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Wiring a 3 Way Switch
By Dave Rongey
Summary: Electrical Switches Question:
I need to convert a single pole switch to a 3 way switch. I do not have access to add a 4th wire.
How to Wire the 3Way Switch Traveler
Electrical Switches Question:
I need to convert a single pole switch to a 3 way switch.
I do not have access to add a 4th wire. Can I use the ground wire as the Traveler (Red wire) and then ground the last switch in the run to the box it is in? The power will be coming from the light. Christian.
Hi Christian - Great Electrical Repair Question!
Your thinking is very creative, however because the ground wire is most likely not insulated and because you would be interfering with the integrity of the bonding of the grounding system I advise you not to use the ground as a traveler because this could become a fire hazard. The ground wire must remain the ground wire and may not be used for any other purpose.
My recommendation is that you investigate the possibility of installing the required 3-Wire cable with a ground to get the 3-way wired correctly. A three wire cable is typically installed between the two 3-way switch locations to provide the switching using the traveler set which is not part of a single pole switch.
Here is a link to some 3-Way Switch Wiring Diagrams that should be very helpful.
Another option may be to purchase and install a set of Lutron 3-way light switches which will work very well for most any application.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wiring!The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
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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