wiring a three way switch....

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by rtstephn, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. rtstephn

    rtstephn New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Hi all,

    I am building a home, and made the leap to wire it myself. So far, so good. Didn't have problems wiht rough-in or service release. But I am getting ready for my final electrical, and I just can't get a three way light to function properly! I have successfully wired several other three ways in the house, but this one is a bit different. Can this be done?:

    I have two outside lights. I have brought power into one switch. Here is the order:
    Light--(powered) switch--switch--light.

    Basically what I did was I wired the two switches together with 14-3, then I ran 14-2 from the two switches to each light. Is there a way to wire this and make it work? Which conductors should I tie in the 14-2 heading to the light fixtures?

    Thanks much!
  2. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

  3. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Pick one of the diagrams that fit yuor needs from the link above that show one light fixture. Then run 14-2 from the first fixture to the other.

    People have tried to cobble together other ways to save a wire and it either doesn't work or is not to code.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,247
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    switches

    The black hot goes to the common on first switch. The two travelers go between the two switches, and then the common of the second switch to BOTH lights. The third wire, the white, is the neutral and goes to the lights, not the switches.
  5. rtstephn

    rtstephn New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Thanks HJ,

    So then, just to make sure I got this, I need the black power going to common screw on first switch, then run the two travelors (red/black) straight to second switch. I run the black conductor running to both lights on the second switches common screw.

    What do I do wiht the white wire coming from the first switch to the second switch? I know in "normal" three way lighting I would tape the white wire black to show it can be live on the second switch. Do I do the same in this scenario as well?

    Thanks again,
  6. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    If the light is to be connected to the second switch, then the white wire of the 14-3 going between the switches is the neutral that is connected to the 14-2 going from the second switch to the first light, and from the first light to the second light. See picture at bottom of the page at the link. http://www.selfhelpandmore.com/swit...iring-power-source-fixture-feed-different.php

    If the light is to be connected to the first switch, then the white wire and the red wire are the two wires that connect the switched points of both switches and the black wire returns the power to the first switch box, from which it is connected to the light. See figure at bottom of the page at the link. http://www.selfhelpandmore.com/switch-outlet/3-way/3-way-wiring-power-fixture-same-switch.php

    The second light is connected to the first light.
  7. rtstephn

    rtstephn New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Yep, that did it....many thanks!
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