 3-ways.
Fb from 1st 3-way Common screw to fixture.
Old 12-23-02, 07:54 PM
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jab110, Sorry about that, I read to much into the post. My fault.
Put black wire from hot feed to dark color screw on first switch, white wire for hot feed connects to white wire from light. Black wire from light connects to black wire from 3 conductor(switch leg) which connects to the dark color screw on the second switch. Red and white wires from the 3 conductor are your travellers which connect to your brass color screws. Re-dedicate the white wire from the 3 conductor black or red with a permanent marker or marking tape(I normally use the tape because I do a lot of 3 phase 4 wire services).


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