2 three-way switches between two lights...


Old 05-07-06, 07:22 AM
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Join Date: May 2006
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2 three-way switches between two lights...

We're trying to do what the builder didn't and it's got us completely stumped with 1 day left before inspection on the reno. We're also working with what was started by the builder so changing the map configuration is not an option.

I have been able to find every diagram but one for the following scenario:

2 lights between 2 three-way switches with power through light.

The closest we've gotten is one of the switches controlling both lights and the second switch just slightly blinking the lights when flipped.

We were also able to get one switch controlling both and the other controlling one.

Any ideas or reference would be much appreciated - thanks!
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Old 05-07-06, 07:44 AM
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De-energize the circuit, pull both switches and report back as to the wiring at each one. You will have a black screw on each switch, and two brass ones. What wires are attached to Switch 1 and to Switch 2, black screw being terminal one, the one directly above it as terminal 2 and the screw across from this one as terminal 3.
Old 05-07-06, 08:07 AM
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Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4
ok, I pulled the switches and here's what I see: (however, after seeing only a two-way for one of the switches, I questioned the guys about it - they were trying something - and they gave me a complete explanation of what they're trying to do..it's below what I've noted seeing at each switch)

Switch 1:
- black screw at top left of switch with bare copper wire to it
- just below that black screw is a silver screw with red wire to it
- on right side of switch are two silver screws - one at the top and one at bottom each with black wire to them
- 2 white wires are coming out with the switch but are not attached to it...they are connected to each other

Switch 2:
- two brass screws on the right side only...no screws on left.
- black wire to the top screw
- white wire to the bottom screw


- 14-2 feed from panel to J-box
- 3-way switches at top and bottom of stairs
- a lamp at the j-box at the bottom of the stairs and a lamp above the stairs -- both have to be switched from both switches

- 14-2 from upper switch to lamp above stairs

- 14-3 from upper switch to (?) switch at bottom or stairs? OR lamp at bottom of stairs through J-box?

- J-box also feeds two other 14-2 take-offs

- what to do with 3-wire and what jumpers are needed?

I hope this helps clarify the problem here.

Last edited by Hutch6180; 05-07-06 at 08:34 AM.
Old 05-07-06, 08:32 AM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 5,599
You can't wire two lights between two 3way switches without using four conductor wire between the lights. I will guess that you only ran 3 conductor between the lights.
Best setup is to wire one light between the switches and then run a 2 conductor wire from the first light to the second light.

Here is the base diagram.


Now just a 14/2 from the light to the second light. Connect the second light to the black and white wire connected to the exosting fixture.
Old 05-07-06, 08:38 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4
Thanks Joed -

I think while you were posting our reply, I was editing mine above it. Please check it out and let me know if the further explanation helps.

Thanks again!
Old 05-07-06, 09:39 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
The 1403 from the upper switch needs to go directly to the lower switch. Then both lights need to be wired from the upper switch.
Old 05-07-06, 01:47 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 5,599
Yuo still can't do that way. You need to feed all the lights from the same switch. You can't do it by feeding one light from one switch and the other lights from the second switch, at least not without 5 conductor wire between the switches.

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