How do i hook up a three way switch

Wiring a 3-Way Switch

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  • Wiring A 3 Way Switch?.

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.

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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. 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.


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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.

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.

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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. 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. Would using 2 different switches matter? One is a reg switch on off and the other is a toggle.

Help wiring a 3 way switch

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.

3 Way Switch Wiring Diagram

In both circuits there are no white wires connected to any of the switches. Your help would be immensely appreciated. Great video and diagrams! Next is a circuit with the light between the two switches, but with the panel feeding the light box. Note similar remarking to above. Any of the above can be modified to control multiple lights. Additional lights are just wired in parallel with the first, using two conductor cable.

The black should be connected to the black wire feeding the light and the white to the white wire feeding the light in all cases. Here is one example. Occasionally, someone will ask if it is possible to wire a circuit that connects panel-switch-light-light-switch.

It is, but you need to use four-conductor cable, as seen below. Generally it is cheaper to just wire the second light in parallel with the first using two-conductor cable, as shown earlier on this page.