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3 Way Switch Circuits

Power Source and Fixture Feed at Same Switch

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Be Aware that there is a limit by code on how many wires can be in a given size electrical box, when adding more wires to the same box you may have to install a larger and / or deeper box to allow space for more wires coming and out of the box.

Here is an article / explanation in regards to box fill calculations (on our sister website 'Wiring Done Right') 'Box Fill Calculation'

The instructions here are based on the fact that the circuit has already been wired to the configuration shown in this article and we are now making the wiring changes for onward power.

From the switch locations....

Switch 2 lacks the presence of an grounded conductor (neutral) therefore onward power is not possible from this location.

Switch 1 does have an grounded conductor present (neutral) so onward power is possible.

Switch 1 options...

Onward Always On Circuit Power...

(showing bellow the switch portion of the circuit)

Onward Always On Power

Not shown in the diagram but the onward cable also has a bare wire (equipment grounding conductor) that also must be connected to all the other bare wires at the switch electrical box.

Connection Instructions for onward cable (always on state)

* a) Using an insulated wire nut, attach / join - the white wire of onward cable + the white wire from 'circuit power supply cable' + the white wire coming from fixture (wire cable # 1).

* b) Using an insulated wire nut, attach / join - the black wire of onward cable + the black wire of 'circuit power supply cable' + the black wire coming from switch 2 (wire cable # 2).

Identification of wires in onward cable....
Black - Ungrounded conductor (hot - always on)
White - Grounded conductor (neutral)

********

Onward switched power...
(example more than one light fixture controlled by the same 3 way switches)
(showing bellow the switch portion of the circuit)

Onward Switched Power from Switch 1

Not shown in the diagram but the onward cable also has a bare wire (equipment grounding conductor) that also must be connected to all the other bare wires at the switch electrical box.

Connection Instructions for onward cable (switched)

* a) Using an insulated wire nut, attach / join - the white wire of onward cable + the white wire from 'circuit power supply cable' + the white wire coming from fixture (wire cable # 1).

* b) Using an insulated wire nut, attach / join - the black wire of onward cable  + black wire connected to common screw of switch 1 + the black wire coming from fixture (wire cable # 1).

Identification of wires in onward cable....

Black - Switched Ungrounded conductor (hot - switched)
White - Grounded conductor (neutral)

**********

Onward 'always on' &  switched power...
(showing bellow the switch portion of the circuit)

Onward Always On and Switched Power from Switch 1

Not shown in the diagram but the onward cable also has a bare wire (equipment grounding conductor) that also must be connected to all the other bare wires at the switch electrical box.

Connection Instructions for onward cable (switched & 'always on')

* a) Using an insulated wire nut, attach / join - the white wire of onward cable + the white wire from 'circuit power supply cable' + the white wire coming from fixture (wire cable # 1).

* b) Using an insulated wire nut, attach / join - the black wire of onward cable  + black wire connected to common screw of switch 1 + the black wire coming from fixture (wire cable # 1).

* c) Using an insulated wire nut, attach / join - the red wire of onward cable  + the black wire from 'circuit power supply cable' + the black wire coming from switch 2.

Identification of wires in onward cable....

Black - Switched Ungrounded conductor (hot - switched)
Red - Ungrounded conductor (hot - always on)
White - Grounded conductor (neutral)

*********

From the fixture location...

At the fixture location only switched onward power is available.
(showing bellow the fixture portion of the circuit)

Onward Switched Power from Fixture

Not shown in the diagram but the onward cable also has a bare wire (equipment grounding conductor) that also must be connected to all the other bare wires at the fixture electrical box.

Connection Instructions for onward cable (switched)

* a) Using an insulated wire nut, attach / join - the white wire of onward cable + the white wire coming from switch 1 (wire cable # 1) + the white wire connected to fixture.

* b) Using an insulated wire nut, attach / join - the black wire of onward cable  + the black wire coming from switch 1 (wire cable # 1) + the black wire connected to fixture.

Identification of wires in onward cable....

Black - Switched Ungrounded conductor (hot - switched)
White - Grounded conductor (neutral)

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