Adding outlet to a three way switch

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Old 07-30-12, 12:36 PM
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Adding outlet to a three way switch

I have dedicated circuit to pier lights that operate from a switch at the pier and a switch on the porch. Power comes from the panel to a box in the crawl space with two different lines going to each switch. Set up below. I would like to add an outlet operated by both switches. Can I come of the box in the crawl space to do that? Hoepfully the picture attached.


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Old 07-30-12, 12:55 PM
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I have dedicated circuit to pier lights that operate from a switch at the pier and a switch on the porch. Power comes from the panel to a box in the crawl space with two different lines going to each switch. Set up below. I would like to add an outlet operated by both switches. Can I come of the box in the crawl space to do that?
No. Sorry, but the 3-way control is only available from the point, or common, terminal on the switch on the pier. You can a receptacle to the switched power at that point or beyond - i.e., from the lights.

Tech Note: To be code compliant, the ungrounded power from the panel (the black wire) should be spliced to the white wire going to the porch switch. That white wire should be marked with black electrical tape or a permanent black marker at each end to show that it has been re-purposed as a conductor for ungrounded power, and it should be connected to the point, or common, terminal on the porch switch. The black wire at that switch should be attached to one of the traveler terminals and, in the crawl space box, spliced to the black wire going to the pier switch.

Short version is mark the white wire at both ends - porch switch box and crawl space box. Swap the terminations for the white wire and the black wire in both boxes.
 
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Old 07-30-12, 03:20 PM
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Sorry I don't have time to look at this in-depth but check this video to see if his method could work for you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgcyYsl11dI

Remember to check local codes as always!
 
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Old 07-31-12, 05:34 AM
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Thanks Nash, i will add the black tape to note the hot. No sure why the electrician who did the house did not do that.

Arg, that gives me hope, but I want the outlet to be controled by the two switches as well, not always hot. The plan is to add some low voltage lights that are activated when the pier lights are turne on. i want to put the transformer for the 12v lights uner the deck at the house.
 
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Old 07-31-12, 07:22 AM
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Sorry I took a look later last night and when I drew it out I saw that your diagram (as I understand it) included ground and neutral which on first glance I thought were ungrounded conductors.

I've attached a diagram showing that you can add a conductor from the existing load side of the pier switch, or you can connect to the travelers in the crawl space box and split a duplex, which would give you power all the time there, but only switched from the porch in a code-compliant but less than helpful fashion for what you are trying to do.

Have you considered putting the landscape lighting on a timer or photocell, or both? I used to have a setup like that, so the photocell turned the lights on at dusk and the timer turned them off at 2 AM or whatever.

 
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Old 07-31-12, 10:26 AM
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Thanks Nash, i will add the black tape to note the hot. No sure why the electrician who did the house did not do that.
Thanks, Bart. You can just do that and leave the splicing and termination alone. But the full code compliance also includes swapping the two splices in the crawl space box and the two terminations on the porch switch. Both swaps, not just one!

The plan is to add some low voltage lights that are activated when the pier lights are turne on. i want to put the transformer for the 12v lights uner the deck at the house.
How is the wiring run from the crawl space box to the pier? In conduit, or with a direct-burial cable?
 
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Old 07-31-12, 11:41 AM
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Direct burial to a box right before the pier where a shut off for the water is located. from there it runs in conduit along with two other circuit runs (boat lift and shore power) to a box on the pier with the light switch and lift controls.

I guess the photo cell to control the low voltage is an idea. I have a transformer down at the end of the pier that is on the switch for low voltage lights around the pier head and along the pier to shore. (125') I wanted to put another transformer up by the house that would work off the same switch to have low voltage lighting on the path to the house and up the steps.

It would be nice coming back off the water when it is dark, hitting the switch and having the lights come on along the pier and all the way to the house.

I currently have a 300W transformer on the pier that handles two runs, one aournd the lift and one down the pier. 100' run down the pier and another 100' to the house. I wonder, could I do a 200' run and just up the transformer? Only 5 lights (I think they are only about 3W each) up to the house. Think I have 10g coming down the pier.
 
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Old 07-31-12, 12:53 PM
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How close is the 3-way switch at the pier to any point in the run of lights you want to add? You can T-tap off a transformer to go two ways, so just getting the switched power to a good place to set the xfmr will get the job done.

I currently have a 300W transformer on the pier that handles two runs, one aournd the lift and one down the pier. 100' run down the pier and another 100' to the house. I wonder, could I do a 200' run and just up the transformer?
With the information we have now, it is difficult - for me at least - to visualize your setup.
 
