3-way dimmer and on/off switch


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Old 12-23-15, 10:27 AM
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3-way dimmer and on/off switch

Hello,
I am wiring a new room in my basement and have most of the connections covered except this one.
This is how I have run the wire:
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I want to be able to dim & turn off/on from the first switch and simply turn off/on from the second switch.

Does that second on/off switch HAVE to be a 3-way? (from what i'm reading, the answer is yes)

This is the closest schematic I could find on the net, is this similar to what I need to do, or is it way off?
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I also stumbled onto this, which is confusing me even more:


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Any help is much appreciated!
 

Last edited by horford; 12-23-15 at 12:02 PM.
  #2  
Old 12-23-15, 01:28 PM
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AFAIK, both switches have to be 3 way. However, I don't know if the dimmer will work all the time. You may need two 3 way dimmers.
 
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Old 12-23-15, 02:21 PM
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Does that second on/off switch HAVE to be a 3-way?
Yes, the second switch needs to be a 3-way. The first can be a 3-way dimmer (or the opposite).

Your drawing is wrong. The 14-2 that goes to the lights will come from the 2nd switch, not first.

Let us know if you need specific wiring instructions.

When you flip the 2nd switch, lights will come on at the level set by dimmer.
 
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Old 12-23-15, 03:07 PM
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Here's the wiring since this comes up a lot:

14-2 source power into first switch box; 14-3 to second switch box, 14-2 up to lights from second switch box.

First box, dimmer:
Connect source neutral to 14-3 white.
Connect source hot to dimmer marked terminal/common wire.
Black and red of 14-3 are the travelers and are connected to the dimmer traveler wires.

Second box:
Connect 14-3 white to white going to lights.
Connect black and red travelers from 14-3 to the traveler terminals of switch.
Connect black to light to the switch marked terminal/common terminal.
 
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Old 12-23-15, 03:56 PM
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If you didn't mind spending a few dollars my recommendation is the Lutron Maestro line of dimmers. You could get one dimmer and a slave control. This is a good performing combination. With the Maestro line you can feed at either end and connect the lights at either end.

You can also buy three way dimmers that claim to work with a standard remote three way switch. I've found that these dimmers are tricky to wire an don't perform as expected.

The Maestro line is available in most home improvement stores and comes in standard incandescent type and electronic type for LED's.
 
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Old 12-24-15, 05:25 AM
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Thank you all for your responses.

I do have a Lutron dimmer (but not the one that uses a slave) and it does specify that it must be used with another 3 way switch (not another dimmer).

I was afraid the wiring may be backwards, it is going to be a relative pain to rewire.

Is there no way to make my first diagram work? That is, run power to the lights from the 1st switch.

One other quick question, if I rewire and make the connections like Handyone has laid out:
- If I have the on/off switch set to off, does that mean that I cannot turn the lights on with the dimmer (I will first have to turn the on/off of switch to on)?

thanks again.
 
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Old 12-24-15, 05:36 AM
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Pete (PJMax) knows more about the available dimmers.
Standard 3-way dimmers cannot be used together, one must be a switch and one a dimmer.

The only way I know to correct your wiring is to:
- use the dimmers Pete referred to, or
- Move the 14-2 feeding the lights to 2nd switch, or
- Move the source power to the far switch box (switch). This will make the dimmer the second switch and you can feed the lights from there.


-
 
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Old 12-24-15, 05:49 AM
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I don't intend to use 2 dimmers, I probably shouldn't have cluttered the conversation by bringing that up.

There is no way i'm moving the source power (basically would be a complete rewire, hehe). I'm figuring out how to move the 14-2 feeding the lights to the second switch.

Any thoughts on my last question? If I turn the on/off switch (which will be feeding the lights) to off, does that mean I can't turn them back on with the dimmer? It seems like that would be the case, and now i'm rethinking why I decided on 2 switches in the first place. This has been a learning experience for sure. I am seriously considering the Lutron Maestro dimmer/slave combo now.

thanks for your help and patience...
 

Last edited by horford; 12-24-15 at 06:11 AM.
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Old 12-24-15, 06:17 AM
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You didn't clutter, I wanted to point out that 2 standard 3-way dimmers don't work together.

You did the right thing by using 3-ways.
Both "switches" are fully functional, you can turn on and off the lights from either location.
The only thing is when you turn on the lights from the switch, they will come on according to the level set at dimmer. If they are low, you simply adjust the dimmer. You will like it.

Why a problem moving the feed to the lights? The new feed does not have to go to the same light that is currently your first light. Remove the current feed and feed the lights from the 2nd switch.

Feed the light that is easiest to get to from the 2nd switch.
 
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Old 12-24-15, 06:36 AM
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okay, that is good to know about both switches being fully functional. I think I may just stick with what I have and move the feed to the lights. It's sort of a pain because i've put up insulation on the wall where i'll have to reconfigure the wiring. Shouldn't be too much of an issue though.

I hate to beat a dead horse, but what would happen in this scenario?
- turn on lights with dimmer
- turn off lights with on/off switch
- turn lights back on with dimmer (I now understand this will work)
Now the lights are on but the on/off switch is in the off position,
Does that mean in order to turn the lights off with the on/off switch I need to first switch it to on then to off? Or, has the on/off switch's functionality now been reversed?

I think I know the answer is the functionality has been reversed, but I just want to make sure.
 
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Old 12-24-15, 07:03 AM
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3-way switches have no on-off position. The switch will vary as to whether you flip up or down, depending on last switch used to control the light.

When you move the light feed to the 2nd 3-way, be sure to remove the existing feed.
 
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Old 12-24-15, 07:30 AM
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Great, thank you Handyone and everyone else! Happy holidays.
 
 

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