Hookup 3 way switch

This page describes how to use 3-way and 4-way switches to control lights from two or more locations. This is the first of several related pages explaining how to control lights with multiple switches. Click here for an overview of all these pages. A light or lights can be controlled by more than one switch. The usual practice in home construction is to use 3-way switches. A 3-way switch is shown below.

Tutorial: How 3-way and 4-way switch circuits work

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link and will create a new password via email. Before you begin anything with a three-way, you must understand that in order for you to have a three-way circuit you must have three-way switches. They are not the same as a regular switch at all. And a four-way is very different again. You just need to overcome all those extra wires.

Look at the diagram below. These are the extra ones. But wait, your 3-way switch has two extra screws. So basically, you just need to add those wires to those screws and both switches. However on each 3-way switch, you have a black screw, this is the special one. On the power coming in from the panel, you would connect that black wire to the one black screw. And on the other switch, you would connect the black wire coming from the light to that black screw.

You connect all white wires together in each box. But of course, the light itself will need that white wire neutral to power up. All grounds are tied together and connected to each switch in the box it is in. Old setup up can be a little tricky via chat. There are 9 ways to wire a 3 way. I like your 3 way switch but mu has 3 black wires… How do wire that after getting a 3 way switch and wire.

My mai. Issue is the wiring of the ols switch. Where am changing it to 3 way switch…thank u for your help. Thank you. Funny thing I was changing things on my site the same time you commented on this. They look good to me. I hope they are ok now? Yes three ways switches on both ends. There are a few ways to wire a three way.

Not just the way I show. Use the question section to where you can post pictures. In my garage, power comes into a junction box in the middle of the garage. From that junction box a cable goes to the front of the garage where the switch is, another cable goes towards the back of the garage with several outlets daisy chained. These are what our shop lights plug into. The switch turns the outlets on and off. I wanted to add a switch to the back of the garage where the door goes into the house so I can turn the lights on when i enter the garage from the house.

If I replace the current switch to a 3 way, I understand I would need to connect the two 3 way switches with It makes sense to me how to wire the switch in the new location, but what about the switch in the old location—it does not have power coming in one way and going to a light. Will I need to connect both black and both whites to the terminals the ones coming from the junction box and the ones going to the 2nd switch? Thank you so much for pointing that out.

I have fixed that. Dominick — Thank you for the diagrams. One minor correction: In the top diagram — the diagram where the switches are labelled S1 and S2 — the wiring to the bulb is backwards. For safety, the hot wire should always go to the tip of the bulb, and the neutral to the threads of the bulb. I bought the switch yesterday from Lowes. I will proceed with connecting my High to the dark screw, since you have seen this before.

Thank you for your response and video. That would really depend. And how old your switch is. I remember seeing some funky older switches before. My three way switch has the dark screw common across from a traveler and the other traveler at the bottom of the switch where the common is in your illustration. Is this a difference in brands of switches? Each light would just come off of each other. But watch this video. It should help. Hi Dominick, How would I wire 2 lights to 2 3 way switches?

I have a light at the top of the stairs and a light at the bottom of the stairs. So i want to put a switch at the bottom of the stairs and at the top of the stairs. A led as you know uses very little electric and just a little will give it some light. First make sure you wired the light correctly. Meaning the hot is on the hot side. Try switching them around maybe.

And make sure if you have a ground on the fixture that it is connected. Dominick, I understand the basic wiring for a 3-way switch and your video helps to reinforce my understanding. My wife asked me to install new LED fixtures in the hallway. One is on a separate 2-way switch works fine and the other is connected to 3-way switches. The power seems to be coming into the light and running into the switches.

Any ideas? Would using 2 different switches matter? One is a reg switch on off and the other is a toggle. Would this make it not work right? However watch my 3 way and 4 way switch videos. Dominick, my son thought he would help out in replacing the old fashioned up-down toggle on-off wall switches to the new fancy large fascia switches. Here in lies the problem. He and his mom went and bought the wrong type switch.

After burning up a few circuit breakers I put a stop to their effort as I was afraid they could have done worse. When I went back to try and re-install the original switches till I get the correct ones, I noticed the wiring to be different and am trying to figure out the proper way of re-connecting the wires to the on-off switches. The circuit to the hallway uses 2 red wires and 1 black wire. The circuit to the staircase uses two red and two black wires. In both circuits there are no white wires connected to any of the switches.

