3-way switch question with a twist

Old 08-11-03, 08:54 AM
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3-way switch question with a twist

Not sure if there is a way to do this, but if I don't ask, then I don't know. I apologize in advance for the length but I want to try to describe the situation as clearly as I can.

I am in the planning stages of installing another (i.e. new and additional) bathroom and was hoping to install an inline fan and ductwork which would service both rooms. This elimates the need to punch another hole in the exterior of the house for an exhaust, and I figure it should be quieter. Simple enough so far.

Using a traditional circuit with 2 3-way switches I figure I can control the fan from either bathroom. So far, so good.

Here is where I get myself confused.

Is there a way to wire the circuit so that _each switch_ (maybe a 2-way) operates the fan separately? I am thinking that if someone is showering in bathroom #1 (B1) and turns the fan on in a the 3-way switch circuit, and then someone enters bathroom #2 (B2) to use the toilet, say after a night of draft beer and bean burritos (pew!!), and flips the switch (thinking they are turning ON the fan) then they will actually be turning it OFF. Can B1 and B2 each have an On/Off switch that would actually be operating the fan as On or Off?

I couldn't come up with a solution myself, so I thought - what about an indicator in each bathroom (little LED or similar lamp) that would illuminate when the fan was ON (i.e. exhausting). Sounds good, I just don't know how to go about it. I saw some illuminated 3-way switches that got me thinking. Does anyone know it they only illuminate when the device is Off, on are they always illuminated?

I would like to NOT use streamers attached to the fan duct grate in each bathroom as an indicator. Not the final look I am thinking of.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated. This one is causing me to scratch my head a lot. I think it can be done, I just haven't got the experience to figure it out. Thanks for any help.
Old 08-11-03, 12:52 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
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If you use 2 regular switches in parallel you will be able to turn the fan on from either switch. You will need to have both switches off to turn the fan off. I would suggest some sort of indicator light in parallel with the fan to show if the fan is off or on.

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