How to Correct 3-Way Switch Wiring
How are lights wired for three way switches? Wire Configuration for 3-Way Switches.
Wiring Three Way Switches
- I have installed overhead lighting in my family room.
- I ran a three wire cable from the the first overhead connected in series to a 3-way switch by my sliding door.
- The other 3-way switch is by the entrance to the room.
- I have identified the traveler, the live, the common, and the ground on the 3 way switch.
- When I tried to connect the three wire from the overhead to the slider switch, the lights work, but when I use the switch by the entrance, it blows the circuit breaker.
- The three wire cable has a ground, a common white, and a live black wire.
- I connected the live black to the live on the switch, the ground to the ground, but when I connect the common to the switch common the lights do not work.
- Only when I connect the common wire to ground on the switch does it work from the slider switch, but blows the circuit from the other switch.
Please tell me how to connect the lights 3 wire into the three way switch.
This electrical wiring question came from: Stuart, a Homeowner from Marlboro, New Jersey.
See more about Home Wiring for New Jersey
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Stuart.
3-Way Switch Wiring for Light Fixtures
Wire Configuration for 3-Way Switches
- When wiring three way switches there is typically a “white wire” as part of the 3-wire cable, the ground is assumed. The white wire is typically used for 3-way switching, however the “Neutral” conductor of the light circuit which is normally the “white wire” is NOT connected to the white wire that is used for 3-way switching.
- This is why the white wire should be identified with black electrical tape or black permanent marker when use for any switch wiring to prevent confusion. The two wires that are used as travelers and connected to the bottom brass colored pair of screws on the switches are not configuration sensitive.
- The “Point” or Dark colored screw at the other end of the switch will need to be connected correctly. A lot of instructions refer to this screw as the “Common” which can be confused with the “Neutral” which is sometimes referred to a the common wire.
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