Simple (I think) 3-Way Switch Wiring ?

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Old 06-22-15, 11:33 AM
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Question Simple (I think) 3-Way Switch Wiring ?

Hi Everyone,

I'm pretty decent with home wiring but this challenge has me a bit stumped and I can't find an applicable wiring diagram online (so maybe it's not possible).

I'm rewiring a portion of my house during a rehab (proper permits pulled).

-I have a switch and light fixture at the top of the stairs. I have a switch and light fixture at the bottom of the stairs.

-Power comes into the switch box at the bottom of the stairs.

- Between the two switches is a 14/3 wire

- Access from the top switch to the top light is very easy and access to the bottom switch to the bottom light is very easy.

- Access directly between the two lights is nearly impossible.

- Both lights should turn off and on via either switch

So how do I wire this? Is it possible to just use the traveler between the 2 switches and then run the hot wire from each switch to it's corresponding light? Everything I see either has a light at the end of the run or two lights at the end of the run. What I essentially want to do is have 2 "ends of the run." Seems easy but I'm not sure if it will actually work!

If this won't work, what is the easiest way to run the extra line? I suppose from one light to the other which will take 75' of wire just to go a line-of-site of about 12'!
 
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Old 06-22-15, 11:54 AM
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Not sure I understand what you want. Do you want both light controlled by the 3-way switches at the same time? If so powering the second light from the first is usually the simplest. The second way is to run a new cable from the same switch box the first light is powered from.

Or do you want to power each light from its own separate switch. Doing that might be a code violation since local code may require the existing 3-way circuit.
 
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Old 06-22-15, 12:32 PM
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Yes, I want both lights on and off at the same time. I do want to comply with code.

And exactly what I keep seeing is what you said, to power the second light from the first. Is there anyway around that? Maybe I gave too much detail but essentially my only "connection" is a 14/3 wire between the 2 switches. Otherwise each light just has a 14/2 wire going to it's corresponding switch box.
 
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Old 06-22-15, 12:40 PM
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As I wrote if power is at one of the switch boxes The second way is to run a new cable from the same switch box the first light is powered from.

One of the switch boxes has a cable going to the light if I am understanding your description. Run your new cable from that switch box.
 
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Old 06-22-15, 01:24 PM
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Ok, so I either need to run a new line from one light to the other light OR a run a line from one switch to the other light. Right now it looks like this (and I'm guessing I need another wire no matter what):

Panel->switch1 14/2
Switch1->light1 14/2
Switch1->Switch2 14/3
Switch2->light2 14/2

So I guess I need either one of these additional lines, correct?

Switch1->light2
or
light1->light2

Alright, not so simple of a question as I initially thought
 
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Old 06-22-15, 01:56 PM
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Not sure I understand what you wrote. Does this help you understand how you come from the switch?

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Old 06-23-15, 10:00 AM
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That's exactly what I have with one exception. "Light 1" is currently connected to the same box that you show "power in." I guess I should have thought to draw it out somehow. Instead I leave it to the kindness of a fellow forum member to do it for me. Thanks

So that being said, it's not enough to make it work as it sits, right?
 
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Old 06-23-15, 12:08 PM
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Light 1" is currently connected to the same box that you show "power in."
Then power to light two would also go to that box.

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NOTE: White of the 3-conductor is used for common in the diagram but either red or black could also be used. White of 3-conductor cable must be remarked some color other then white gray or green.

So that being said, it's not enough to make it work as it sits, right?
You need to add a cable to the existing light or as shown above, to the switch box.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 06-23-15 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 06-24-15, 11:09 AM
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Wiring Diagrams

Not sure if these will help your situation. It sounds exactly like a lighting circuit I have in our addition right now. Switch bottom of stairs, light bottom of stairs, ...etc. I wired it as two 3-way switches so I could avoid switch loops and marking the white wires as 'hot' - so I wired it like 'B' in these diagrams.
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It sounds like that might not be your first choice, or simplest, but as little as I understand it - there is no diagram such as you describe - where each switch is connected to it's own light, switches connected to each other, and power to one of the switches. I don't think it can work that way. As ray said, you'll basically have to connect the lights somehow. I think they have to connect to each other.

If you are remo'ing down to the studs, you might be amazed at what you can save on distance by going though the floor, coming through floor joist cavities, turning through the joist and into the top of the bottom of the stairs wall. Keep in mind I say that knowing the huge difference between remo and new const. Mine is new at the moment, but I will be set to tackle the old 60A service, with wiring about to corrode into the statue of liberty. Good luck with the project.
 
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Old 06-27-15, 06:43 AM
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Thanks very much Steve and Ray! At least I know that running the extra wire is necessary which is different than doing it just because I think I am missing a bit of information! I wasn't able to check the updates for a few days but went here today and was glad to find it's settled now. I will be working on this shortly. Have a great weekend!
 
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Old 06-27-15, 09:25 AM
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Glad we could help. Come back if you have any more questions.
 
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