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#4835 - 10/21/01 08:59 AM 3-way switch circuit
gewarren Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/21/01
Posts: 4
Loc: Sacramento, CA USA
I've got two light fixtures BETWEEN two 3-way switches-- and 3-wire Romex running the whole way.

I ran the wire and closed up the wall before really thinking this through.

Now I can't figure out a way to make the circuit work-- other than running the two lights in series like some old Christmas tree light strand.

Anyone have an idea?

Here's what it looks like:

3-way switch---fixture---fixture---3-way switch

Thanks!

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#4836 - 10/21/01 09:37 AM Re: 3-way switch circuit
sparky66wv Offline
Member

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2339
Loc: West Virginia
Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you need one more (insulated) conductor between the lights.

Boy, that extra light makes all the difference!

I always run the 3-wires between the switch boxes and run a "switched leg" to the lights, then adding 4-ways or more lights is a piece of cake...

I've had a trim out once where the situation was the same but only with one light, and I wasn't sure I could do it correctly then without sitting down with pencil and paper first. (I didn't do the rough-in, btw)

In short, break out the drywall saw and apply the elbow grease! (Or blank plate the second light...)

240V bulbs with the series idea would work, but would create a hot screwshell...

Good luck!
_________________________
-Virgil
Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
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#4837 - 10/21/01 01:25 PM Re: 3-way switch circuit
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
240V bulbs in series? On a 120V service?

Some kind of energy-saving scheme?

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#4838 - 10/21/01 02:46 PM Re: 3-way switch circuit
sparky66wv Offline
Member

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2339
Loc: West Virginia
OOOOPPPSSS!

I meant 60V

Backwards-math syndrome again...

Thanks Paul!
_________________________
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Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
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#4839 - 10/21/01 03:04 PM Re: 3-way switch circuit
sparky Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
gewarren;
I'll give it a shot,
>feed common of switch #1
>continue noodle to screwshell of light #1
>bring hot contact of light to common of switch #2
> fish H&N to from light #1 to light #2 via 12-2 or 14-2
(whatever you've used)
> this is assuming no mettalic pipe.

>>>oh yeah, the 'travelers' B&R go from S1 to S2

You'll end up only fishin' from L#1 to L#2 and hopefully not violate the box fill.
http://www.danswiringpage.com/3way_ani.htm

[This message has been edited by sparky (edited 10-21-2001).]

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#4840 - 10/22/01 12:07 PM Re: 3-way switch circuit
bordew Offline
Member

Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 155
Loc: Vienna,Ohio, USA
Sparky
just saw the web-site for the three-ways where do you find some of these sites, the graphics are first-rate.

Gwarren
1. do the switch legs feed thru the fixtures?
2. where does the hot feed come from ?
from one of the fixtures ? or from one of the switches.
3. If it is a pre-existing set-up the travelers could be crossed at one of the swithces.

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#4841 - 10/22/01 12:19 PM Re: 3-way switch circuit
gewarren Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/21/01
Posts: 4
Loc: Sacramento, CA USA
The hot wire comes from downstairs. I've got it screwed onto the common terminal on the downstairs switch.

From there, three wires (plus ground) run to a stairway light. From the stairway light three wires (plus ground) run to a second stairway light.

From the second stairway light, three wires run to the switch at the top of the stairs. There is no power source there-- it is the end of the run.

I now realize I should have run the three wires directly between switches and run two wires to the two fixture boxes. Live and learn!

George

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#4842 - 10/22/01 01:16 PM Re: 3-way switch circuit
bordew Offline
Member

Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 155
Loc: Vienna,Ohio, USA
Not necessarily, if you bring a 3/c into the first box, the travelers feed thru to the second switch, then run a 2/c to the second light. The 3/c going to the second switch will have to remarked, the white from the first switch is already used. So make the second set of travelers white w/black tape and red for the second set of travelers and the black going to the light hot.

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#4843 - 10/22/01 10:20 PM Re: 3-way switch circuit
gewarren Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/21/01
Posts: 4
Loc: Sacramento, CA USA
Thanks to everybody for the suggestions.

Bottom line: It looks like I'm out of luck if I am not willing to open up the wall and run a new cable.

George

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#4844 - 10/23/01 09:05 AM Re: 3-way switch circuit
rbiro Offline
Member

Registered: 10/23/01
Posts: 19
Loc: Pacifica, CA USA
You may not be totally out of luck. You only need another cable between the fixtures, and if they are both in the same ceiling between two joists and there is no blocking in between, you may be able to pull it by just removing the boxes.

If that is not an option, you may be able to get your lights to work using an X-10 controller or something similiar for one of the switches. To do this, replace the upstream switch with a remotely controlled switch and wire it normally. Attach the message wire to the hot and splice it and the neutral all the way through to the other switch. Replace the other switch with an remote control for the first.

I'm sure that's as clear as mud, but if you look at the X-10 switches available, perhaps it will become clearer. I've seen an arrangement like this for old work ceiling fans.

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