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Old 07-31-12, 01:06 PM
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Sorry I confused you. I tapped in the transformer for the low voltage into the power for the light at the pier. The switch and transformer are right next to each other. When I turn on the pier light the transformer comes on and lights up the low voltage on the pier at the same time.

My misson is to continue the low voltage (5 additonal lights) from the end of the pier up to the house. I originally thought I would need a transformer by the house due the the length of the run from the pier to the house. (200') But, if I just increase the transformer size can I continue the run down the pier up to the house with the additional 5 lights? 5 lights on that run now which is 100'. Another 100' to the house. That would be so easy to do and no other outlet is needed.
 
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Old 07-31-12, 01:25 PM
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I'm not sure why you would need to change the transformer. What is its rating (nameplate information) and what is the rating of each bulb?

Right now what I think we're seeing is 10 lamps at 3W each = 30W on a transformer capable of supplying up to 300W.
 
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Old 08-01-12, 06:06 AM
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But, if I just increase the transformer size can I continue the run down the pier up to the house with the additional 5 lights? 5 lights on that run now which is 100'. Another 100' to the house. That would be so easy to do and no other outlet is needed.
I would try this. Are you using LED or incandescent low-voltage? Do you have a meter? Check the voltage at the end of the existing 100' run, with the bulbs loading the transformer. 200' is long for landscape lighting but if you have 10 AWG that should help.

If you find that the voltage is running well under 12VAC, you may be able to compensate with a "good" transformer. For example I have a Sea Gull 600W that has primaries for both 105-115 VAC and 115-125 VAC. My line voltage is 125 VAC, so by switching to the lower-voltage primary, I can boost my secondary voltage to something around 18 VAC. This can prematurely burn out bulbs, especially incandescent bulbs, close to the transformer, so be aware of that.
 
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Old 08-01-12, 11:39 AM
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Thanks guys! Yea, the length of the run is what worried me. I currently have three legs coming off the transformer. Leg 1 had 4 lights an is about 50', leg 2 has 4 lights and is 50' long, leg 3 has 5 lights and is 100' long. Leg 3 is the one I would continue up to the house and add 5 more lights.

LED lights. Emailed the supplier Overtons to get the specs. Here is a link to the light on their site: Overton's : Horizontal Mini LED Light white beam - Boating & Marine > Electrical > Lighting > Courtesy Lights :

I will double check the AWG on the long leg. I can change it if needed. I also have a meter and can check the end of the current line. You have given me the information to figure this thing out. Thanks! Weekend place and I will be up there this weekend and report back.
 
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Old 08-01-12, 03:45 PM
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Emailed the supplier Overtons to get the specs. Here is a link to the light on their site: Overton's : Horizontal Mini LED Light white beam - Boating & Marine > Electrical > Lighting > Courtesy Lights :
It would be nice to see the specs. It would also be nice to see them in stock somewhere other than Overton's - like say, at their manufacturer's site, Lumitec. At least I didn't find them there.

You did ask Overton's if they still had some, I hope.
 
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Old 08-02-12, 05:32 AM
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You got me looking again. They are actually Atwood lights. Here is a link to the specs: LED Micro Lights

Draw only.75W. i should be OK with the exisiting transformer. I will see what voltage I have at the end of the long run and go from there. I also did find that Seagull transformer. Nice unit.
 
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Old 08-02-12, 08:12 AM
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You got me looking again. They are actually Atwood lights.
OK, that makes more sense.
 
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Old 08-02-12, 10:07 AM
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They are actually Atwood lights. Here is a link to the specs: LED Micro Lights

Draw only.75W. i should be OK with the exisiting transformer. I will see what voltage I have at the end of the long run and go from there. I also did find that Seagull transformer. Nice unit.
The specs for those say they are 12V DC only, so adjust your meter accordingly. I'm not familiar with DC landscape lighting at all. I have some LED modules that pop in in place of AC incandescent bulbs.
 
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Old 08-02-12, 10:55 AM
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Yup, use it on the 12V system on the boat too.
 
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Old 08-08-12, 10:31 AM
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OK, got up to the house and discovered I only had a 120W transformer in place. I ordered and got a Seagull 300W with the power boost. That should take care of the long run up to the house. The other two short runs should be fine. Thanks for all your advice guys. Went from thinking I needed a second transformer to a much easier solution.
 
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Old 08-08-12, 09:54 PM
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Sounds like you've got it under control, Bart. Thanks for letting us know.
 
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