wiring 2 lights between 2-3 way switches

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  #1  
Old 03-11-05, 11:20 AM
dparkins
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wiring 2 lights between 2-3 way switches

I am attempting to wire 2 recessed can light between 2 -3 way switches. I have 14-2 coming into the first switch, 14-3 to the first can and 2nd switch and 14-2 to the 2nd can light. Both 14-3 wires are connected to the 1st can.
The black from 14-2 is connected to the common screw. There is a black and red wire attached to the other 2 screws that travel to the 1st light via 14-3 wire.
At the 1st light the red from switch one in wire nutted to the red from switch 2 (14-3 wire). The black from the 1st 3 way is wire nutted to the black from the 2nd 3 way and attached to the common screw at the 2nd switch. The white from switch 1 is wired using a push in device supplied by the light (3 holes). The other two holes have the white wires from the 2 cans (does it matter which wire goes in which hole). The black wire from the 2 can lights are pushed in another device supplied by the light along with the white wire from the 2nd switch (on screw above common).
The 2 nd switch has the black connected to the common, the white and red are connect to the other 2 screws. With this configuaration, neither switch turns the light on or off. Is it wired correctly or are the switches or push in devices shot. How do I test to make sure I have power to the light or test the switch/push in devices.
This circuit has 4 regular switches and 2 3 way switches, 4 can lights, one regular light and 1 ceiling fan/light (seperate switches) Only 3 can lights are presently being used so I don't think the circuit is overloaded. I would appreciate any help. If this is incorrect please send detailed instructions on how to wire this light.
 
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  #2  
Old 03-11-05, 11:32 AM
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You mistake is in the wiring to the second switch.

The black and red from the first switch (the travelers) must be connected to the same two traveler screws at the second switch.

At the light in the middle, swap the black and white wire to the second switch.

This diagram should help:

http://www.the-home-improvement-web....s/wiring3l.jpg
 
  #3  
Old 03-11-05, 12:38 PM
dparkins
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3 way tripping breaker

I tried your suggestion and when I turn the power on, the breaker trips. I changed the wires in the light and at the second switch. At the second switch I tried the white on the common and screw above and the black on the common and the screw above (not at the same time) and got the same result- a tripped breaker. Any other suggestions?
 
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Old 03-11-05, 12:46 PM
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Follow the diagram that I linked to and my directions, which modified your original wiring. You did not need to touch the second switch.

What do you mean "I tied the black on the common and the screw above". That statement does not make sense.
 
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Old 03-11-05, 01:19 PM
dparkins
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New Problem

I checked the diagram you furnished and it appears the lights and switches are wired correctly, but the breaker still trips when I turn the light on. Anyway the recepatcle for the first 3 way also has another switch and a total of 4 wires coming into it. It is wired like this>
All white wires are wire nutted
All neutrals are wire nutted and 2 pigtails: 1 to each switch
Black lines are wire nutted with 2 pigtails 1 to the regular switch (red) and 1 to the 3 way.
The red wire from the pigtail is connected to the top gold screw and a black wire is connected to the bottom screw which feeds a light in the hall .
The four wires are the fire wire (14-2), one to the three way switch (common area 14-3), one to a hall light(14-2) and one to power lights in a study (14-2): 2 can lights (1 switch) and one ceiling fan and light (2 seperate switches).
Heres the problem, I was playing with switches and noticed that the switch to the cans in the study turn off and on with the 3 way switch to the common area. The cans in the study also turn off and on with their designated switch. These 2 lights are not connected in any way other than the power source. Is this possible? If not what in the heck is wrong and how can I fix it? I think this is why the breaker is getting thrown.
 
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Old 03-11-05, 01:28 PM
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Refer to the wires by their color. All white wires are not neutral. Neutral wires do not connect to switches.
 
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Old 03-11-05, 01:39 PM
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Are you trying to add new lights to an existing setup? If so, do you know that you pulled power from a proper location?
 
  #8  
Old 03-11-05, 01:42 PM
dparkins
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Reply to John

Iam calling the neutral wires the bare copper ground wires. The rest of the wires I believe I did "name" correctly. I said the white wires were pigtailed and not wired to the switch. The first switch has a red wire on the top screw and a black wire on the bottom screw. The second switch (3 way) has a black wire to the common screw, black wire to the screw above going to the can light and a red wire on the opposite side of the switch going to the can light. There is also a bare copper wire to the green screw.
My problem is that a switch is turning a light off and on that it is connected to only by the power source ( pigtailed in the wall box), there are no traveler wires to connect these 2 switches.
 
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Old 03-11-05, 01:56 PM
dparkins
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Three wire problem

Originally Posted by racraft
Are you trying to add new lights to an existing setup? If so, do you know that you pulled power from a proper location?
No this is not an existing set-up. It is new construction. the power supply is not in question. These lights are all on the same circuit sharing power from one fire wire. The wire is 14-2 except for the 3 way to the cans in the common area and to the ceiling fan. There are 4 wires coming into the box
fire wire
hall light
3 way to cans
Study lights- 2 cans one ceiling fan and light operated on seperate switches
The bare copper wires are pigtailed and 2 wires connect to each switch
The white wires are pigtaied together and not connected to any switch
The black wires are wire nutted and 2 pigtails are present: one going to the regular switch top screw and one to the 3 way common screw.
The regular switch has a black pigtail from the power supply to the top screw and a black wire from the hall light to the bottom screw.
The other switch (3way) has the power to the common, black to screw above common and red to the screw on opposite side. Ther is also a bare copper to the green screw.
Now what I noticed is that the can lights in the study turn off/on with the 3 way switch and the switch designated for its use. I do not understand why this is happening since they are not connected in any way other than power supplied in the wall receptacle, that is the pigtailed black power wire. How is this fixed, possible etc? Please reply Thanks
 
  #10  
Old 03-11-05, 01:58 PM
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Neutral wires are wires that carry return current back to the circuit breaker panel. Do not call bare copper wires neutral wires.

The breaker is tripping because you have a hot wire making contact with either a bare ground wire, a neutral wire, or a hot wire from the opposite leg of the incoming service.

if everything is on the same circuit then we can rule out the opposite leg of your service causing a problem.

Double check that you don't accidentally have a ground wire touching a screw terminal (other than the ground screw).

Next I would disconnect both of the the "push in device supplied by the light" and figure out what they are. Does the breaker trip without that "push in device" connected?

The other thing that I would do is to draw a big picture of exactly what you have. You have mentioned lights in other rooms, receptacles, and a whole bunch of stuff. After you draw your picture, make sure that it is accurate and you don't have a return/neutral wire wired into the hot circuits anywhere.

"My problem is that a switch is turning a light off and on that it is connected to only by the power source ( pigtailed in the wall box), there are no traveler wires to connect these 2 switches."

If you are referring to the two three way switches then yes, you do have traveler wires, or you wired it wrong.

If a switch is turning off an unrelated light, then you most certainly either have things wired in series or you have an open somewhere.
 
  #11  
Old 03-11-05, 02:27 PM
dparkins
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Reply to racraft

I will try your suggestions, thanks for your help.
 
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