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Wiring Diagrams for 3-Way Switches
©Copyright Dave Rongey - Summary:
The Key to Wiring 3-Way Switches – The Power Feed and the Switch Leg leading to the fixture(s) typically, one at each switch location, are attached to the screw terminal found at one end of the switch by itself
Three-way switch diagrams fully explained
Electrical Wiring 3-way switches are a convenient way to operate lighting fixtures from two locations.
The Key to Wiring 3-Way Switches.
The Power Feed and the Switch Leg leading to the fixture(s) typically, one at each switch location, are attached to the screw terminal found at one end of the switch by itself. This terminal is usually identified by a darker colored screw.
The pair of screw terminals at the opposite end of the switch are for the pair of wires known as “travelers”, (also known as “jockeys”).
The “travelers” actually pass the electricity between the two 3-way switches, as well as the 4-way switches, shown in the 4-way switching wiring diagrams.
To illustrate the wiring of these 3-way switches, Switch Boxes and Fixture Boxes are not shown but are obviously required for every application. These diagrams are shown as using the Romex wiring method.
The Cable Contains a Ground Conductor
The ground conductor is required for all applications as well.
The ground conductors are always bonded together to insure the integrity of the ground path.
If you are using metal boxes, the ground conductor must be attached to each box by using a threaded ground screw or provided attachment.
The frames of the switches which have a ground screw are to be attached to the ground conductor as required.
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3-Way Switch Wiring Diagrams
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Eight 3 Way Switches Diagram Variations
First my easy to understand chart helps to identify the 3-way switch system for the application:
3-Way Switching provides switching from two locations
Diagram #1 above, shows the electricity source starting at the left 3-way switch.
3-way switch diagram #2 above, shows the electricity source starting at the fixture.
The white wire of the cable going to the switch is attached to the black line in the fixture box using a wire nut.
The white wire becomes the energized switch leg, as indicated by using black or red electrical tape.
Diagram #3 above, shows the electricity source starting at the right 3-way switch box,
the same that has the Romex wire going to the fixture.
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