wiring 4 lights with 3way switches at either side

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  #1  
Old 06-02-06, 10:58 AM
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wiring 4 lights with 3way switches at either side

I've been helping a friend out with some remodeling of his office and I uncovered an abortion with the lights in this one room. There are 4 flourescent lights and all turn on with one two way switch at the first doorway. However if you turn the two way switch off at the other door only one light turns off. I've done a lot of wiring with 3 way switches but I am not sure how to connect all of these lights together to work off both 3way switches at the same time. The power source is at the first switch. Any ideas?
 
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  #2  
Old 06-02-06, 11:02 AM
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Someone probably attempted to wire a switch at either end without enough wires between them.

There are many ways that the wires can be run. The best way to fix this depends on the wires already there, and on how much rewiring your friend may want to do.

The easiest wiring method to understand is that power goes into the first switch, then three conductor cable (plus ground) to the second switch, then two conductor cable to the first light, the second light, etc.

However, with the proper wiring, you can go in ANY order.

If you want us to help sort it out, then identify how the cables are run, and what cables are there.
 
  #3  
Old 06-02-06, 11:15 AM
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An office?

I think the first thing to do is to determine if the power source is 115v or 277v. A world of deadly difference between the two.
 
  #4  
Old 06-02-06, 11:23 AM
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When I read office, I assumed "Home Office". If this is in any way a commercial building, do not do anything for your friend except perhaps recommend an electrician. If it is a home office, then give your friend assistance and advice if you wish, but make sure that he or she does the work.
 
  #5  
Old 06-02-06, 11:35 AM
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This is a home office. From what I can see there is a Hot Neutral and Ground into the first switch. Neutral is nutted together, ground nutted together and to switch and Hot into and out of switch to one light. Then from one light to another there is only a hot and neutral that is tied into a jbox above the first light. After that I have not found the wiring but it ends up in a jbox above the last light where the hot then runs down to the second 2way switch and the white is relabeled black and back up to the last light. I am already planning on pulling all new wire from the first switch because of the lack of ground and I have found several staples in the romex. The only problem with pulling new wires is that the second switch appears to be run through flexible metal conduit and there may not be enough room to put a red wire in the conduit without tearing out the wall which has already been replastered and painted
 
  #6  
Old 06-02-06, 11:42 AM
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Option 1:

Run 12-3 or 14-3 (as appropriate) from the first switch directly to the second switch and then run 12-2 or 14-2 to one light, to the next light, etc.


Option 2:

Run 12-3 or 14-3 (as appropriate) from the first switch to the first light. Then run 12-4 or 14-4 (as appropriate) to the next light, and to the next light, and to the last light. Then run 12-3 or 14-3 (as appropriate) tot he second switch.



No matter how you slice it, you need at least three conductors (plus ground) to the second switch.
 
  #7  
Old 06-02-06, 11:47 AM
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That's what I thought, I was just so thrown by the garbage wiring that someone had done before I wanted to make sure I was clear myself. I am suprised that the place hasn't cought fire with the staples through the wire and no clamps in the knockouts or anything. It looks like the second switch has either 3/8ths or 1/2 in conduit. Think I will be able to feed a fourth wire in it to make it a 3way?
 
  #8  
Old 06-02-06, 11:56 AM
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You may have to pull the existing wires out, and then pull all four at the same time.
 
  #9  
Old 06-02-06, 02:43 PM
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You don't have three way switching. You have a master switch that turns on all the lights and switch loop on the last light to turn it off. The last light however can only be on if the master switch is on.
 
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