3 way switch to S.P?

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  #1  
Old 01-31-07, 03:23 PM
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3 way switch to S.P?

Can a 3 way switch (wiring) be "converted" into a single pole switch? I would remove one of the 2 switches, wire nut as necessary, and blank cover the unused switch recepticle, but the wiring would be a bit confusing to me.
Thanks
 
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Old 01-31-07, 03:43 PM
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Why would you ?
 
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Old 01-31-07, 04:03 PM
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In some cases local code may require two switches.
 
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Old 01-31-07, 04:10 PM
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If you plan on keeping the switch that has wiring going to the light fixture, the job should not be terribly difficult. If you want to keep the switch who's wiring does NOT go to the light, you'll have some difficulty. Your 3-way switches are wired as follows: one switch, we'll call it the "hot side", has the hot wire connected to the switch, as well as 2 "traveler" wires. The other switch, the "switch leg" side, has the same 2 travelers, as well as a "switch leg" <the wire that goes to the light fixture>. So as you can see, only one side of this switching configuration has wiring to the light. Please note: soas not to assume or guess at which is your hot wire, you must verify the voltage with a meter. That said, and bearing in mind that not ALL 3-ways' terminals are identified the same way, all 3-ways have 3 wire terminals, as well as a ground terminal. MOST 3-ways have (2) similarly-colored terminals <for example, (2) black terminals>, and one dissimilarly colored terminal <i.e., a brass-colored terminal>. To identify the hot wire, you can use a continuity tester <circuit still off>.
 
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Old 01-31-07, 07:42 PM
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You can do this with either switch.

Before you do anything, determine which is the common terminal and which are the travelers. The common terminal will be a different color than the travelers. Also make detailed notes about what wires are connected to each terminal.

Pick one traveler and take the wire connected to it and cap it off.

Take the wire connected to the other traveler and the wire connected to the common and wire nut them together. The ground wire to the switch can be pushed to the back of the box.

Install a blank cover and you are done.

If the other switch does not behave the way you want, such as it is up when the light is off and down when it is on, then switch the two traveler wires that you have capped.
 
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Old 01-31-07, 07:51 PM
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racraft's instructions are simple and effective, will work no matter how the thing is currently wired, and do not require any modifications at the switch you want to keep.

However, there are a number of possible code violations to be concerned about. One is that this may be one of the situations that requires two switches, but the more significant issue concerns what you plan to do at the site of the missing switch. Many of the things you might want to do there are possibly illegal and unsafe.

Most people who have two switches but only want to use one simply quit using the other one. Why won't this work in your case?

Please post back with more details so that we can further assess the safety and code-compliance of your plans.
 
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Old 01-31-07, 08:04 PM
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I did mean to expand on the safety issue.

Code requires a switch to control a light from each entrance to a room. Code requires a switch at the top and bottom of most stairways. These requirements are for safety. You shouldn't have to enter a room and walk across it, or walk up or down the stairs in the dark.

If you can remove the switch, perhaps because the door was covered over, then there are still other concerns.

The box must remain permanently accessible. This means a blank cover must be put on it. You can't push the box into the wall and drywall over it.
 
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Old 01-31-07, 08:49 PM
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Bob, you are correct on the stairway code, but incorrect on the room code. Code only requires a switch at the main entrance to a room, although it is good form to put one at each entrance.
 
  #9  
Old 02-01-07, 06:38 AM
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Well I'll try to make a long story short. The reasoning behind getting rid of one of my switches is I purchased a motion sensor that will activate my porch lights when someone approaches the porch/steps. (It replaces my current light switch). Instead of leaving on my porch lights 24/7 and adding some security, I figured that this would be a viable alternative. Problem is, that the senor light switch I purchased, cannot be used in a 3 way "situation".
The recepticle switch that I would want to remove is located in the garage. And like I said, that feeds the front porch area, along with the other switch which is going out my front door to the porch-keeping that one. (Generally I used the garage enterance over the porch, 9 out of 10, no make that 99 out of 100 times.)
Hope that help claify a little more. Thanks

P.S. I do have a stairwell light switch after entering the garage, but that is a seperate 3 way circuit.
 
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Old 02-01-07, 06:56 AM
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While John is, I'm sure correct, I will argue that defining the primary entrance to a room is a judgment call in some cases. But regardless, this does not apply in your case.

Can you provide a little more information. How will this work? Is the switch you want to replace outside, so that the switch will be activated when someone approaches the porch from outside? If not, then what point will the switch server? To activate when someone inside approaches the front door?

Understand that, based on the information provided, I would not recommend touching the switch you no longer want to use. I would make all my changes at the switch that is being removed to install the motion detector.
 

Last edited by racraft; 02-01-07 at 07:38 AM.
  #11  
Old 02-01-07, 08:00 AM
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Well, the new information you supplied changes the picture. Too bad we didn't know that originally.

The first thing I'd do is see if you can find a 3-way motion sensing switch.

If that fails, the I would leave the garage swtich untouched. If you're afraid someone will switch it off, put masking tape over the switch to remind people to leave it alone.

Once you do that, then go to the 3-way that you want to replace with the motion sensor. Turn off the breaker, and gently pull it out without disconnecting any wires. It should have four screws, usually one green, one black, and two either silver or brass. Remove the wires one at a time. First, remove the wire from the green screw and connect it to the grounding connection of your motion switch. Then remove the wire from the black screw, and connect it to one of the other two connections on your motion switch. Then remove one of the other two wires (doesn't matter which one) and make the final connection to the motion switch. Then remove the last wire from the old switch and put a wire nut on it to isolate it.

Then test. If the motion sensor doesn't work, go to the garage, remove the masking tape, flip it to the other position, and put the masking tape back on.
 
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