Troubleshooting Light Switch Wiring
By Dave Rongey - Summary:|
How Can I Wire Two Light Switches to Control One Light Fixture? The Key to Wiring Light Switches, Three Way Switches and Four Way Switches.
Guide to Wiring Light Switches
- I am trying to wire two light switches in my living room to operate one light.
- I would like to wire the switches to control one light but the switches aren’t working right.
- One light switch contains a 3-wire with ground wire cable.
- The other light switch contains one 3-wire with ground wire and one 2-wire cable with ground wire.
- I have two identical switches that are the single gang 3-way type which have a common connection and two brass screws I’m calling T1 and T2.
I have wired the lights as follows:
- Light switch one – C = black wire , T1 = white, T2 = red (ground to ground terminal in box)
- Light switch two – C = black (from 3-wire & ground cable), T1 = red (from 2-wire & ground cable) & black, T2 = white (from 2-wire & ground cable) & black (ground to ground terminal in box).
- The light is on but the switches aren’t working as they should. Can you please tell me where I’m going wrong?
Background: Stephanie, a Homeowner from Los Angeles, California.
Thanks for your electrical question Stephanie.
How to Fix Light Switch Wiring and Three Way Switches
Application: Electrical Wiring for 3-Way Light Switches.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools.
Precaution: Identify the lighting circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing or modifying 3-way switch wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
Materials: Make sure replacement 3-way light switches have the same amperage and voltage rating as the original three way light switch, and is the switch is fully compatible with the electrical circuit, the light fixture and the type of light bulbs being used.
The Key to Wiring Light Switches, Three Way Switches and Four Way Switches
- Testing Light Switch Wiring:
- Use caution while testing light switch wiring while the light circuit power is turned on.
- Testing to identify light switch wiring may involve using a voltage tester while the light circuit power is on, or a continuity tester or ohm meter while the power is turned off.
- The key for wiring all light switches is to identify where the incoming power is found within the light switch circuit wiring.
- Next, identify the wiring leading to the light fixture.
- If two three way switches are used then the wiring between the two three way switches must be identified.
- If there is one or more four way switches you will notice that they are typically wired in between the two three way switches and each pair of screw connections of the four way switch are connected to the wires that are connected to the pair of traveler wires that are connected at the bottom brass screws of the two three way switches.
- Once the location of the power source and light fixture wires have been identified then it is very helpful to follow the wiring connections as shown on the wiring diagrams that I have provided links to which are found below:
- Electrical Wiring Diagrams
- Home electrical wiring diagrams are an important tool for completing your electrical projects.
- An electrical wiring diagram can be as simple as a diagram showing how to install a new switch in your hallway, or as complex as the complete electrical blueprint for your new home or home improvement project.
More about Wiring Light Switches
For more information about Light Switch Wiring
Light Switch Wiring
- Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1
- Fully explained pictures and wiring diagrams about wiring light switches describing the most common switches starting with photo diagram 1.
- Troubleshooting Electrical Wiring Problems
- Licensed Electrician Reveals the Secrets of Successful Electrical Troubleshooting Methods used to solve the majority of the home electrical problems and wiring failures encountered.
- Electrical testers enable you to identify electrical circuits and help prevent the possibility of accidental electrical shock.