New house with a couple questions !


Old 07-28-07, 08:42 AM
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New house with a couple questions !

My wife and I just built a new house and we have a little customizing to do that I would appreciate some help with. I'm comfortable with wiring and know most of the "ins and outs".

# 1. The garage has two light switches on either side that I would like to add an indoor switch to in the mudroom so we can turn the garage light on before going into the garage. (attached garage). I was going to put an switch on the other side of the wall. The switch I want to tap into has two black wires on the right hand side of the switch and one red one on the upper left, and no white wires connected to it. It does have all the white wires together with a wire nut. (looking at it from the front). Which wires should I connect the on/off switch on the inside to ?

# 2. I want to replace a existing switch on a two switch light circuit with a dimmer. I purchased a three way dimmer and it has two red wires, one green and one black. The on/off switch I'm replacing has a red on the upper left, a white on the lower right and a black on the lower left. (Looking at it from the front). Which wire get connected to which ? The instructions for the dimmer do not cover my connection.

I would be happy to email anyone pictures who can assist me.

Thanks, and great site !

Last edited by boriscage; 07-28-07 at 08:55 AM. Reason: spelling
Old 07-28-07, 10:35 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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Position of wire on switch is meaningless. With three way switch you have two travelers on screws of the same color and a common on a screw of a different color.

For the garage if you wish to just move the existing switch you would disconnect the existing wires from the existing switch and connect to a 3 way switch on the inside. The original switch would then be covered with a blank cover plate.

If you want to add a third switch instead that is more complicated. You can not use a switch with two connections unless you want to abandon both three way switches.

As to second question again common to common. travelers to travelers. Order of travelers doesn't matter.

The way you describe the connections indicates you are not as knowledgeable as you may think. Reading a book might be helpful.

Good luck on your project
Old 07-28-07, 03:38 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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Position on a 3 way switch mean nothing.

Before you start I urge you to buy a book or two on home wiring and read them. They would have told you how to do this job, and the next ones you try to do. They will also answer the questions you have forgotten to ask (or haven't yet realized you need to ask). Start with "Wiring Simplified," available on0-line or at the bog box stores.

Three way switches have two traveler terminals, identified by the same color screws and one common terminal, the odd color switch. Disregard the ground terminal (green) when determining the traveler and common terminals.

To add a third witch to a setup containing two three ways, you need to add a four way switch. It will have four terminals. Follow the directions on the switch. Two terminals go together, and the other two go together.

You will use 12-3 or 14-3 (depending on the existing wire on the circuit) and you will move the existing three way to the new location. The black wire of the new cable gets wire nutted to the black wire that was connected to the common terminal of the switch. The red and white of the new cable get connected to one set of the terminals on the four way switch, and the red and black that were connected to the travelers of the three way switch get connected to the other set of terminals of the four way switch.

At the three way switch, the black gets connected to the common, and the red and white get connected to the travelers.

To install the dimmer, just replace it wire for wire. Connecting the traveler wires to the traveler terminals and the common wire to the common terminal.

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