The key to three way switch wiring depends on two main factors. These first three wiring diagrams in this series will help you identify the power feed and the switch wiring leading to the light fixture.
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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 Type-NM wiring method.
Electrical Wiring and the 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.
3-Way Light Switch Wiring
3-Way Switching provides switching from two locations
3-Way Switch Wiring Diagram #1 above, shows that the electric circuit source power is located at the left side 3-way switch box. The cable wires lead to a second 3-way switch box on the right side.
3-Way Switch Wiring Diagram #2 above, shows the electric circuit power source comes into the light fixture box.
The white wire of the cable wiring is marked with black electrical tape, and is going to the switch. The other end of this wire is connected to the black wire of the light fixture in the light fixture box. The white wire marked with black tape becomes the energized switch leg.
3-Way Switch Wiring Diagram #3 above, shows the electric circuit source power located at the right 3-way switch box, and this switch box also has the cable that goes to the light fixture.
Electrical Wiring Video #2
Electrical Wiring Tips for Home Electrical Wiring Projects
Tripping Circuit Breaker, Outlet at a Wall Switch, Light Fixture without a Ground Wire, Help with Home Electrical Wiring Projects.
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Learn more about How to Wire Outlets Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring Perfect for the Homeowner, Handyman, Electrician and Building Inspector. Includes: Methods for Home Electrical Wiring Types of Light Switches and Lighting Controls How They are Wired Wiring Diagrams for Light Switches Wiring 3-Way Switches Wiring 4-Way Switches Wiring Dimmer Switches How to Make Your Own Light Fixtures ....and much more.
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Wiring Three Way Switches – When adding additional lighting to an existing three way switch configuration, the only place the additional lights may be wired to are at the existing light fixture or to the switch box where the existing light fixture is wired to.
I have a 6 year old who is terrified to walk down the dark hallway at night to get to the bathroom. I wanted to switch out the 3-way switch for a 3-way dimmer switch so I can leave the light on but dimmed so the whole hallway is illuminated.
How Can I Add a Light Switch to the Existing Circuits? Adding Light Fixtures and a Light Switch to Existing Circuit Wiring, The Most Common Mistakes When Adding an Additional Light Switch and How to Fix Them.
Timers and Light Switch Wiring I'm trying to replace a single pole light switch with a timer light switch in a box that also has another single pole switch going to another light: How to Wire a Timer Switch for Lighting.
How To Fix Your 3-Way Switches Common Problems with 3-Way Switches and How to Fix Them: Basic Wiring Method for 3Way Switches, 3-Wire Cable Connects the Switches, Easy to Understand 3 Way Switch Diagrams.
3way switch - 1447
Wiring Light Switches
Electrical Project Skill Level:
Beginner to Intermediate.
Electrical Tools Required:
Basic Electricians Pouch of Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Depends on personal level of experience, ability to work with hand tools used for wiring switches, and the available access to the project area. Electrical Safety:
Identify the lighting circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Electric Switch Parts and Materials:
Electrical parts and materials for wiring switches should be approved for the specific project and compliant with local and national electrical codes.
Electrical Codes and Inspections:
Installing additional electrical wiring for light switches should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
This is a testing tool that is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect 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.
This is great to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring, is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets
Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency
Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included
Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect, Very handy and easy to use.
A wire stripping tool used to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets.
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