» Residential Electrical Wiring: Guide to Home Wiring
» Need Electrical Help? Get a Quick Reply! Ask the Electrician
Wiring a 3 Way Rocker Switch
By Dave Rongey
Summary: Electrical Switches Question:
A careful look at how to wire 3-way rocker switches.
How to Wire a 3Way Rocker Switch
Question about Wiring 3-Way Switches:
I have wired my three way switch the way you have shown in the 3-way switch wiring diagram and for some reason I am not getting power through to the light on one side of the switch and I'm not sure what to do about it.
Please help me. I am using the wide button rocker switches and each has a black screw in the same position and two brass screws the same as in the 3-way wiring diagram.
The switch does not work no matter what order I put the wires in.
Thank You, John R.
Hi John - Great Electrical Repair Question!
When looking at the rocker switches it is very easy to use the wrong terminal for the point or black screw, especially if you're using the push in terminals on the back.
Remember that the brass terminals are for the travelers between your two 3-way switches, the black terminals are for the power and the wire leading to the fixture.
From here I don't know which wiring scenario your actually using, where your power originates at or where your switch leg for the light fixture is located with respect to your layout
If you don't get it working, please let me know more about your wiring layout or which diagram you are using on the website.
This link will take you to the diagrams:
3-Way Switch Wiring Diagrams
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!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 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.
The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester 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.
Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use 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..
The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.
Switches Parts and Accessories
Light Switch Single Pole
3 Way Light Switch
4 Way Light Switch
Switch and Outlet Combo