Can I wire an outlet in a multiwire three way circuit


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Old 05-16-20, 10:46 AM
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Can I wire an outlet in a multiwire three way circuit

I hope this is not too much detail but I'm just trying to make sure I do this right.

I have 2 banks of high hats in my basement. Each bank is controlled by a 3 way switch. There are 2 electrical boxes for the switches. One box is a 2 gang box (switch for each bank) and the otherside of the basement has a 3 gang box with an outlet that is not connected to any wires (previous owner did this) plus 2 switches (1 for each bank). I'd like to wire up this outlet. I opened up the 2 boxes to see how the circuits are wired.

For the box without the outlet there are 2 x 2 wire romex cables and 2 x 3 wire romex cables
Each switch has red and black from one of the 3 wire romex, black from the 2 wire romex with the whites from 2 and 3 wire romex connected. I'm assuming that the 2 wire romex'es go to each light and the 3 wires are the travellers to the other switches..

For the box with the outlet there are 3 x 3 wire romex cables.
Each switch has a red and black from one 3 wire cable.
The 3rd three wire cable has red going to one switch and black to the other switch.
The neutrals are all wired up together.

I did some reading and I think what's happening is a multiwire circuit where the 3 wire romex going to the box with the outlet has 2 hot wires (red and black) one for each circuit and then the common neutral. Of note the breakers for the 2 circuits are not linked together (which I think might not be up to code?)

Can I just take connect one of the 2 hot wires to the outlet and then wire it into the common neutral and ground? This outlet will always be on right since it's before the switches?
 
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Old 05-16-20, 10:54 AM
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If there is a question if it's a multiwire branch circuit..... check across the red and black wires with a meter. You will measure 240vAC if it's a MWBC.

You have three cables at the box in question.
Cable 1 - red and black to switch 1 (travelers)
Cable 2 - red and black to switch 2 (travelers)
Cable 3 - red wire is connected to common on one of the switches. (switched line to lights)
.............- black wire is connected to common on other switch (switched line to lights)

All whites connected together.

This tells us that there is no always live at the box in question which is why the receptacle was never connected.
 
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Old 05-17-20, 09:48 AM
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You're right. I checked with a voltage tester. Just to understand conceptually, Is the switch functioning like the switch on the right in C.
https://www.hometips.com/diy-how-to/...ht-switch.html

Thanks!
 
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Old 05-17-20, 10:19 AM
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Yes.... the circuit is wired similar to diagram C.
 
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Old 05-17-20, 10:42 AM
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Adding a receptacle to a 3 way switch. system

Leviton and others make a combination 3 way and receptacle device. The device must to be installed in the box where constant power or feed wires are. The video on youtube shows how to install it. ALWAYS BE CAREFUL WITH ELECTRICITY.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2_MjAbtKtU
 
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Old 05-17-20, 11:03 AM
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In this application we have a three gang box. Two 3w switches and a receptacle. So a combo device would not be required. The problem here is that where the receptacle is located is at the load side of the three way switches. Has neutral but no always live.
 
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Old 05-17-20, 11:46 AM
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Thanks. That makes a lot of sense.
 
 

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