3-way switch configuration advice

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by beekerc, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. beekerc

    beekerc IT Consultant / Network Engineer

    Messages:
    94
    Location:
    Seattle
    not sure if it's possible. i'm trying to arrange a 3-way switch configuration with multiple lights. the lights are in series (so one connection to switch/power). the switches are between power and load, but (yes, this is where i run into trouble) i don't want to (or can't without an extra run of wire and drilling extra holes) pass power through both switches.

    periods (.) are place holders, still haven't figured out how to get non-breaking spaces to work and " " doesn't interpret correctly.


    ........ (14-2 wire).........................(14-2)...........(14-2)
    power ------------ 3-way switch -------- light --------- light
    ..........................|
    ..........................|
    ..........................|
    ..........................|
    ..........................| (14-3 wire)
    ..........................|
    ..........................|
    ..........................|
    ..........................|
    ...................3-way switch

    can this even be done with single wire runs?

    or would it have to be something like

    ..........(14-2 wire)
    power ------------ 3-way switch
    ..........................|
    ..........................| (14-3 wire)
    ..........................|
    ..........................|
    ..........................|..(14-2)............(14-2)...........(14-2)
    ..........................+--------- light --------- light -------- light
    ..........................|
    ..........................|
    ....................3-way switch

    where
    - power black goes to first switch common
    - power white nuts to the white (first half) of the 14-3 wire then nuts to the white of the light run
    - first switch black and red are travellers to second switch
    - white wire (second half of 14-3 wire) is coded for hot and runs from the common terminal on the second switch to the black wire of the light run

    i'm hoping for the first scenario as the second would require making an extra j-box for the 3-wire to meet the 2-wire of the lighting run as i would have to divert the 3-wire run to use the built-in j-box on the recessed light, and since i don't know where that will be (cans are being installed in a drop ceiling grid so i have no clue where the lights will ultimately be), i don't know how long to make the extra runs to the lights.

    what i'm looking for is how to accomplish #1. but if #1 is impossible, confirm that #2 will work. if #2 is also off-base, let me know how i can accomplish power - switches - lights without the wire being a single linear path of power - switch - switch - light - light (the easiest of 3=ways)

    Thanks for the help
    BeekerC
  2. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
    Wow. what are you trying to do again? I dont read morse code to good.

    Draw what you have on paper, take a picture of the paper, then post the picture, it will be much easier on both of us. :)
  3. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    ?Que?

    Typical 3 way wiring.


    2 wire cable power into one sw box, 2 wire cable to lightsfrom the other box, 3 wire cable between sw boxes.

    Alternate method.

    2 wire cable power AND 2 wire cable to lights in one box, 3 wire cable between sw boxes.
  4. jar546

    jar546 In the Trades

    Messages:
    432
    Location:
    USA
    Draw it out, scan it, post it and I will draw out the wiring for you. What you are showing is not making any sense to us
  5. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    This is how 3-way switches are wired...

    [​IMG]
  6. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    This is with two lights...

    [​IMG]
  7. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    "California" 3 way with lights at both ends of run...

    [​IMG]
  8. beekerc

    beekerc IT Consultant / Network Engineer

    Messages:
    94
    Location:
    Seattle
    3-way switches

    i was about to put together a quick visio and thought i'd check the posts. i think billy-bob's #6 post, while not exactly what i'm looking for, will probably be the easiest to implement with a minimal amount of extra wiring. not exactly what i was shooting for, but the more i researched 3-way circuit diagrams, i'm not so sure that what I wanted to do i possible, and this configuration does the job.

    many thanks to all, esp. billy-bob.
    and, point taken, next time i'll visio it and attach the jpg.

    BeekerC
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