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3 Way Switch Diagram


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Summary: 3 Way Switch Diagrams Fully Explained. Detailed Electrical Wiring Diagrams and Pictures assist your Home Electrical Projects.


Easy to Understand 3 Way Switch Diagrams


Three Way Switch Wiring

The Power Feed and the Switch Leg leading to the fixture(s) typically, one at each switch location, are attached to the screw terminal found at one end of the switch by itself. This terminal is usually identified by a darker colored screw.

The pair of screw terminals at the opposite end of the switch are for the pair of wires known as "travelers", (also known as "jockeys").

The "travelers" actually pass the electricity between the two 3-way switches, as well as the 4-way switches, shown in the 4-way switching wiring diagrams.


Type NM Cable Contains a Ground Conductor.
The ground conductor is required for all applications as well.

The ground conductors are always bonded together to insure the integrity of the ground path.
If you are using metal boxes, the ground conductor must be attached to each box by using a threaded ground screw or provided attachment.

The frames of the switches which have a ground screw are to be attached to the ground conductor as required.



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3-Way Switch Wiring Diagrams



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Easy To Understand
Fully Illustrated and Documented
Eight 3 Way Switches Diagram Variations

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First my easy to understand chart
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3-way-switch-wiring-chart


Instructions


3-Way Switching

Please Note: To illustrate the wiring of these 3-way switches, Switch Boxes and Fixture Boxes are not shown but are obviously required for every application. These diagrams are shown as using the Type NM Cable wiring method.

3-Way Switching provides switching from two locations


3-way-switch-diagram-1 Diagram #1 shows the electricity source starting at the left 3-way switch.
3-way-switch-diagram-2 3-way switch diagram #2 shows the electricity source starting at the fixture. The white wire of the cable going to the switch is attached to the black line in the fixture box using a wire nut. The white wire becomes the energized switch leg, as indicated by using black or red electrical tape.
3-way-switch-diagram-3 Diagram #3 shows the electricity source starting at the right 3-way switch box, the same that has the cable going to the fixture.

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Sal in New York asks about Wiring 3-Way Switches

Electrical Question:
Question on wiring, there are three switches in a 3 gang box. The switches control a ceiling fan (bathroom), a shower light and the last switch a main bathroom light. The black wires are connected to the switches, the white are all connected, the ground are all connected. There is a black wire that connects to the top screw pig tailed to each switch. Then from this box a 12/3 wire goes to a GFI outlet that has black and red connected to one GFI screw and a white to another screw. In the three gang box the original switch the red and black (pigtail) are connected together. Is this a correct way? As I am relocating the GFI and main 3 gang box to a four gang box. The four gang box will have the three switches and a GFI outlet. Do I still need the 12/3 wire as I note how it is now connected?

This electrical wiring question came from Sal, a Handyman, in Stony Point, New York.

Dave’s Answer:

Hi Sal, Great Question!

Yes, the 12/3 wire that goes to the GFCI outlet should be wired the same way inside the new 4 gang box.
All of the wiring remains the same, only the wiring will be contained inside one 4 gang box, therefore make sure to carefully mark the wires to ensure the same connections as originally found, and make sure the size of the new 4 gang box will have the space for all the wires.

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