3-way Electrical Switch Code Question


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Old 12-28-12, 05:18 PM
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Question 3-way Electrical Switch Code Question

My wife and I have a major dispute on wiring a set of 3-way switches. She took an electrical class a couple of years ago, and says my plan to wire these switches is not to code. She believes that I have two power sources in one of the boxes. The drywall has been hung, finished, and wallpapered in the area with box A.

I have two 4-gang boxes, each of which will have two single switches,one 3-way switch, and one duplex receptacle.

Box A receives its power directly from the panel box. The 3-way switch in box A is wired (12/3) with the travelers going to box B. This same 3-way switch in box A has a 12/2 wire attached to its black screw which goes to the light fixtures.

Box B receives its power from a 12/2 wire connected to box As power supply. The 3-way switch in box B is attached to the other end of the travelers which are attached to the 3-way switch in box A. Box Bs 3-way switch sblack screw is connected to box Bs power source (12/2 wire), which originates from box A.

My wife insists that I will have two power sources going into box A because it receives power from the panel box and power from the 3-way switch travelers. She states that the way it will be wired is not to code. I disagree as I feel the travelers dont count as a second power source. Who is correct? Is it to code? If not, how must it be changed?

Panel box power source Box A[ Box B (3-way switch) via 12/3 travelers Box A (3-way switch) via 12/2 wire light fixtures
 

Last edited by ray2047; 12-28-12 at 06:18 PM. Reason: Remove excessive, un-needed formatting.
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Old 12-28-12, 05:43 PM
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You are only using one circuit. You have that circuit feed appearing in box A and then box B.

No problem.......that will work fine.


Just to clarify.....you are picking up the 3 way feed at box B and the light is connected out of box A.
 
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Old 12-28-12, 06:22 PM
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Landfiller, welcome to the forums. Please in the future use the Forum editor to compose your posts. I just spent 10 minuets removing all the garbage font from your post that was making your post text to small to easily read. Curious what kind of editor did you write it in?
 
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Old 12-28-12, 06:23 PM
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One note: I assume that you are using the 12/3's white so supply the light outlet's neutral. Don't connect it to any other white wire in box A so as to not create a parallel circuit.
 
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Old 12-28-12, 07:04 PM
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Thank you!

Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

Ray2047, the message was originally written using Word, and then copied and pasted to the forum.

PJmax, yes, I am picking up the 3-way feed at box B and the light is connected out of box A.

Astuff, thank you! It was getting late when I wired box A neutrals together, so I will have to go back and change it.
 
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Old 12-28-12, 08:28 PM
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As mentioned, your fine. You only have one circuit to your 3 way switches.

Just for reference, it is not a code violation to have more that one circuit (source) in a junction box. Just do not tie them together.
 
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Old 12-28-12, 10:34 PM
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I assume that you are using the 12/3's white so supply the light outlet's neutral. Don't connect it to any other white wire in box A so as to not create a parallel circuit.
If there is only one panel feed for all six switches and two duplex receptacles, then all of the neutrals in each box can, and should, be tied together. In fact, if the neutrals aren't all somehow tied to the single panel neutral, then you will have an open neutral. Something won't work and you may have voltage in excess of 120V at some points.
 
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Old 12-29-12, 08:31 AM
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all of the neutrals in each box can, and should, be tied together.
If I understand this correctly from the description there are two cables going between boxes A and B. One 12/2 and one 12/3. Both have white neutrals. If you tie all of the neutrals together in both A and B then you have parallel conductors which is not allowed.

The light outlet's neutral should be tied in at the source of the 3-way circuit which is in box B. That way the both the 12/3 and 12/2 have current flowing in both directions cancelling out any magnetic fields. Code required when using metal but still good practice otherwise.

A better way to do it to prevent confusion is to re-mark the white of the 12/3 and use it as the power feed from A to the 3-way switch in B. That way no one will later come back and think they need to tie the whites together.

Mod Note: the use of dead end three way wiring will not meet the latest code requirements for a neutral at the switch location.
 

Last edited by pcboss; 01-01-13 at 06:35 AM.
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Old 01-01-13, 06:03 AM
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Just curious, Why 12/2 and 12/3 for a lighting circuit?
 
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Old 01-01-13, 06:34 AM
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Sounds like the 12-3 was run between the 3 way switches.
 
 

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