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Creative wiring, is it truly a code violation? #188979 09/14/09 01:36 AM
Joined: Jul 2007
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sparkyinak Offline OP
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I just got done with a remodel where a big room that had three entries where each had a switch for the room lights (3-4-3-way switch leg). During the remodel, a wall was built so now the big room is a little smaller with only two entries. The original construction was about five years old and to code. One of the 3-ways and the 4-way were removed and kept since they were still good and I planned to reuse the 3-way where the 4-way was. The 3-way some how grew legs and walked away so I went and got a new switch and raised cover. It was not far to get one and i did not have any in my truck (I was surprised too). All said and done, getting the new switch at the store, and cover out of the truck, It is about $150 investment to replace a a good switch. This brings me to my point.

In my travels, I had an epiphiny or what I like to call, an electro-nerd moment. If a four-way was used as a three way, the switch leg would have worked fine. Would the install meet code?

You are electrical inspector. Would you pass it or red tag it? An imaginary electrician used a 4-way as a 3-way because he ran one short on a T@M job. He had a 4-way on in his truck and it is 50 miles to the nearest warehouse. He did not want to add hours to the bill just to get a switch. Please state you reasoning because this imaginary electrician will protest if you red-tag it.

I have several of these electro-nerd moments and some I actually used. If you are intersted, I and you too can post your electro-nerd moments to discuss if you are interested.


"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa
Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: Creative wiring, is it truly a code violation? [Re: sparkyinak] #188980 09/14/09 02:48 AM
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gfretwell Online Content
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I suppose you could make a 110.3(B) violation out of it but I doubt it would get a tag from me.


Greg Fretwell
Re: Creative wiring, is it truly a code violation? [Re: gfretwell] #188988 09/14/09 06:38 PM
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HotLine1 Offline
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Sparky:
If I were there for a 'final', and all the switches did what they were supposed to...I could not tell if I flipped a 3-way, or a 4-way, so it would 'pass'.



John
Re: Creative wiring, is it truly a code violation? [Re: HotLine1] #188994 09/14/09 10:02 PM
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sparkyinak Offline OP
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Good point. I did not think of that.


"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa
Re: Creative wiring, is it truly a code violation? [Re: sparkyinak] #189003 09/15/09 07:30 AM
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Texas_Ranger Offline
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In Europe actually most manufacturers quit making single pole switches and sell 3-ways for everything (and those that still do have such a negligible price difference that most electricians and retailers only stock 3-ways any more).

Years ago I remember reading somewhere on these forums though, that a 3-way is not UL listed for use as a single pole switch and thus illegal, posing a shock hazard since the unused traveler terminal becomes hot in the "off" position of the switch... on the other hand I assume anyone removing a switch cover should know enough about wiring not to touch any terminals without killing power to the circuit. I guess that's one of the classic "lawyers vs. common sense" cases wink

Re: Creative wiring, is it truly a code violation? [Re: Texas_Ranger] #189008 09/15/09 08:45 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
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Alan Belson Offline
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It was also pointed out a few years back on ECN that a UK 2-way switch is equivalent to a US 3-way switch. The 2-way and 3-way models are still available in the Legrand range in France. You have to be careful buying them in a brico, as staff and customers have a habit of throwing them into the wrong boxes. You don't find out you bought a two-way by mistake till Sunday afternoon when you discover that the difference is - the factory put nothing in the wiring port but air! Is it just me? Why do I always seem to lose the vital sales ticket for returns! mad


Wood work but can't!
Re: Creative wiring, is it truly a code violation? [Re: Alan Belson] #189058 09/17/09 07:23 PM
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Texas_Ranger Offline
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2-way and 3-way (UK nomenclature) of course (every country seems to have a different name for them, the Italians call them deviatore (something like alternating switch I guess) and invertitore (inverting switch), in German we call them Wechselschalter (alternate switch, because the power is directed to either of the traveler terminals depending on the switch position) and Kreuzschalter (cross switch, because they cross out the travelers) and so on) will be sold until some genius decides that they are no longer necessary because of latching relays, but single pole on/off switches are really hard to get by today, at least in Austria and Germany.

Re: Creative wiring, is it truly a code violation? [Re: Texas_Ranger] #189075 09/17/09 10:46 PM
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NJwirenut Offline
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Originally Posted by Texas_Ranger

Years ago I remember reading somewhere on these forums though, that a 3-way is not UL listed for use as a single pole switch and thus illegal, posing a shock hazard since the unused traveler terminal becomes hot in the "off" position of the switch... on the other hand I assume anyone removing a switch cover should know enough about wiring not to touch any terminals without killing power to the circuit. I guess that's one of the classic "lawyers vs. common sense" cases wink


I have also heard that a 3-way cannot be used as a standard switch, but as I heard it the reasoning was that a 3-way isn't marked with the ON and OFF legends on the handle.

Of course, that reasoning falls apart with Decora switches...

Last edited by NJwirenut; 09/17/09 10:47 PM.
Re: Creative wiring, is it truly a code violation? [Re: NJwirenut] #189076 09/17/09 11:33 PM
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gfretwell Online Content
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It can't be a "disconnect" without an "off" position but it can control a light.


Greg Fretwell

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