Your help would be immensely appreciated. Thanks, George. Great video and diagrams! Thanks man! Basically my problem at the moment…a wall was removed that had a 3 way switch on it, and the wire is in the attic now, but still attached to the other switch in the hall it controls light on fan, and single pole in same gang box controls fan. The two switches in hallway were interconnected from a source receptacle.

I would like to get power back to the switch from the attic…my question is this, if I jump into a existing box in attic and only have black and white leads to connect to for power, what happens to my red wire going to the switch. Yeah sure it makes sense. However it will stilled be wire from the switches the same way. But in this video I only show one of the ways to wire a 3 way.

Enjoyed your video on the three way switch. Where I am still confused is….. I mean, if there is the switch…then the light…. Need to know more. Where is the light? I enjoy your movies, and the way you explain things. However, take both switches out. What wires do you have in the other box?

Looking for a 3 way switch wiring diagram? Here are a few that may be of interest . How to wire 3-way switches using NM (Romex) cable with wiring diagrams included.

Definitions of terms: The hot wire from the breaker usually black Neutral: The return wire for circuits usually white Load: The wire that will be hot when the circuit is completed to your light usually black Traveler:

Dan has been a licensed journey-level electrician for some 17 years. He has extensive experience in most areas of the electrical trade.

Three-way switches require a three-wire cable: The cable should also have a ground wire, or a total of four wires in the cable.

Wiring a Three-Way Switch

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link and will create a new password via email. Before you begin anything with a three-way, you must understand that in order for you to have a three-way circuit you must have three-way switches. They are not the same as a regular switch at all.

How to Wire a 3-Way Switch: Wiring Diagram

The hardest thing about wiring a three-way switch is to keep track of the common wires and the traveler wires. The common wire is the black wire from the cable that supplies power to the circuit. It is screwed to the common terminal. The traveler wires are the black and red wires from the three-wire cable that joins the two switches. These wires are screwed to the traveler terminals. Insulated screwdriver, Diagonal cutting pliers, Long-nose pliers, Wire stripper, Multipurpose tool, Cable ripper. First, turn off the power to the circuit. Bring a two-wire power cable and a three-wire cable that goes between the switches into the box. Strip the sheathing and wire insulation from both cables and all wires. Then attach the black wire from the power cable to the common screw terminal inset.

Notice that there is a 3-conductor cable coming into the first box, then a 4-conductor cable going from left box to right box, then a 3-conductor cable going from the right box to the load.

In building wiring , multiway switching is the interconnection of two or more electrical switches to control an electrical load often, but not always, lighting from more than one location. For example, this allows lighting in a hallway, stairwell or large room to be controlled from multiple locations. While a "normal" light switch needs to be only a single pole, single throw SPST switch, multiway switching requires the use of switches that have one or more additional contacts and two or more wires must be run between the switches. When the load is controlled from only two points, single pole, double throw SPDT switches are used.

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Here's how to swap outdated three-way light switches for something much better. Don't put up with old three-way light switches like this. Swap them out for something new and improved. Archaic light switches might as well be from the stone age. All they do is turn a light on and off. They can't dim lighting gently or remember the brightness level you prefer. Outdated switches don't play nicely with LED bulbs either. The solution? Swap them for modern switches. This guide will take you through the steps of replacing those aging three-way light switches with updated wall controls. This process can be tricky, so read through the steps before you start your project.

Multiway switching

Now in the diagram above, The power source is coming in from the left. Notice the black wire is the only wire that we are controlling through the 2-way switch. You have an incoming hot wire black going to one screw it does not matter if you use the brass or silver screw on the side of the 2-way switch and a black wire from the other screw on the 2-way switch going to the load light, ceiling fan etc.. The white wires are wire nutted together so they can continue the circuit. Now as for the ground wire.

No longer allowed after NEC if no neutral wire in switch boxes. Line voltage enters the first 3- way switch outlet box, light fixture is located between switch boxes. There is no standard for wire colors on 3- way switch travelers. The colors will vary depending on whether NM cable or conduit was used. With NM cable, the wire colors for travelers will be black and red using 3- wire cable. With conduit, the wire colors for travelers could be any color.

By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy , Privacy Policy , and our Terms of Service. Can I connect a 3 way switch to be used as a single pole? I accidentally purchased a couple of them and only need to control one light each. Yes, you can use 3-way UK: It will work fine.

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How To Wire a 4-way Switch
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