3 Way Switches. Is my diagram correct?


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Old 04-23-14, 12:51 PM
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3 Way Switches. Is my diagram correct?

Hi All,
I recently installed some recessed Halo cans (H27ICAT). I installed 6 of these cans and will use the Halo LED kits.

I purchased a 3-way dimmer (Lutron Skylark SELV-303P) and a Leviton 3-way switch.

I'm wondering if my diagram is correct.

The items on the left are an existing 2 gang box. The outdoor switch is just on/off for exterior light. The outlet there was controlled by the 2nd unit in the box, but I want to have that outlet live at all times. So I'll be removing the outlet switch and installing the 3-way switch in this location.

On the right:
The dining room light already exists. It is a dimmer. I want to splice that power to the new 3-way dimmer. From this new dimmer to the recessed lights I just installed.

Thanks for any advise.
 
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Old 04-23-14, 01:33 PM
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I don't see the common marked on either switch. Am I just missing it?
 
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Old 04-23-14, 01:36 PM
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Hi Ray,
I didn't mark it. The "3 Way Dim" in the diagram is the new dimmer. It only has colored wires attached.

Red
Red/White stripe
Yellow
White
Ground

The other 3-way switch (on the left) is this:
Leviton Decora 15 Amp 3-Way Switch - White-R62-05603-2WS at The Home Depot

I'll be picking it up later.
 
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Old 04-23-14, 01:40 PM
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Oh I forgot.

In the diagram:
White(gray) = common
Black = hot
 
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Old 04-23-14, 02:40 PM
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In the diagram:
White(gray) = common
Black = hot
I believe you are confusing neutral and common. I am asking about common connection on a standard 3-way switch. A 3-way switch has two travelers (usually brass) and a common. The common is the odd colored screw, usually dark gray. Are you sure your dimmer will work with a standard 3-way? Can you post a link to the manual?
 

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Old 04-23-14, 08:18 PM
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When you draw diagrams..... leave the grounds out. They are understood.
Your wiring diagram does not look correct.

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Old 04-24-14, 09:30 AM
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Pjmax

PJMAX
Thanks- I think this is what I was missing...

Hot to 3-way, not dimmer... I drew this before seeing your post. I think they're the same. Mine is not as nice

The red/white stripped wire is actually the white in the 12/3. In the diagram I just stripped it.

I drew out the grounds because I'm not sure how to connect them on the 3-way side.

You can see there are 5 things to ground... can you tell me which I don't need on that side?
 
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Old 04-24-14, 11:28 AM
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Hi Ray,
I spoke with Lutron earlier today about the dimmer. The tech said he was holding a leviton 3-way (like I have). Two brass and 1 black (common) connector.

He told me to do it the same way as PJMAX.
 
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Old 04-24-14, 04:59 PM
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I meant when you draw a diagram to leave the grounds unshown but all devices need to be connected to ground.
 
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Old 04-24-14, 08:20 PM
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As has been noted before, your thinking will be clearer if you leave the grounding conductors off your diagrams.

In your latest diagram you show the ungrounded (hot) and the grounded (neutral) conductors from the panel connected to the switch for the outdoor light. That will create a dead short when that switch is closed (turned on). It should trip the circuit breaker.

It will not turn the light on. To do that you need to have the incoming ungrounded conductor and the outgoing ungrounded conductor (to the light) connected to that switch. The incoming and outgoing grounded conductors get spliced together to go on to the box where the light is mounted.
 
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Old 04-25-14, 05:59 AM
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Grounds?

I was able to get everything sorted out last night. But the cables from my panel don't have a ground wire in them. They have a black jacket, but feels like cloth. No ground cable.

Is the jacket itself, the ground?
 
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Old 04-25-14, 06:35 AM
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No, the jacket is not a ground. This is older ungrounded NM cable. Cables without grounds by code can not be extended. It is not code compliant to use your current power in cable for this if it has no ground. You need to run new cable from your breaker box or run a ground wire from the breaker box. Cable to your lights and between the should also be grounded.
 
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Old 04-25-14, 06:49 AM
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Running new NM cable to this location is a bit complicated. I'd run it through my basement, but it is a finished basement. It involves opening lots of walls and ceilings.

Am I looking at a possible issue by doing what I did, even though it may not be to code?
 
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Old 04-25-14, 06:50 AM
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the cables from my panel don't have a ground wire in them. They have a black jacket, but feels like cloth. No ground cable.
It sounds like you're describing early Type NM cables with no grounding conductor, or wire, in them. If so, then no, you don't have a grounding conductor in the branch circuit feeds from your panel.

When was your home built?

Tech note: Circuits that do not have a grounding conductor run with them cannot be extended in compliance with the code that is currently adopted in most jurisdictions.

