Four 3-way switches controlling fan and lights separately

Reply

  #1  
Old 03-01-14, 08:39 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 13
Four 3-way switches controlling fan and lights separately

I currently have four 3-way switches that I would like to install to control my ceiling fan w/light and another light fixture. I want to control both lights with one 3-way switch from both sides of the room. I want to control the fan motor with the other 3-way switch from both sides of the room as well. I have an old piece of 12/2 cable stapled between the fan and the other fixture that I would like to utilize because I cannot pull it through and I'm very limited on the cable I have left. The old 12/2 doesn't have a ground wire in it though. I have another piece of new 12/2 that also runs between the fan and the other fixture with the ground wire in it. The power comes in from the breaker box about 4 inches above a double gang switch box. I have the power running into that switch box on new 12/2 cable with wire nuts on the black, white and ground wires for now. I have two pieces of new 12/2 cable running from that switch box to the light fixture. I al tso have a single 12 guage black wire that is coded red on both ends that runs from that switch box and connects the red wire in the old 12/3 at the light fixture. Finally, I have a piece of new 12/2 cable that runs from the fan to the other switch box with the ends wire nutted. I just bought 25' of new 12/3 cable that will reach from switch box to switch box. Do I have any options to make this work with my existing wires or do I have to buy more 12/3 cable? Please help! I will try to post pictures, but haven't had any luck so far doing this from my android phone.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 03-01-14, 08:54 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 46,182
Welcome to the forums.

It's going to take reading this a few times to understand it.

Every pair of three ways switches requires a three wire cable between them.
 
  #3  
Old 03-01-14, 09:09 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
Welcome to the forums!

I currently have four 3-way switches that I would like to install to control my ceiling fan w/light and another light fixture. I want to control both lights with one 3-way switch from both sides of the room. I want to control the fan motor with the other 3-way switch from both sides of the room as well.

The power comes in from the breaker box about 4 inches above a double gang switch box. I have the power running into that switch box on new 12/2 cable with wire nuts on the black, white and ground wires for now.

I will try to post pictures, but...
Don't worry about the pictures for now. Here's what you need to make this work:

Two switch boxes. These can be single-gang or 2- gang, depending on the controls you choose.

One fan-rated ceiling box, or a regular ceiling box and a piece of ceiling framing, to mount the fan to.

Two runs of 12-3/G cable between the two switch boxes, if this is a 20A circuit. If it is a 15A circuit you can use 14-2/G cable

One run of 12-3/G (or 14-3/G) cable between one of the switch boxes and the box for the fan.

Three 3-way switches and one 3-way fan motor control, or two 3-way combination fan motor and light switches.

Some way to extend the conductors from the panel into the first switch box with any and all needed splices being in closed and accessible electrical boxes that are rated to contain splices.

--------------

Let us know if you have any questions.
 
  #4  
Old 03-01-14, 09:11 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 13
I have enough 12/3 to run between 2 of the switches. Can I use the 12/2 with ground and the 12/ 3 without ground to substitute for the second 12/3 that is required?
 
  #5  
Old 03-01-14, 09:20 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
I have enough 12/3 to run between 2 of the switches. Can I use the 12/2 with ground and the 12/ 3 without ground to substitute for the second 12/3 that is required?
No. Ungrounded cable doesn't meet current code requirements. It hasn't for more than 30 years.
Originally Posted by Nashkat1
Here's what you need to make this work: ...

Two runs of 12-3/G cable between the two switch boxes, if this is a 20A circuit. If it is a 15A circuit you can use 14-2/G cable.
 
  #6  
Old 03-01-14, 09:21 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,052
12-3 without ground is not code compliant for new circuits.

Name:  Simple_3-way_zps51d920d6-1.jpg
Views: 38930
Size:  46.2 KB
 
  #7  
Old 03-01-14, 09:21 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 13
I have cable running from breaker box to the 1st switch box already, and yes, it is a 20 amp breaker for this circuit. I don't have a 3-way fan motor control, I only have four 3-way switches. I also have two double gang switch boxes already installed.
 
