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# 3-way switch

#1
05-12-03, 12:42 PM
soto2k
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3-way switch

Hello,

I am redoing the lights in my kitchen. Currently, all the lights are operated via two 3-way switches. However, I have installed new lights and I would like to separate the lights into two sets. I would like one switch to run the lights in the main area of the kitchen and the other switch to run the lights above the sink.

I have been up in the attic and I noticed that there is a J-box with wires leading to both 3-way switches and also to the lights.

Is there an easy way of accomplishing what I want? How can I make one of the 3-way switches operate one set of lights and the other 3-way switch operate the lights above the sink?

#2
05-12-03, 04:20 PM
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It depends on the wiring between the switches and the lights. Can you post all the wires and what they are connected to in the switch boxes and the lights fixtures. Bare or green wires are ground and can be ignored for this situation.

#3
05-12-03, 04:37 PM
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The easiest way to think about this is how you would do it if there were no wires at all in place now.

The key question is whether this junction box you have has three cables coming out of it, or more than three. If it has four or more cables, then we can probably conclude that power comes here first.

But if it only has three cables, then the power comes to the light or one of the two switches first. In that case, you'll need to figure out which one of the three boxes that is.

Do a little more investigation for us, and we'll take it from there.

#4
05-14-03, 08:47 AM
soto2k
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J-boxes in the attic

I finally got a few minutes to get up in the attic and examine the J-box situation.

There are actually two J-boxes involved.

J-box 1- has one set of wires coming into it and 2 sets going out. One set goes to a second J-box and the other set goes to one of the 3-way switches.

J-box 2- has the wires from J-box 1 coming in and it has 3 sets of wires coming out. One set of wires goes to the second 3-way switch, the second set of wires goes to one ceiling light, and the third set of wires goes to another ceiling light.

I hope this gives to a better understanding of what I am dealing with. I took two pictures of the J-boxes if you would like to see them, please let me know.

#5
05-14-03, 06:08 PM
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I've seen the pictures. You don't have any red wires (all cables are black/white only). And you only have two wires going to each 3-way switch. We need you to open up the switch boxes and detail the wiring there too. There's more pieces to the puzzle than we have now.

#6
05-15-03, 12:23 AM
soto2k
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regarding the switches, both of them have a red, white and black wire.

#7
05-15-03, 11:15 AM
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But the pictures showed a cables going to the 3-way switches that do not have a red wire, only black and white. So where does this red wire come from? At the switches, is the red wire not in the same cable as the black and white, or is it possible that you have not correctly identified where the cables from the junction boxes are going?

#8
05-15-03, 11:28 AM
soto2k
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I am not sure where the red wire comes from. When I opened both 3-way switches last night and I found that both of them have a black, a white, and a red wire coming in. I assume the white and black wires are the same that come from the J-boxes in the attic.

For your information, one of the 3-way switches is back to back with another 3-way switch that operates a light in another room. The second 3-way switch is by its self, but there is an outlet about 3 feet away.

#9
05-15-03, 05:26 PM
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How many cables come into the switch boxes? Is the red wire part of a cable with blk,wht,red?

#10
05-16-03, 12:38 PM
soto2k
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A total of 3 wires come into each switch box. By the time the wires reach the boxes they are separate. I was not able to remove the boxes.

#11
05-16-03, 04:50 PM
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That doesn't make sense. At least one box should have 5 wires. I can't figure out how this is wired.

#12
05-16-03, 06:30 PM
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The problem is that we only have half the pieces of the puzzle. And only someone on site can collect the rest of the pieces. So far, this fits no known pattern that would allow us to guess at the missing pieces. One possibility is that there is a single red wire run between between the switch boxes (with power coming into one of the junction boxes). Another possibility is that there are one or more junction boxes that have not been located yet.

#13
05-19-03, 09:25 AM
soto2k
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I apologize for not posting a reply on a timely manner. After all, it is in my best interest that I respond ASAP while I have your attention. But I do appreciate your help.

I have studied this once again and tried to chase the wires from the attic to down to the switches and the lights.

J-box 1:
In: 1 Black and 1 white wire
Out: 1 black wire goes to Switch 1, 1 white wire goes to Switch 1
Out: 1 black wire goes to J-box 2, 1 white wire goes to J-box 2

J-box 2:
In: wires from J-box 1 come in and are connected as follows
Black wire is connected to a white wire that goes to Switch 2
White wire is connected to the white wires that go to the light fixtures
The black wires from the lights are combined with a black wire that goes to Switch 2

At the switches, both of them have a black, a white, and a red wire coming in. I assume the white and black wires are the same that come from the J-boxes in the attic. I am not sure where the red wire comes from. I am guessing that there is a dedicated red wire that runs between the two switches but never goes up to the attic.

Based on my description of the situation, is there a way to use one switch for one set of lights and the other switch for another set?