More on three-way switches and lights

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  #1  
Old 01-03-05, 03:05 PM
pragmatic_cynic
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More on three-way switches and lights

Not sure if the question belongs in here or in the lighting section, so please excuse me if this is the wrong forum.

I have changed 3-way switches before and even the fixture, but I have a new project that is stumping me. I have searched the web and checked my hardcopy references (Family Handyman, Home Depot Wiring) and still haven't found my particular configuration.

I am installing 6 recessed lights in my kitchen, replacing a single flourescent fixture. The set up is already wired on a 3-way switch.

From one switch there is a 14-2 wire and from the other is a 14-3. They meet at the fixture. At the fixture, the 2 white wires are together with a pig tail into the fixture. The two black wires are together. The red wire is from the from the 14-3 goes to the fixture. This would seem to suggest the blacks serve as the traveller. Is that correct?

To wire the new cans, do I run 14-3 to the first can and each subsequent can and at the last can connect the 14-2 with the blacks tied together?

Or does the 14-2 and 14-3 connect in to Can 1 and each subsequent can run from there?
 
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  #2  
Old 01-03-05, 03:18 PM
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Areyou sure that there are 3 ways installed? The existing light fixture was able to be switched off and on from two different locations?

Please tell us exactly how many wires were in each switch box.
 
  #3  
Old 01-03-05, 03:47 PM
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You don't have enough wires. You need 3 wires minimum + ground at each switch.

If it all works it's leave it alone. The only wires you need to be conecerned with are the 2 wires connected to the existing light fixture. Connect a new 14/2 to those 2 wires+ground and run it to you new cans.

LEAVE EVERYTHING ELSE THE SAME.
 
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Old 01-03-05, 03:57 PM
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Unless the walls are open, you are making some assumptions about what cables are coming from where. I believe those assumptions are incorrect. Can you tell us all the cables that come into each box without the assumptions about where they come from?
 
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Old 01-05-05, 08:39 AM
pragmatic_cynic
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First off

Areyou sure that there are 3 ways installed? The existing light fixture was able to be switched off and on from two different locations
Yes I know that there needs to be two locations for it to be a 3-way And yes there are. An yes they work. There is one by each of the two doors entering the kitchen.

You don't have enough wires. You need 3 wires minimum + ground at each switch.
So how is it working now? As I said there is a 14-3 cable coming into the fixture (white-red-black+ground) and a 14-2 (black-white+ground)

Unless the walls are open, you are making some assumptions about what cables are coming from where. I believe those assumptions are incorrect. Can you tell us all the cables that come into each box without the assumptions about where they come from?
The walls are not open but the ceiling is wide open (water problem). Starting from the fixture box and going to switch 1 is a 14-3 wire. Starting from the fixture box and going to switch 2 is a 14-2 wire.

Is there any reason to assume that one of them that turns right down into the wall where the switch is is in fact not goint to the switch? Is the 14-2 just continuing to carry the load some where else in the wall and the switches are connect some where else (throught the floor perhaps) with just one (14-3) running to the fixture.
 
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Old 01-05-05, 10:42 AM
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Here's what we heard you say:
  • Fixture: One 14/3 and one 14/2.
  • Switch1: One 14/3.
  • Switch2: One 14/2.
That's what's not enough. Can you double-check all three boxes, especially the two switch boxes?

If this is what you really have, then the only way it could have worked is if someone used the bare grounding wire as a current-carrying conductor. Very, very unsafe. Although it's been done before, you should not allow it to remain. You need to replace the 14/2 between Switch2 and the Fixture with a 14/3 so that you don't have to use the grounding wire as a conductor.
 
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Old 01-05-05, 04:25 PM
pragmatic_cynic
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Ah, thanks John. That does clarify it. Will do and will get back here.
 
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Old 01-05-05, 04:47 PM
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As long as the ceiling is open it shouldn't be to hard to correct a problem, if one in fact does exist.
 
  #9  
Old 01-05-05, 05:54 PM
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Here what I think. Some one took a regular switched fixture and converted to a 3way by using the ground wire from the original switch as a current carrying conductor. This is a big mistake. You must change the wire to the second switch to a 14/3. 14/2 will not work legally.
 
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