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Wall switches used to control ceiling light fixtures or other fixtures come in three types. Most common is the single-pole switch , the type used to control a light fixture from a single location. For example, a long hallway or stairway might use a pair of three-way switches at each end so that lights can be turned on when approaching one end of the hall or stairway, then shut off from the other end. When used in combination with another type of switch-the four-way switch-you can arrange switches to control light fixtures from three or more locations. The name "three-way" is at first glance a little confusing.

Note connections of the ground wire.

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Click Image or here to enlarge Diagram. Option 3.

Fixture Between Two Three-Way Switches: Power Through Switch Light is controlled by two three-way switches with the light between the switches and the power first going through a switch, then to the light, and onto the second three-way switch. The ground wire is pigtailed with a wire connector at the switch boxes and the ceiling box. Grounding screws often are furnished with boxes and are green. Tip:The traveller wire goes through the light ceiling box and that the white wire is taped black between the fixture and second switch.

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Option 4. Three-wire cable with a ground wire is used for this connection. The power is routed first through the light ceiling box and then flows to the switches.

How to Wire a Basic 3-Way Switch

Tip:White neutral wire from the power source is connected directly to the light fixture. The black or hot wire is routed to a switch and then is fed back through the connections via a white wire taped with black electrician's tape to indicate that it is hot.

The traveller wires are connected at the fixture box. Option 5. End-of-Run Lights Controlled by Two Three-Way Switches These end-of-run lights are controlled by two three-way switches with a two-wire cable power source coming through the first three-way switch.

Tip:The white or neutral wire goes completely through the connection system with pigtail connections at both switches and the first light box.

3 way electrical switch hook up

Only two-wire cable with ground is needed for the boxes at the lights. Option 6. Two Three-Way Switches Control Two Lights: Power Through Light End-wired lights are controlled with two three-way switches with power routed through the light boxes to two-wire cable to the two switches.

Either way, complete these five steps for 3 way light switch wiring: Turn off the correct circuit at your electrical panel. Add an electrical box for the second three-way switch in the basement. Feed a length of type NM cable (or , if you're connecting to gauge wire) Connect the Author: The Family Handyman. The black (line) wire connects to the common terminal of the first 3-way switch. A 3-wire NM connects the traveler terminals of the first and second 3-way switch together. Traveler wires are interchangeable on each switch. The common terminal of the second 3-way switch connects to the light fixture (s). A three-way switch has at least three wires, and possibly four, depending on whether it has a ground wire. Splice the green, black and black-taped white wires to run them to Switch 2, where you connect them the same way%.

Tip:Look at how power is connected at lights: White wire taped with black electrician's tape from the nearest switch to a traveller wire that connects the second or end light, then pigtailed to the brass fixture terminal. All wire is utilized this way without waste. Option 7.

How to change/install a 3-Way Light Switch - SAFE FAST & EASY

Second switch is an end-wired or end-of-run switch. Both three-wire and two-wire cable with ground are used. Option 8. End-Wired Switches: Power Through Light Power through the lights to three-way switches has two-wire cable and ground between the light boxes and three-wire cable and ground at the switches.

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There are a number of different 3-way wiring configurations that you may come across and need to know how to wire. Are there still questions that you need answered about 3-way switches? For a really good explanation of the differences between a single-pole standard switch and a 3-way switch, check out this video where I provide a great visual demonstration. The wiring of a 3-way switch is something most DIYers are capable of doing.

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Advertise With Us. There are three screw terminals on the body of the switch, in addition to the green grounding screw. One screw, known as the commonis a darker color than the others.

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The other two screws, usually a lighter brass color, are known as the traveler terminals. At the first switch location, the feeder wire from the power source is a 2-wire cable with ground.

Hook up 3 way electrical switch. How to Wire a 3

This means that there is a black hot wire, a white neutral wire, and a bare copper grounding wire. The grounding wire is connected both to the switch using a pigtail wire, and to the second cable run passing onward to the next switch. If the switch box is metal, it also must be pigtailed to the grounding wires.

The cable run linking the two switches is made with 3-wire cable. The black and red wires are "travelers" and are connected to the traveler screw terminals on the two switches.

How to Wire a Basic 3-Way Switch. Step One: Bring the power supply in to one of the switch boxes (one hot, and one neutral), on a #14/2-wire cable. Step Two: Step Three: Step Four: Step Five. Take a closer look at a 3 way switch wiring diagram. Pick the diagram that is most like the scenario you are in and see if you can wire your switch! This might seem intimidating, but it does not have to be. With these diagrams below it will take the guess work out of wiring. Interested in a 4 Way Switch Wiring Diagram? Still looking for help? The term refers to the fact that there are three different ways the switch toggles can be arranged: both toggle levers up, both toggle levers down, or the toggle levers in opposite positions. When both toggles are up or both are down, the circuit is complete and the light fixture will be susanneill.com: Timothy Thiele.

This provides two alternate pathways for hot current to flow between the switches-this is what allows the switches to turn the lights on and off in a flexible manner. At the second switch box location, the wiring is similar to the first switch, with the traveler terminals connected to the traveler wires coming from the first switch.

However, at this second switch, the common screw terminal is connected to a black hot wire that leads onward to the light fixture.

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Once again, the white neutral wires are simply joined together, and the grounding wires are joined together with pigtails connecting the switch and to the box, if it is metal.

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