3 Way Switch Wiring Variations
How to Wire Three Way Switches and 3-Way Dimmer Switches
3 Way Dimmer Switch Wiring Variations
Electrical Question: I am wiring a circuit using 3 way dimmer switches.
The power goes to the first switch, then to a number of cans in the ceiling, then to the second switch.
I pulled 12/3 as I would with a single fixture, but am confused as to how I wire the multiple fixtures, since there is not a solid traveler from the powered switch to the remote switch.
Background: Mark, a Homeowner from West Caldwell, NJ
Additional Comments: Thanks!
Dave The Electrician’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Mark.
How to Wire Three Way Switches and Dimmer Switches
Mark, you just explained the problem – the way that you have wired does not provide the necessary travelers between the 3 way switches.
Sure, you can run the travelers through the light fixtures, but this is not the ideal way.
Vital Components of Three Way Switch Wiring
- The Source of power or Power In.
- Power Out to the light fixture.
- A connecting cable between the first three way switch and the second three way switch.
- The number of wires in the connecting cable will depend on where the Power out wire is located, which may be at either three way switch, or up in the light fixture junction box.
- NOTE: Three way switches do not need a “neutral”, however the “White Wire” of the cable is typically used for switching power and should be identified with black electrical tape.
How to Wire 3-Way Dimmer Switches
3 Way Switch Wiring Explained
3 Way Switch Wiring Diagrams
3 Way Switch Diagram
In response to the requests for this information, I have developed a comprehensive,step-by-step guide designed to walk you through the identification and wiring of your 3-way switches.
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
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This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester, [amazon.com], I use for the detection of Standard Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
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