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Another 3-way switch conundrum #165902 07/07/07 10:15 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 109
Grover Offline OP
Here's the situation:

Contractor builds addition. Homeowner wires it - calls me to fix it.

At house entrance to the room - 1 gang box; 14/2 feed,
14/3 to 2 gang box on other side of room,
14/2 to light in center of room.

At outside entrance to room - 2 gang box;
14/3 from other side of room
14/2 to outside light

No feed for outside light! - need to get a feed over there! No access to attic or basement, and room is finish painted and trimmed.

I've looked at some X-10 solutions, but none seem to fit the bill. I'll end up with only one conductor available between the two boxes.

I thought there was an X-10 solution that would work as long as I had power to both modules, but can't seem to find one. Also, most of the X-10 stuff I've looked at is decora style - customer prefers "old fashioned" toggle appearance to match rest of the home.

Thanks! and appreciate your help!


Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: Another 3-way switch conundrum [Re: Grover] #165905 07/07/07 10:54 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 74
Tom H Offline
Splice thru the feed to the outdoor box, put smart switches at outside box, put a one button on/off controller at entrance to room. The one button controller just needs 110, and your switches at the door will now have power. You end up with one spare at the front door from the entrance box.

As far as toggle style stuff. I have seen x-10 switches that fit the toggle opening, just the are push buttons, not toggles. Not a big user of x-10 so some one else may have more input.

Re: Another 3-way switch conundrum [Re: Grover] #165909 07/07/07 12:02 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
LK Offline

"most of the X-10 stuff I've looked at is decora style - customer prefers "old fashioned" toggle appearance to match rest of the home."

Try smart house they have toggle style, we just installed one that the owner ordered it from smart house.

Re: Another 3-way switch conundrum [Re: Tom H] #165910 07/07/07 12:12 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 109
Grover Offline OP
Thanks Tom

What you describe is exactly how I thought of doing it, but..... Looking at the WS477 + CS277 pair, they need 2 wires to go between the modules, and I need two for the feed across the room - total of 4 - and I've only got 3.

Perhaps I'm missing something.... or picked the wrong module pair.


Re: Another 3-way switch conundrum [Re: Grover] #165911 07/07/07 12:17 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 109
Grover Offline OP
Hey LK Thanks!

Smart House or Smart Home?

Google says smarthome.... I'll keep diggin!


Re: Another 3-way switch conundrum [Re: Grover] #165915 07/07/07 04:52 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 209
HLCbuild Offline
I like Home Controls. They have a wide selection and good tech support:,0&search_id=181799

Re: Another 3-way switch conundrum [Re: HLCbuild] #165920 07/07/07 09:07 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 625
SolarPowered Offline
It's SmartHome.

I'd use Insteon instead of X-10. Insteon also comes from SmartHome.

There are plenty of conductors installed to be able to use Insteon for that configuration. (Probably X-10, as well.)

Oh, there are toggle versions of the Insteon switches.

Re: Another 3-way switch conundrum [Re: SolarPowered] #165921 07/07/07 09:12 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 860
Well homeowner stuffed up. He shouldn't have wired it up in the first place.
Who knows what other hidden secrets are waiting for you behind the walls.

I would go for capping or trunking on the wall from a healthy supply. These cappings can be painted in the same colour as the walls.

Otherwise, open up the walls and do it the correct way. It will teach the customer a lesson or just walk away from it,

The product of rotation, excitation and flux produces electricty.
Re: Another 3-way switch conundrum [Re: Grover] #165925 07/08/07 12:56 AM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 650
winnie Offline
Well, you have enough conductors to provide a feed for the outside light and to run the inside light using a 'french' three way.....

Although, if you use 2 of the conductors on the 14/3 to bring power to the second box, then you could use diodes and normal three way switches to control the room light using the third conductor. I don't know if anyone makes UL listed devices to implement this, but it is similar to a puzzle posted here a while back. I'll leave the diode configuration as an additional puzzle smile


Re: Another 3-way switch conundrum [Re: winnie] #165937 07/08/07 07:26 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline
Would there be any Code issues with using a French 3-way arrangement to control a relay rather than switching the light directly? If not, and if you could find a way to fit the relay at the single-gang box without too much disturbance, that would work.

Failing that, use the diode arrangement to switch a relay. Use two conductors of the 14/3 to take power to the far location and wire the outside light as normal.

Tap the hot to the common terminal of the 3-way, then use a diode from each remaining switch terminal commoned to the remaining wire of the 14/3. One diode should be anode to the "traveler," the other cathode. Use a similar diode arrangement at the other end then take the common of that 3-way to your relay coil.

I'll leave it to the NEC experts to come up with any code objections to this idea.

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