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Here's how to swap outdated three-way light switches for something much better.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.
In some cases, it might be best -- and safest -- to contact an electrician. The most basic three-way switch setup has two switches that connect and control one light fixture, like switches on either end of a hallway, staircase or large living area. In most cases the light or array of lights they operate sit on the ceiling above. Specifically these are hard wired lights, not merely lamps plugged into outlets. You won't need many tools for this job.
The necessary supplies though are critical so make sure you have them on hand. Here's the list:. Safety should be a priority with this project and that starts with killing power to your outlets.
Before you do anything, switch off the breaker on your main electrical panel. Now it's time to get at your wiring. There is often a pair of screws holding each faceplate in place, at the top and bottom.
Unscrew these screws then remove the plates covering each switch. A common practice is to wrap switch terminals with electrical tape once their wires are connected.
In my case, the old switches had exposed terminals so I made a mental note to tape them later. Just to be safe, use a voltage pen to check for a live current.
With your voltage pen turned on, tap the edges of the switch. If the pen starts to flash and sound its alarm then watch out! There's likely high voltage volts electricity running nearby. Of course if you need to measure the actual voltage of live wires, a multimeter is the way to go. This gadget can sniff out voltage and amperage of electrical circuits, components and connections. Learning to use this tool is a valuable skill.
Hook up 3 way electrical switch
Once your pen gives the all clear you can proceed. If not you'll have to switch more breakers off at the main panel until the warnings stop. Next, remove the screws that hold the old switches in place. They're in tabs on the top and bottom of each switch.
The screws also bore into holes on the electrical box behind them. To access the wiring, gently pull the switches out of the electrical boxes.
Be careful not to dislodge any wires from the switch terminals -- the wires should still be firmly attached to the screws on the switch holding them in place.
Before you dive in, take a second to snap a picture of the switches and visible wiring. In fact, take photos before and after you tinker with anything.
This way, you'll have a record of how everything was connected and working properly initially. Think of it as extra insurance in case you run into trouble along the way.
You should now have a good view inside each box. I must stress that there are many possible ways a set of three-way light switches can be connected.
Wiring a 3-way Switch, I Will Show You How To Wire A 3-Way Switch Circuit and Page where I discuss the terms used for the different types of home electrical switches. Be sure to attach a bare copper wire to the green screw on the switch . How to replace your old, outdated 3-way light switches. Here's how to Don't put up with old three-way light switches like this. Swap them . Here, both wire bundles should enter the electrical box from its top side. Besides. Keep reading and learn how to wire a light switch and also use the 3 way switch wiring 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 .
This step-by-step is reflective of a common wiring scenario and the one in my own home. Inside each of the two electrical boxes you should see two bundles of wires. Let's call each box "Box 1" and "Box 2. If so then the direction wires enter each box is important. It will help you deduce their origin and ultimately identify them. Box 1. In box 1, one of the wire bundles enters the box from the bottom. This three-wire bundle should consist of two colored wires black, white plus one of bare copper.
These wires come from your home's main electrical panel usually in the basement below and provide power to your lighting circuit. The other 4-wire bundle will enter the box from the top and have three colored wires black, white, red and a copper bare one.
They connect the switch in this box to the other switch in box 2. Box 2.
Here, both wire bundles should enter the electrical box from its top side. Besides their direction of entry the wires are constructed the same way.
3 Way Switch Wiring Diagram
One three-wire bundle will have two colored wires black, white plus one of bare copper. These link the switch to your light fixture.
A second bundle four-wire should contain three colored wires black, white, red and a copper bare. The wires here connect this local switch to the other in box 1 across the room.
The wiring you see may not match what I've described. For instance, there may not be any white wires. This scenario tends to happen with switches in older homes.
One of your electrical boxes might have just one bundle of wires while the other is packed with three bundles. It isn't uncommon either to have one three-way switch in the same box as two or even three others. All those switches, terminals and wires can confuse experienced electricians, let alone novice DIYers.
How to wire 3-way switches using NM (Romex) cable with wiring diagrams included. 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. Sep 15, Looking for a 3 way switch wiring diagram? Here are a few how to install/fix a three way switch Electric House, Electric Power, Electric. Electric.
Take a look at these two diagrams below. The first is an outline of what you should see. It's the simple three-way circuit I anticipated and encountered in my home. The second drawing depicts when box 1 has three bundles of wire while box 2 has just one. Diagram 1: Here's an example of a basic three-way switch layout, the type you'll hopefully deal with in your home.
If your lighting setup doesn't jive with these two pictures, I suggest you abort the project. When the left switch is toggled, it connects to the upper circuit and now the circuit is open at the right switch which turns off the light.3 way switch wiring (Tagalog)
Toggle the right switch and it connects to the upper circuit and now closes the path and turns the light back on and so on. In my mind wiring is one thing, but to look at a diagram as the one above and understand the principle involved, that is the key to do-it-yourself house wiring. If you're simply replacing a 3-way switch, the diagrams below will show the different scenarios on how your circuit could possibly be wired.
What is common in the diagrams above and with any 3-way switch circuit is that the power hot wire coming into the circuit will always go to the common terminal of the first switch. The hot wire from light always goes to the common terminal of the second switch. The traveler wires go from switch to switch connected to the traveler terminals, it doesn't matter which. As long as you keep this in mind, a 3-way circuit becomes really simplified.
And of course the neutral will always go directly to the load. Wiring a 3-Way Switch How to wire a 3-Way switch. Wiring a 3-way switch is a little more tricky than wiring a 2-way switch.
How to replace your old, outdated 3-way light switches
First of all we need to go over a little basic terminology on switches. Go to my Switch Terminology Page where I discuss the terms used for the different types of home electrical switches.
It should also help in understanding the functions of each type of switch. Each 3-way switch in these examples are controlling the power source to the same load. When wiring a 3-way switch circuit, we will be using a 3-wire cable known as romex coming from the source such as the breaker box.
Then a 4-wire cable going between the two 3-way switches and then a 3-wire cable going from the switches to the load.