  #8  
Old 03-01-14, 09:26 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 13
If I use the 12/2 with ground and the red wire from the 12/3 with out ground as one of my 12/3 runs between two of the switches, what's the difference? It's still grounded. I can just wire nut the ends of the black and white wires in the old 12/3, can't I?
 
  #9  
Old 03-01-14, 09:46 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
The power comes in from the breaker box about 4 inches above a double gang switch box. I have the power running into that switch box on new 12/2 cable with wire nuts on the black, white and ground wires for now.

I have cable running from breaker box to the 1st switch box already
How are you planning to get the feeder from your panel into the box without any splice outside the box?

and yes, it is a 20 amp breaker for this circuit.
OK, then you need to use 12AWG conductors. 12-2/G and 12-3/G are the cables you need.

I don't have a 3-way fan motor control, I only have four 3-way switches.
We understand that.
Here's what you need to make this work: ...

Three 3-way switches and one 3-way fan motor control, or two 3-way combination fan motor and light switches.
Actually, it's two 3-way switches and two 3-way fan motor controls, now that I think about it.

Because they're electric motors and need full power at startup, fan motors need to be set on their highest speed and left there if the power is to be controlled before it gets to the fan. You can use two of the 3-way switches to control the fan motor if you set the fan at its highest speed and disable the pull-chain switch.

I also have two double gang switch boxes already installed.
Fine. Exchange two of the 3-way single-pole switches for two 3-way fan motor controls. Or replace the boxes with single-gang boxes and use two combination 3-way controls.
 
  #10  
Old 03-01-14, 09:54 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 13
 
  #11  
Old 03-01-14, 09:57 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
If I use the 12/2 with ground and the red wire from the 12/3 with out ground as one of my 12/3 runs between two of the switches, what's the difference?
It isn't code compliant. It isn't safe. It isn't code compliant because it isn't safe. It's a hazard. Installing it that way would be deliberately creating a hazard. Every insurance investigator and fire marshal I've ever met would put the blame for any resulting damage on you.

It's still grounded.
What does that have to do with anything? The code requires that all current-carrying conductors in a circuit be contained in the same raceway (cable jacket in this case). The grounding conductor could be run separately, but not any of the others.

I can just wire nut the ends of the black and white wires in the old 12/3, can't I?
Conductors can be abandoned in place if they are disconnected at both ends and either cut short or capped and enclosed in an approved and accessible box.
 
  #12  
Old 03-01-14, 10:07 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 13
 
  #13  
Old 03-01-14, 10:38 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
Jayson, in addition to having one of the ungrounded conductors running outside the jacket of the cable, the drawing you posted won't work because it's missing a cable.

Here's what you need to make this work:

Two runs of 12-3/G cable between the two switch boxes...
Please read our answers carefully.
 
  #14  
Old 03-02-14, 07:30 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,052
Name:  x.jpg
Views: 5142
Size:  20.3 KB
.
 
  #15  
Old 03-06-14, 03:06 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 13
[QUOTE] The grounding conductor could be run separately, but not any of the others. [\QUOTE] Soooo, grounding conductor from the 12/2 running alongside the 12/3 without ground will or will not work? "Yes" is what I'm looking for. I bought 1 combo switch for the first switch box where the power comes in to operate the lights. I cannot afford the $36 fan control switch or more cable. What are my options now?
 
  #16  
Old 03-06-14, 05:23 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,052
What are my options now?
Did you see my diagram above.
  • Do you have the cables to run two 3-conductors cables with ground between the two switch boxes? <Yes or No>
  • Do you have the cable to run either one 3 conductor cable with ground or two 2-conductor cables with ground from the switch box to the ceiling? <Yes or No>
If your answer is no to either question your only option is to get the correct cable if you don't want to use a fan switch.

Using the 3-conductor cable with no ground is not an option unless it was already in place before current code but it sounds like this is cable you want to install not already installed.

Name:  x.jpg
Views: 4060
Size:  20.3 KB
 
  #17  
Old 03-10-14, 01:12 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 13
That 12/3 without ground has been up there for 30 years
 
  #18  
Old 03-10-14, 03:18 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,052
Sorry long thread, please refresh my memory where is the 12-3. What does it connect?
 
