Ditch the 3-way?


Old 02-26-02, 07:50 PM
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Question Ditch the 3-way?


I have a light in the foyer controlled by two switches-- one in the foyer and one at the top of the stairs. Unfortunately, the switch in the foyer (a dimmer) isn't near the front door, so it's pretty useless.

I found a special switch at Sharper Image that has a light/motion sensor and a dimmer that I want to use in the foyer. It would eliminate the need for the switch at the top of the stairs.

Here's the problem--

The instructions say "Do not use if there are three insulated wires."

If I don't need the switch at the top of the stairs, is there a way I can install this switch anyway? I really want a light nearby when I come in late at night, so it'd mean a lot to me to figure this out.

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Old 02-27-02, 06:37 AM
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You have a regular motion-activated switch. You need a 3-way motion-activated switch. Home Depot sells them. $24.95. SKU#991899.
Old 03-10-02, 08:35 AM
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Switch needs a dimmer, though

Sorry it took me a little bit to post again, I wanted to get to Home Depot to check out that switch. The thing is, it won't work for me. The light fixture is beautiful with a dimmer. It took me a long time to find a switch that incorporated a dimmer and motion sensor. That's why I'm wondering if I can just disconnect the upstairs switch, cause I don't think I'll find a 3-way with a dimmer and a motion sensor.


Can I just ditch the upstairs switch?

Thanks again-- I hope there's a way to make this work.

Old 03-10-02, 04:01 PM
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Okay, let me try again. How about putting the dimmer switch upstairs, and the motion activated switch downstairs?

Code requires that you be able to illuminate the stairs from either the top or bottom. Although it would be a simple matter to eliminate the upstairs switch, you still need to meet the requirements of the code.

If you can meet the code requirements some other way, then eliminating one switch is trivial. Buy a wire nut and a blank cover plate. Shut off the breaker. Remove the switch and use the wire nut to connect together all three wires that were formerly connected to the switch. Push the wires back in the box and put the cover plate over the box. Turn the breaker back on.
Old 03-25-02, 05:00 AM
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It worked!!

Dimmer upstairs, motion sensor in the foyer.

You can't imagine the smile on my face the first time I got home late for work and the foyer lights went on automatically. I had forgotten we made the change.

I think I never explained the darkness thing-- the foyer switch wasn't by the door, and we always take our shoes off at the front door. So I'd be stranded in the dark, fumbling with my laces on the floor mat until I got my shoes off.

Call me goofy, but those automatic lights make my day now every time they go on.


--Standing in the Light in Boston
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