Need a diagram to wire 3 way switches and outlets


Old 07-21-14, 07:30 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
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Need a diagram to wire 3 way switches and outlets

I have 2 switches in the house I moved into that I'm thinking were supposed to operate the 2 outlets below them, however, they do not do anything. They appear to be wired for 3 way switches but it doesn't work. I'd like to get them to operate one of the sockets in the outlet below each of them. Can someone make or point me to a diagram?

I'm also a bit confused as to how this circuit is being powered. If it is indeed a 3 way circuit, why do i need to turn off 2 separate breakers to kill the power to them? this is very odd! Is there a good way to map how the power is getting to the outlets? Not sure if it goes to any other outlets in the room yet.

I've done a lot of basic wiring before (wired a 3 room addition and the inspector told me I did a great job), so I don't think this is beyond my abilities. I just need to understand it a little better.
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Old 07-21-14, 08:01 AM
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There can be up to 8 different options to wire a 3 way switch.
Refer to this site for a diagram of each

Installing A 3-way Switch With Wiring Diagrams - The Home Improvement Web Directory
Old 07-21-14, 08:14 AM
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This is going to take some detective work. There is a chance that the receptacles are only half switched or that they were replaced and someone did not break the tab between the brass screws and it is overriding the switches.
Old 07-21-14, 08:27 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2013
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Those diagrams I referenced are OK, but I should've read your post a bit slower. As PCBoss pointed out it take some effort to determine what you have.

I'm not an electrician so take my comments for what they're worth. I would shut off all electric power, remove receptacles, separate the line so they are not touching anything. Then turn on power and using a VOM meter and switches find out what's hot and what's not. From there you can then determine your next step.

PCBoss, that was a good catch about the tabs being left intact.

Last edited by ray2047; 07-21-14 at 08:33 AM. Reason: Changed Ray to PCBoss

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