  #19  
Old 03-11-14, 03:45 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 13
The 12/3 w/o gnd isn't connected to anything now. It runs between the light and the fan. There is also 12/2 w ground that runs beside it. Can I use the gnd from the 12/2 to run with the 12/3 and then connect to new 12/3 down to the switches and then do the same on the other end? Also need to know how to incorporate this pass & Seymour 2 in 1, 3-way switch (TM813-WCC6) with my Pass & Seymour 3-way switch (TM873-WCC10) and my GE 3-way switch (18233). I want to operate both lights with the 2 in 1 switch if I can't operate the fan with it. It has 2 gold screws and a black on the left side, 1 gold and 1 black on the right, grand screw is on the top. It has a tab I can remove to split the circuit if I need to. I will try to send a picture of switch
 
  #20  
Old 03-11-14, 07:45 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,052
The 12/3 w/o gnd isn't connected to anything now. It runs between the light and the fan
If you look at the diagram you will see how it can be used. No ground is okay because it is grandfathered.

Name:  x.jpg
Views: 5137
Size:  22.0 KB

Can I use the gnd from the 12/2
The cable is not needed. No 12-2 is used. It wouldn't be a code violation to use the ground but the old cable is grandfathered so not needed.

need to know how to incorporate this pass & Seymour 2 in 1, 3-way switch (TM813-WCC6) with my Pass & Seymour 3-way switch
Use the 3-way portion of the switch as as one of the two 3-way switches you need. If it has two 3-way switches use each as one of the two 3-way switches you need in the box.

Opinion: I would not use a duplex 3-way switch in a single gang box. Too many wires for a single gang box. Replace the single gang box with a double gang box and use two individual switches.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 03-11-14 at 08:13 AM.
  #21  
Old 03-12-14, 02:37 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 13
I don't have a single gang box. There is a triple gang box installed now, but I have a double gang box I can replace it with. Are you telling me that the 2 in 1 double rocker switch will not use any less wire than than two individual switches would? I have one 12/3 cable running from switch box to switch box. I have one 12/2 cable running from switch box #1 to the light fixture. I have one 12/2 cable running from switch ox #1 to the ceiling fan box. I have one 12/3 without ground running from light fixture to ceiling fan. Finally, I have one 12/2 cable running from ceiling fan box to switch box #2. I am out of 12/3 cable and resources. I only a little 12/2 left that I was wanting to use for an outlet coming out out of switch box #2. I have four 3-way switches, one 3-way combo switch and plenty of single switches. What are my options as far as controlling the lights and fan from both sides of the room? I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but I haven't got an answer that will work for my situation yet. What can I do with what I have? Post in other forums?
 
  #22  
Old 03-12-14, 02:48 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 13
My double switch has a black screw on the upper right, a gold screw on the lower right, a black screw on the lower left, a gold screw on the upper left, a gold screw on the middle left, and a green grounding screw on top. On the back it says remove tab to split circuit. Does anyone know how to wire this switch?
 
  #23  
Old 03-12-14, 08:54 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,052
I don't have a single gang box. There is a triple gang box installed now, but I have a double gang box I can replace it with.
NO. You are missing the point. You need as much room as possible.
Are you telling me that the 2 in 1 double rocker switch will not use any less wire than than two individual switches would?
Same exact wiring. It is just two switches on the same yolk.
I have one 12/3 cable running from switch box to switch box.
You need two. No other way.
I have one 12/2 cable running from switch ox #1 to the ceiling fan box.
You need a 3-conductor.
I have one 12/3 without ground running from light fixture to ceiling fan.
That is usable because it is grandfathered.
Finally, I have one 12/2 cable running from ceiling fan box to switch box #2.
Using it would be more complicated and at the fan would violate the all conductors in the same raceway rule. Bottom line you need two 3-conductor cables between the switches. There is no alternative and you don't have two 3-conductor cables. You might sneak by code using two 2-conductor cables from switch one to the light instead of a 3-conductor cable.

You might be able to do it with remotes but that would probably cost more then cables.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 03-12-14 at 09:13 AM.
  #24  
Old 03-13-14, 10:44 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 13
What does grandfathered mean?
 
  #25  
Old 03-14-14, 04:19 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,052
Governed by the code applicable at the time of installation.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes