3 way switch set up has me confused

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  #1  
Old 09-07-12, 07:19 PM
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3 way switch set up has me confused

I am confused about how to wire a three way switch set up. According to a book I use the power comes into what I will call switch 1. In switch 1 box the power in black wire goes to the black nut on the switch, and the power in white goes out through switch box 2 and to the light. A three wire cable leaves switch box 1 with the black connecting to the switch and the red connecting to the switch. Switch box 2 receives the three wire cable and also the black goes to switch 2 and the red goes to switch 2. A two wire cable leaves switch box 2 and goes to the light.

MY scenario is backwards in that the cable going to the lights comes out of what I called switch box 1 above. The downstairs switch only has a switch and a three wire cable inside it. The switch box on the second floor has power coming in and a cable going out to the lights. It seems like no matter how I think about this I do not know what to do with the white wire in the downstairs switch box. Right now my upstairs box has the white wire from the three cable going to the switch. Shouldn’t that be the balck wire?

There is probably an easy solution to this. Can someone print one of those helpful diagram layouts depicting my scenario? Again, the downstairs light box has only a three wire in it, but the upstairs has: a) 2 wire cable with power coming in, b) two wire cable going to the light, and c) 3 wire cable coming in from downstairs. The lights themselves are mounted to the upstairs ceiling directly above the staircase.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 09-07-12 at 07:48 PM. Reason: Remove font formatting.
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  #2  
Old 09-07-12, 08:03 PM
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As I said in your previous thread, please stop using other then the default font. It makes the posts harder to read.
Again, the downstairs light box has only a three wire in
So two of those wires go to the travelers. The other takes power back to the black of the 2- conductor in the first switch box. The white of the 2-conductor cable in the first switch box should go to the common of the first switch and should be remarked black (or red or blue or any color except white or gray or green).

Note the above is based on standard wiring practices. It assumes the 2-conductor cable is a switch loop with power in at the light. Standard wiring convention is to wire the white of the switch loop to the black hot at the light and remark it black on both ends using tape, marker pen, or paint. The black of the 2-conductor is used for the return. Verify that is correct for your set up.
 
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Old 09-07-12, 08:10 PM
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MY scenario is... that the cable going to the lights comes out of what I called switch box 1 [on the second floor.] The downstairs switch only has a switch and a three wire cable inside it. The switch box on the second floor has [both the] power coming in and [the] cable going out to the lights... Can someone print one of those helpful diagram layouts depicting my scenario?
You have what is sometimes called a "dead-end 3-way" setup. To make this work:

In the downstairs switch box, mark the hot wire as a redesignated hot wire, using a bit of red or black electrical tape or a red or black permanent marker. Connect that wire to the point, or common, screw on the switch. The point terminal is usually distinguished by having a black screw. Connect the black and red wires to the other two screws, which are usually brass colored. Connect the ground wire to the box, if it is metal, and to the switch. Mount the switch and cover it.

In the box on the second floor, splice the white wire coming from the panel to the white wire going to the light, if it isn't already done. Connect the red and black wires from the downstairs switch to the brass screws on the switch. Mark the white wire from downstairs as a hot wire, the same as you did on the other end of it. Connect one of the two remaining black wires to the point, or common, terminal screw on the switch. splice the other black wire to the redesignated white wire from the down stairs switch. Connect the ground to the switch and/or the box, as needed. Fold all the wires into the box, mount the switch, and cover the box.

Connect the light color-to-color, if it wasn't already.

Turn the power on and enjoy.
 
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Old 09-07-12, 08:18 PM
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Nash, your getting slow. Must have had a hard day.
 
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Old 09-07-12, 08:26 PM
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Maybe I did. I was delayed, though, while I removed font formatting in another thread.
 
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