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Adding 3 way light switch

Posted by jhschlak (My Page) on
Thu, Dec 10, 09 at 22:33

Hello,
I currently have one light switch in my kitchen that turns on our can lights in the kitchen. I would like to add another switch on the other side of the kitchen. The existing light switch is in the middle of the run; a line is coming in to the switch, another line is going up to the can lights, and a third is continuing on to a couple of outlets.

Can someone tell me if the following will work? I will change the existing kitchen light switch to a 3 way light switch, run 14-3 cable from this 3 way light switch to new 3 way light switch on other side of kitchen. Connect new light switch using 14-3 cable. Will this work?

I have a book that details the specifics about wiring up the switches, but I wanted to know if my scheme would work! Thanks alot for any help you can give.
Jeff


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Adding 3 way light switch

Yes, connect the white of the 14/3 to the black pigtail. Connect the red and black of the 14/3 to the brass terminals on the 3 way switch. Connect the black that goes to the lights to the black screw of the 3 way switch. At the new switch end, connect the white wire to the black screw and the black/ red wires to the brass screws.


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RE: Adding 3 way light switch

This is simple once you get the wire to the new switch.
I am going to skip ground wires in the description. Connect all of them together and to the switch if it has a ground screw.

Remove the two wires from the existing switch. Leave everything else alone. The wires could be both black or black and white. Might even be black and red. It doesn't matter.
Connect one wire to the common screw of your new three way switch.
Connect the other wire to the black wire to your new switch.
Connect the red and white wires to the remaining two traveler screws of the new switch.

At new switch connect the black to the common screw.
Connect the red and white wires to the remaining two traveler screws of the new switch.
It will look something like this.


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RE: Adding 3 way light switch

Thank you for the help! I appreciate it. I am going to start on this project tomorrow, if anything comes up I will let you know!

Jeff


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RE: Adding 3 way light switch

Make sure this is a 15 amp circuit. Most lighting circuits are, but I've found 20 amp CBs on some, requiring 12 gauge wiring.


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RE: Adding 3 way light switch

Well I got all the wiring done and everything connected, but I must have done something wrong. Everytime I flip one of the 3 way switches it trips the breaker. I think I have wired something wrong in the original outlet.
I had a total of 4 different sets of black/white/bare wires coming into that box (I originally said 3). Before I started messing with it, the switch was hooked up as follows: Black wire attached to lower switch screw which went directly up (to the lights or the kitchen outlets), another black wire was attached to the top switch screw (this black wire went from the switch to the pig tale of black screws) the white wires were all just pig taled together (I thought one should go to the switch?). And the grounds were all pig tailed with one going to the ground screw on the light.
So the way I have it installed now is as follows: black wires pig tailed together with one wire going to the common screw, black wire from 14-3 wire on one traveler, red wire on other traveler, white wires are all pig tailed (none going to switch). At the new switch I have black wire connected to the common screw and the white and red wires attached to the travelers. I am sure this is very confusing to whomever is reading this. Sorry!
JoeD: I tried to follow your advice, but got a little confused, Hopefully you or some can help me!
Thanks,
Jeff


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RE: Adding 3 way light switch

1. The wires on the travelers of the first switch go to the travelers of the second switch.

2. The power (black) goes on the common of the first switch.

3. The wire that goes to the black of the light goes on the common of the second switch.

4. If you only have the three wires and one cable in the second switch box the white goes on the common and is remarked black and returns the electricity to the first switch box where it hooks to the black going to the light. Also remark the white as a black line in this case..

Something to think about. The light works 'cause of a black power line from the main circuit box and a white neutral line from the same box. A switch, or two or three switches ONLY cuts the black line to turn on and off the light.

Stand back and on a piece of paper or in your head trace the path of the electricity from the main circuit breaker though the first switch and then the second and then to the light and then through the white to return to the main circuit box.

Remember that the three way switches are not on and off switches but rather either or switches. The first switch puts the load on either the top traveler or the bottom and the other switch does the same. How the switches line up determines whether the light is on or off.


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RE: Adding 3 way light switch

OK I put the white from the 14-3 line and pig tailed it with the black wires in the first switch, and left everything else the same. Now the switches do not work at all, both the common and the travelers of both switches now have power (as detected by my current tester thingy). I need to have power only on one side of each switch correct? (either the traveler has power or the common has power?)
I have tried writing things down on paper etc, just not working. All the wires in the first 3 way switch confuse me. I am very confused right now.
Jeff


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RE: Adding 3 way light switch

I found a picture that is similar to my situation, EXCEPT the power comes directly to the switch box then goes up to the light (on the left) and I am trying to add the 2nd switch on the right.
Right now I have all four black wires pigtailed together with one wire coming off of the pigtale going to the common screw. All the white wires are pigtailed together (none going to a screw), the red and black wire from the 14-3 wire are on the traveler screws. The second three way switch has the white wire on the common screw and the travelers screws have the black and red wires. Doesn't work! I don't get it!

What I don't get about the picture is the 14-2 wire coming from the light. The blacks are pigtailed and the other one (is it white or black?) is going to the common terminal. Am I doing it right, having all the black wires pigtailed with one wire from this pigtail then going to the common terminal?
Jeff

Here is a link that might be useful: 3 way light switches


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RE: Adding 3 way light switch

Hello jhschlak


Here is a fast drawing I made on how to wire up your
project adding a 3 way switch.

The wires that have BLUE on them are really WHITE WIRES.

The black & white picture of the switch with 4 wires in it
is your old single pole switch with the 2 wires from your light and the 2 power
wires Hot and Neutral. Replace this with a new 3 way switch
and Add a new 3 way switch where ever you want it


Photobucket

Hope this helps ---

Let us know how you made out with your wiring project

Have A Nice Day
Linesman


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RE: Adding 3 way light switch

Hi Linesman,
Thanks for the great drawing! From what I can see from your drawing, the black wire of the power source is separated from the rest of the black wires coming into the box (the light, the outlet, etc that were all on the same run). I have all the black wires pigtailed and then going to the common screw. What do you think?
Jeff


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RE: Adding 3 way light switch

The black from the light is seperate and comes from the common of the second switch. The black source and all other blacks can be connected EXCEPT for the black to the light. Connecting the black to the light defeats the purpose of the switc(es) which is to cut off the electricity to the light.


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RE: Adding 3 way light switch

Thanks for your reply hendricus,
I now have the 3 way switch working! I have just one more problem. I figured out which black wire was the power source, and directly attached it to the common screw. The rest of the black wires I pigtailed together. Now the light switch that is going down to my basement (on the same circuit) does not work unless I have the lights on in my kitchen. The circuit must be closed completely at my new 3 way switch. How would I remedy this? Do I pigtail it to the power source so it would always be on unless the basement switch is shutoff?

Jeff


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RE: Adding 3 way light switch

I was able to figure it out after re-reading the posts above. Thanks everybody for your help! Linesman thanks for the great drawing, I was way off until you posted that! Thanks again.

Jeff


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RE: Adding 3 way light switch

Hello jhschlak

I was looking back at this thread and saw that joed
made a drawing that is just like mine, if you used HIS it would of worked also.
The wirring is the same in both pictures.


Anyways glad you finally got your 3 way switches and light working...

Have A Nice Day
Linesman


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