3-way switch


Old 04-02-06, 07:58 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1
3-way switch

I currently have a regular light switch going down into my basement. I want to know if I am able to change it into a 3-way switch, and how.
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Old 04-02-06, 09:21 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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Yes you can. 1st You must determine what size ckt it is 20A/15A ..... Depending on the ckt, you need 12/3(20A) 14/3(15A) 2 Hots-1 neutral-1 ground (bond)romex type cable. From the existing switch to the new location.

Before attempting any of this disconnect the power to this ckt.
In the existing switch you must Identify the HOT (power in) wire and the "load" wire to fixture/s.

In the existing box -If there are any white wires spliced-don't mess with them!!! DEAL with the wires on the switch ONLY!!!!
splice the HOT to the WHITE wire of the new 3-wire. (tape the white black). Terminate the wire going to the Light/s to the black screw(common) on the 3-way sw.
Then connect the black (across from the common), and red to the remaining terminal on this switch. Connect the bare copper wire to the green screw (ALL BARE wires MUST be terminated together pigtail may be required)

IN THE NEW SWITCH--- Connect the white wire (tape it black) To the black screw of the sw.Connect the black wire to the terminal across from the common and the red to the remaining terminal, and the bare ground to the green screw.

Secure both switches and turn on the breaker...And you should be all set.
Old 04-03-06, 05:45 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Understand that the positions of the three screws (not including the ground) on the three way switch can be anything. What is important is that you identify the common screw and the two traveler screws. The position of these on the switch will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Old 04-03-06, 07:59 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 247
It might be quite confusing for you if you do it the first time. There might be 3 different ways to connect the wires.

A. Hot wire goes to the light first.
B. Hot wire goes to the switch upstairs first.
C. Hot wire goes to the switch downstairs first.
Old 04-03-06, 04:27 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 5,679
If you run a 14/3 wire from the original switch to the new switch then it doesn't matter which wire is the hot or which is to the light. If you have an existing switch you have two wires. One goes to one common screw. The other goes to the other common screw. It does not matter which one goes where. It doesn't matter if you have switch loop. NONE of the other wires in the original switch box needs to be changed.

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