Wiring a light fixture to two wall switches

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Old 08-30-09, 08:17 AM
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Wiring a light fixture to two wall switches

I'm installing a light to the ceiling and I'm trying to figure out the wiring so that it can be turned on/off at two different switch locations. I'm given (from the ceiling) one black,white,red and green wires (which I know is the ground), and another set of the same wires. The ceiling light has two wires. Any thoughts on how I do this?
 
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Old 08-30-09, 08:32 AM
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We will need a little more info from you. Are the 3 way switches already in place? Was there a fixture previously installed here? What color wires are connectrd to the switches?
 
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Old 08-30-09, 08:46 AM
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Yes, the 3 way switches were already in place, and yes there was a fixture there previously. A friend came by claiming to know how to do it, but didn't do it properly. So I'm not sure how it was wired before. I'm assuming I have to check out how it is wired to the switches to determine which wires are hot?
 

Last edited by jmaier349; 08-30-09 at 08:47 AM. Reason: grammar
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Old 08-30-09, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by jmaier349 View Post
Yes, the 3 way switches were already in place, and yes there was a fixture there previously. A friend came by claiming to know how to do it, but didn't do it properly. So I'm not sure how it was wired before. I'm assuming I have to check out how it is wired to the switches to determine which wires are hot?
Need to know the color of the common (dark colored screw) and travelers at each switch box. Also if there is a two conductor cable at either switch box.
 
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Old 08-30-09, 01:35 PM
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I checked out the wires on the two switches.
The first switch:

right side: red wire on top, black on bottom
left side: black wire

The second switch:
right side: red wire on top, black on bottom
left side: white wire
 
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Old 08-30-09, 02:00 PM
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Hate to send you back again, but. Left, right and top and bottom mean nothing. We would need to know screw colors.

On a 3way switch you should have 1 odd colored screw, most likely black, and 2, commonly brass.
 
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Old 08-30-09, 02:14 PM
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Is there only the single three conductor cable in each box? From your description I believe the 2-conductor cable is at the light. Just want to be sure.
 
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Old 08-31-09, 04:05 AM
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I checked out the screws, both black cables are connected to the dark screws.

Ray - There are two conductor cables coming out of the ceiling. Not sure if that's what you meant though.
 
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Old 08-31-09, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by jmaier349 View Post
I checked out the screws, both black cables are connected to the dark screws.

Ray - There are two conductor cables coming out of the ceiling. Not sure if that's what you meant though.
Ok very good.

At the light the black of the two conductor cable is connected to the black of one of the three conductor cables.

The black of the other 3-conductor cable is connected to the black of the light.

The white of the 2-conductor cable is connected to the white of the light.

The reds of the 3-conductor cable connected to each other.

Whites of the 3-conductor cable connected together. >>The whites of the 3-conductor cable should be remarked blue or any color but white or green or black.<<

Notes. It doesn't mater which 3-conductor cable goes to the light. If you have more then one 2-conductor cable at the light stop and post back.
 
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Old 08-31-09, 07:30 AM
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the ceiling light only has two brown wires and a ground wire.
 
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Old 08-31-09, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by jmaier349 View Post
the ceiling light only has two brown wires and a ground wire.
Ok sorry about that but originally you wrote:
I'm given (from the ceiling) one black,white,red and green wires (which I know is the ground), and another set of the same wires. The ceiling light has two wires. Any thoughts on how I do this?
And I thought you meant had two pair of three conductor cables plus the two wires of the light at the ceiling. Are you in the USA. If not we are going to have to start over. Are the wires really brown. Do they look like lamp cord?

OK. Now I am confused. If you have only three wires at each switch and two at the light this can't work. Before we go further have you tried just hooking the light to the two wires. Does it work?
 
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Old 08-31-09, 08:27 AM
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Sorry for all the confusion Ray, I do appreciate your time. I would buy you a beer for all the trouble.

The wires were already hooked up to both switch locations. 4 total wires including the ground wire on each switch (two switches, 4 per switch, 8 total wires)

The other end of those wires are coming out of the ceiling ( 8 total wires) One set has black, red, white, green, from one switch and another set from the other switch. I need to hook those up to the ceiling light.

The ceiling light as only 3 wires. Two brown (literally brown color) cheap quality it seems, similiar to a lamp wire, and one ground wire.
 
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Old 08-31-09, 09:15 AM
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First when I refer to wires I do not count the ground wires. Sorry for the confusion. So that we are clear based on what you wrote You have three wires plus ground at each switch and six wires and two grounds plus the light's wires at the ceiling. Is that correct? Can you post pictures to Photobucket, Flikr or Imageshack.us?
 
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Old 08-31-09, 09:23 AM
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Yes, that's right. At the ceiling, the 6 colored wires, and two brown wires that came with the light. I'm at work at the moment so I can't get a pic.
 
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Old 08-31-09, 09:33 AM
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For this to work you need to get power from some where. That is a hot wire and a neutral. You don't have enough wires for this to work. Did it ever work?




 

Last edited by ray2047; 08-31-09 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 08-31-09, 10:37 AM
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Nice,

Yes , the diagram is 100% accurate.

The light did work, BUT, if the one switch was in the off position, the other switch wouldn't be able to turn on the light.
 
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Old 08-31-09, 10:52 AM
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The light did work, BUT, if the one switch was in the off position, the other switch wouldn't be able to turn on the light.
OK. The circuit is wired wrong. You can not get it to work correctly from two locations without adding to the wiring. We can get it to work as a light that is controlled from one location with out adding wire..

Let us know what you want to do and we will proceed from there. You will need an analog multimeter or test light or Wiggins (solenoid) voltage tester.
 
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