There are three options available for improving this situation:
  1. Replace the home run cables with new cabling that includes a grounding conductor,
  2. Run a new, separate grounding conductor from the panel to each outlet fed with the older cabling, or
  3. Replace the first receptacle in each string of receptacles with a GFCI receptacle and wire it to protect the rest of the receptacles in that string (or replace the circuit breaker with a GFCI circuit breaker).
Until one of these options has been implemented, none of your circuits can be extended and all receptacles must be 2-slot only - no 3-slot receptacles. Choosing the third option will provide the life safety protection that the grounding system provides and allow the installation of 3-slot receptacles. But it will not allow the extension of a circuit and, if the GFCI protection is installed in the panel, that complicates the installation of AFCI protection. Either of the first two options is considered a full upgrade and will allow both 3-slot receptacles and the extension of existing circuits.
 
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Old 04-25-14, 06:55 AM
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Am I looking at a possible issue by doing what I did, even though it may not be to code?
Yes. The "code" is a set of minimum life-safety requirements. Installations that do not comply with the adopted code are likely to create, and present, hazards to life and property.

The obvious one in this case is the hazard of being shocked.
 
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Old 04-25-14, 07:04 AM
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Hazard of being shocked or fire?
What I mean is that this has already been extended to our converted garage. I haven't had any shocks as of yet in the home (moved in a year ago).

What I see is from the panel to the outdoor light. Outdoor light down to the switch using black cable. There is also a red cable, which looks like a hot wire. Which feeds an outlet and goes to my converted garage.

This is where the 3-way switch is located. The 3-way switch pulls power from a different circuit.
This circuit has the same old nm cable. No ground. This is where I extended the lights off.

I just want to make sure my home doesn't burn down!
 
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Old 04-25-14, 08:36 AM
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No not likely burn down but slightly more likely to kill you.
 
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Old 04-25-14, 08:41 AM
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I just want to make sure my home doesn't burn down!
The best way to do that is to upgrade your electrical system to current standards, including arc-fault (AFCI) protection.

The best way to avoid shocks is to upgrade your electrical system to current standards including a bonded grounding conductor and a complete grounding electrode conductor.

I haven't had any shocks as of yet in the home (moved in a year ago).
The fact that no one has been shocked doesn't mean that the hazard doesn't exist. New occupancy is often a good time to make upgrades but any time will work.

When was your home built?
 
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Old 04-25-14, 08:43 AM
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When you say "SHOCK" you don't mean like a static shock... you mean like full blown electrical shock?
 
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Old 04-25-14, 08:46 AM
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Yep................................................
 
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Old 04-25-14, 08:55 AM
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The home was built in 1954.

One thing I'm confused about. Using an outlet tester I've seen the tester say that they are grounded. If I remove the outlet covers in my converted garage there are ground cables.

the only place I don't see grounds are in that outlet on the diagram and in the lighting switch boxes. Neither of them. Do lighting switches need to be grounded like outlets?
 
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Old 04-25-14, 10:00 AM
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the only place I don't see grounds are in that outlet on the diagram and in the lighting switch boxes. Neither of them. Do lighting switches need to be grounded like outlets?
A light switch is mounted in an outlet. So is a receptacle. Both need to be supplied with and bonded to a grounding conductor.

Some (but not all) receptacles require GFCI protection. Lighting devices do not. AFCI protection is requires for most of the circuits serving the interior of your home.

Using an outlet tester I've seen the tester say that they are grounded. If I remove the outlet covers in my converted garage there are ground cables.
There may be ground wires but there are not any ground cables. Those circuits and receptacles appear to be grounded.

The home was built in 1954.
That explains the 2-wire cables. How do you know that these extend from your main service panel? Have you opened it and inspected all of the cables entering it?
 
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Old 04-25-14, 10:43 AM
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Those circuits and receptacles appear to be grounded....The home was built in 1954.
Those testers can be wrong. Given the type of NM in your picture I'd suspect a bootleg ground* till every box was opened and checked.

*Bootleg ground: An unsafe condition where the ground is tied to the neutral. Often done to pass a home inspection since it will fool a receptacle tester or just done out of ignorance.
 
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Old 04-25-14, 11:16 AM
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Is there a way to tell if a ground is actually grounded? Any test I can do?
 
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Old 04-25-14, 12:39 PM
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Is there a way to tell if a ground is actually grounded? Any test I can do?
Use a multimeter set to more than 120VAC to test, on disconnected wires, from hot-to-neutral and hot-to-ground. You should see 120V on each test.
 
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Old 04-25-14, 12:55 PM
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But the bootleg ground I mentioned is found by visually checking each connection.
 
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Old 04-25-14, 01:11 PM
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I can open a few outlets to check if any grounds are tied to neutrals.

But that doesn't tell me if it is really grounded. Meaning there could be a ground in a box I look at, but it isn't really grounded at the panel.
 
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Old 04-25-14, 02:23 PM
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But that doesn't tell me if it is really grounded.
Using the meter will tell you if a bare wire that has been disconnected is a ground. If two bare wires only one may show ground. That is normal. However it won't tell you if it is a bootleg ground. That is why you need to open all boxes so you are sure you aren't reading a bootleg ground. Do you have an analog, not digital, multimeter? If not buy a cheap ($8-$15) analog multimeter.
 
 

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