DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Electrical and Wiring > 3-Way Switch Wiring Confusion?




Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 10-21-2013, 11:49 PM  
savatreatabvr
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 46
Liked 8 Times on 6 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default 3-Way Switch Wiring Confusion?

Ok, I'm not an idiot, well I did lose some brain cells back in the day but I can't seem to grasp the 3-way switch wiring concept. I know I need a 14/3 between the switches but there are so many different schematics and diagrams on the web eventually they all start looking the same. Can someone help me out with a basic, simple diagram for hooking up two 3-way switches to three ceiling lights from existing power?



__________________
savatreatabvr is offline  
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-22-2013, 12:10 AM  
CallMeVilla
Contractor
 
CallMeVilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: San Diego
Posts: 1,309
Liked 409 Times on 319 Posts
Likes Given: 171

Default

You are probably confused by the need for traveler wires. It is not that difficult. The key is the black screw which either brings power from the main panel or sends power to the light. Once you do it, you will never have that confusion again.

Here is a somewhat simplistic video to help you:


This video is a lot better on detail and energy ...

Now ... GO wire that bad boy!


__________________

Last edited by CallMeVilla; 10-22-2013 at 12:21 AM.
CallMeVilla is offline  
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-22-2013, 12:25 AM  
nealtw
Contractor
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: vancouver, b.c.
Posts: 10,980
Liked 964 Times on 857 Posts
Likes Given: 1650

Default

So lets narrow it down a little.
Does the power first come to a switch or a light fixture?
Which would be easier. Run a 3 wire between the two switches and a seperate 2 wire to the lights, or run a 3wire to the lights and down to the other switch.
Any way you do it you just run two wire from the first light to the rest of the lights.
Once you answer these questions finding the right diagram will be easy.

__________________
nealtw is offline  
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-22-2013, 07:27 AM  
bud16415
Fixer Upper
 
bud16415's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Erie Pa, Pa
Posts: 1,375
Liked 421 Times on 329 Posts
Likes Given: 137

Default

I tried to give my take on this the other day but wasn’t successful. Before you can wire such a circuit you have to grasp the concept of how a 3 way switch works. Once you grasp that concept the circuit should explain itself. All the connect this to this and that and travelers etc won’t make the light in your head come on and that’s the first light that needs to light up.

Villa’s first youtube shows it pretty clearly.

A 3way switch isn’t an on and off switch it is a selector switch commonly called a single pole double throw. In schematic form it looks like a Y connection where power comes in the bottom of the Y and has the choice to go out one of the two tops of the Y. it never gets shut off just gets directed that’s why we use two of the switches together, connected at the tops of the Y. Think of a 3 way switch as an A/B selector switch. With two of them wired as such, A wired to A and B wired to B. When both A’s are on you have an electrical path or when both B’s are on you have a path. A&B or B&A you have no path. The wires between A,A and B,B are what they call travelers.

If you are at one end of the hall and the lights are off it means the switches are A,B or B,A and when you flip that switch it makes it A,A or B,B and that’s a complete circuit and the light comes on. When you get to the other end of the hallway you flip the other switch and it makes the A,B or B,A condition again and the light goes out.

Here is the symbol for a normal light switch a SPST single pole single throw and also a SPDT single pole double throw such as a 3 way switch.
http://www.electrostudy.com/2012/05/...-and-spdt.html

Here is how they work together as a pair.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiway_switching

Hope this helps.

__________________
bud16415 is offline  
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-22-2013, 10:12 AM  
JoeD
Contractor
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Welland, Ontario
Posts: 991
Liked 109 Times on 89 Posts
Likes Given: 4

Default

Since you have three fixtures this is the best option. Just add two more fixtures connected to the first one.
Do not try and put three fixtures between the switches. That would require a four wire cable.

__________________
JoeD is offline  
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-22-2013, 10:38 AM  
CallMeVilla
Contractor
 
CallMeVilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: San Diego
Posts: 1,309
Liked 409 Times on 319 Posts
Likes Given: 171

Default

Nice thought Joe ... I modified your pic to reflect the arrangement for one more fixture and it could just as easily be three or more ...

Switched.jpg  
__________________
CallMeVilla is offline  
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-24-2013, 09:35 AM  
savatreatabvr
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 46
Liked 8 Times on 6 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeVilla View Post
Nice thought Joe ... I modified your pic to reflect the arrangement for one more fixture and it could just as easily be three or more ...
FINALLY GOT IT!!! In a 3-way circuit as long as there is a incoming hot connected to the black screw on one 3-way switch and a black outgoing hot to the load and the red & white connected to the travelers it will work. And of course the incoming white connected to the outgoing white. My next task is getting the completed wiring in the box to look decent, it's definitely a skill all in it's own!
__________________
savatreatabvr is offline  
nealtw Likes This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-24-2013, 03:01 PM  
CallMeVilla
Contractor
 
CallMeVilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: San Diego
Posts: 1,309
Liked 409 Times on 319 Posts
Likes Given: 171

Default

In your excitement, you said "... and the red and white connected to the travelers ..." The WHITE is the neutral !

Incoming hot is BLACK
Incoming neutral is WHITE
Incoming ground is bare or GREEN
Travelers are RED and BLACK between switches
Outgoing to light is BLACK.
The neutral is WHITE, connecting ONLY to WHITE.

NOW you GOT IT!

ELECTRICIAN.jpg  
__________________
CallMeVilla is offline  
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-26-2013, 12:19 AM  
savatreatabvr
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 46
Liked 8 Times on 6 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeVilla View Post
In your excitement, you said "... and the red and white connected to the travelers ..." The WHITE is the neutral !

Incoming hot is BLACK
Incoming neutral is WHITE
Incoming ground is bare or GREEN
Travelers are RED and BLACK between switches
Outgoing to light is BLACK.
The neutral is WHITE, connecting ONLY to WHITE.

NOW you GOT IT!
LOL! Yep I'm an IDIOT! After blowing up a $30 dimmer switch I decided I'm going to figure this out if it kills me! I went to Home Depot thinking I'll pick up another dimmer but left with 2. I didn't know until I got home that those Bozos recommended the ($30 Lutron Maestro MACL-153M), those dimmer switches have a BLUE screw, ok now I'm really confused. Below is a diagram I drew hoping somebody can fill in the blanks before I blow up more dimmers!

__________________
savatreatabvr is offline  
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 10-26-2013, 12:48 AM  
CallMeVilla
Contractor
 
CallMeVilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: San Diego
Posts: 1,309
Liked 409 Times on 319 Posts
Likes Given: 171

Default

You are dealing with a multi-location dimmer option now ... Did not see that in the beginning. Here is the Lutron instructional ... Notice the DIFFERENT dimmers being used.


Is she happy yet?


__________________
CallMeVilla is offline  
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter DIY Home Repair Forum Replies Last Post
Wiring led dimmer from existing light switch condoowner Electrical and Wiring 2 04-02-2013 06:53 PM
Basic 3-wire switch wiring diagram drewdin Electrical and Wiring 11 01-19-2013 09:27 PM
Help with light/switch/2 Outlet wiring stevevz Electrical and Wiring 8 08-23-2012 08:13 AM
Wiring hookups in a three gang switch box stevevz Electrical and Wiring 2 11-30-2011 02:27 PM
1950 switch wiring Staci_25 Electrical and Wiring 7 02-03-2010 10:33 AM

Newest Threads

LATEST SPONSOR DEALS