wiring 3 way switch

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  #1  
Old 09-12-13, 05:41 PM
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wiring 3 way switch

Hey there, new to the forum. I would love some help wiring a 3 way switch. I currently have one switch controlling two flood lights. Both lights are connected directly to the switch wire, with no wire running between them. All 3 black wires (2 floods and switch) meet in a junction box in the attic. The switch is powered from another wire bundle in the same junction box, with the white wire used as a hot wire to power the switch, with the black wire then running to the flood lights. I'm not sure is that is how it should be set up (does it need a neutral wire?), but I am hoping for the easiest/cheapest solution (12-3 wire is not cheap). I was hoping to just run the 12-3 from one switch to the other, but since the white wire is hot in this case, the diagrams I have found online don't really apply. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 09-12-13, 05:56 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

What you have is a switch loop, and it is perfectly normal. The white wire should be recoded with black, red, blue, etc. tape, (except gray or green) to separate it from the neutrals. Here is how a three way switch is set up with your parameters. Yes, running 12-3 between switches gets you started, but you have to do a little more than that.

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  #3  
Old 09-12-13, 06:04 PM
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Ok, so I got it to work by joining the white (hot) wire to the black of the 12-3 wire, which attaches to the common on the second switch. The black wire that connects to the lights is connected to the common on the first switch. Looks like it is working fine, but please advise if this will somehow burn down my house Thanks so much for the quick response!
 
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Old 09-12-13, 06:51 PM
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The LINE (120 volts hot wire) goes to the black screw on one switch. The LOAD (black wire from light) goes to the black screw on the other switch. The red and white are attached to the other two screws on the switches in no particular order of rule.
Do both switches work in conjunction with each other. In other words, one turns them off, then the other turns them on, and vice versa??
 

Last edited by ray2047; 09-12-13 at 06:59 PM. Reason: Change wire to screw.
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Old 09-12-13, 09:27 PM
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Yep, everything works perfectly. Since only one switch is connected directly to the lights, I was using the second diagram off of this webpage, 3-Way Switch Wiring Diagram, with a couple of tweaks due to the line coming from the white wire.

I assume because everything works, I should be in good shape, but let me know if anything seems wrong.
 
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Old 09-12-13, 09:34 PM
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Build my own cabin...... cool site

If both switches operate correctly then you've done it right and all should be ok.
Good job.... three way switches involve tricky wiring.
 
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Old 09-15-13, 09:14 AM
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Great, thanks so much for your help.
 
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