Need help wiring 2 separate 3-way switches on the same circuit

Help Support House Repair Talk:

DillonM

Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2021
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
Ohio
I'm in U.S. Info's probably out there somewhere but haven't found it, all i can find is how to wire one 3-way switch lol

I'm just running the wires and making the connections, before i connect to the panel, my father's an electrician and is gonna come out to make sure i got it all set up right and correct any mistakes i made. I'm more experienced adding 2 wire outlets and such lol. I'm getting confused on using 14-2 and 14-3 for the switches. I know the 3 wire comon connects the two switches. but how do you set it up for two seperate switches/gangs next to each other powered by the same circuit? One side will turn on the rec room lights and one side the laundry lights. The second 3-way switches will be at the bottom of the stairs, before the lights.

A basic wiring diagram would be great, can find them all over for wiring one light but not controlling separate lights lol!
 

Sparky617

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
1,604
Reaction score
572
Location
Cary NC
Here are a few diagrams. Google Image Result for https://www.familyhandyman.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/how-to-wire-3-way-switch-1.jpg?fit=696,740

It all depends on where the power is coming into the circuit in relation to the switches and lights. There are several ways to wire them, the easiest to describe is power coming into one switch and then the next switch with the load (light or outlet) fed from the second switch. Look at the diagrams and if you still have questions post back in this thread.
 

DillonM

Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2021
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
Ohio
Sorry if i wasn't clear, I don't know the proper lingo lol! To clarify, I'm wiring 2, 3-way switches next to each other, they are going to be on the same 15A circuit, but they are switching 2 different rooms. so 2 switches at the top of the stairs, 1 wil switch the rec room, one will switch the laundry. The other 2 3 way switches will be at the bottom in the respective rooms. I know there's a difference in wiring based on where the switches are in line from the lights; It'll be like in the diagram you provided, switch, switch, light

So if i understand this correctly, I would just hook everything up like in the diagaram you provided, except i would pigtail the common black wire to power both switches? And then you wire all 3 neutrals together?
 

afjes_2016

Established Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2016
Messages
587
Reaction score
263
If I understand you correctly then yes, you take the hot incoming power, pigtail and run one pigtail to each of the 3 way "common" screws. Then you wire nut the three neutrals. BUT, you only wire nut the three neutrals together if and only if they are being powered by the same circuit which you state is the way it is being wired.
 

Sparky617

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
1,604
Reaction score
572
Location
Cary NC
If I understand you correctly then yes, you take the hot incoming power, pigtail and run one pigtail to each of the 3 way "common" screws. Then you wire nut the three neutrals. BUT, you only wire nut the three neutrals together if and only if they are being powered by the same circuit which you state is the way it is being wired.
If he's using a common hot, he needs to use the common neutral.
 

afjes_2016

Established Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2016
Messages
587
Reaction score
263
If he's using a common hot, he needs to use the common neutral.
I think this is what I said sparky617.. Or were you just reconfirming what I said?

DillonM - the term "common" used may be confusing you from our replies.

On the 3way switch there is a "common" screw. If these two 3 way switches in the same box are being fed by the same circuit then you pigtail the hot wire (the black hot incoming wire) to the two "common" screws on each of the two 3 ways switches. Because you are feeding both 3 way switches with the same circuit you can wire nut the incoming power (neutral) with the two 3 way switch set up neutrals. Of course the other 3 way switch on each setup will have wired to its "common" screw the load to the light.

What I was attempting to state in my other post is if the two 3 ways switches were on separate circuits (which of course is possible) then you would not wire nut the neutrals together.
 

ajaynejr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2011
Messages
63
Reaction score
17
Don't forget that in a 3 way switch setup, a white wire connected to a switch terminal is not a neutral (and both ends of that wire should be marked with a band of black tape or stain).

Hot and neutral accompany each other in the power cable that comes in to feed your lights or your switches. Then neutral will split off to go with the hot to each light.

If two separate cables for different light subcircuits, each with its own hot, whether or not from the same branch circuit, should come back to the same box on the other side of the room where additional switches are ganged, then you do not combine their neutrals together. So it is possible to have two bundles of white wires in their own wire nuts.

Alternatively, when planning the wiring, you can can treat each of the two 3 way setups as if the other was not there.
 
Last edited:

afjes_2016

Established Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2016
Messages
587
Reaction score
263
ajaynejr the white wire I was referring to was not on a terminal of the switch - It is in the neutral bundle..

What is a "subcircuit"? I have never heard this term.

whether or not from the same branch circuit, should come back to the same box on the other side of the room where additional switches are ganged, then you do not combine their neutrals together.
If the neutrals are from the same circuit then the neutrals can be combined if need be.

Alternatively, when planning the wiring, you can can treat each of the two 3 way setups as if the other was not there.
???? This is not making sense ???? What do you mean by this?

Ajaynejr I think the statements are confusing to DillonM as this issue as been resolved from what I can read from it.
 

Latest posts

Top