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How to re-wire 3 way switches. Every few decades I need to re-learn this. This is a reference VJO for our future selves.
1. Breaker off
2. Remove both switches
3. Physically separate wires that were connected to switches
4. Breaker on
5. Locate "Hot" wire; 120Volts, mark wire and label box "A"
6. Breaker off
7. Box "A" wire all 3 wires together
8. Breaker on
9. Box "B" locate both "Traveler" wires that have 120Volts. Mark both "Traveler" wires.
10. Box "B" wire with no voltage is "Load". Mark wire.
11. Breaker off
12. Connect "Hot" in box "A" to "common" terminal of switch
13. Connect "Load" in box "B" to "common" terminal of switch
14. Connect both "Traveler" wires to remaining terminals of switch "A" and "B"; one wire in each terminal
15. Tug test all wire connections to ensure they are properly installed
16. Breaker on and test
17. Step back, invoke the magic words "Another job, well... Done!" and give yourself a pat on the back.

As much as the 13 year old boy in me figures, it would be hilarious to like baby doll up like a Christmas tree. I'll show you how to wire up a three-way switch that is Two switches control one lighting circuit and more specifically, what to do if you got all your wires all jangled up and you're not sure which one's which I'll show you how to identify. That got ourselves a fat lady pulling on tight jeans pardon me, that's offensive Reubenesque lady pulling up her Lululemon's panel. Neutral white.

Out of the panel, we got the hot 120 Volts also known as the line. It goes into the common of the first switch. the load going to the bulb goes to the comment of the second switch. It's an extra kinky kind of three-way on account of The Travelers Here, one, two, don't eight.

No, never mind which ends connects to which and it can swap either way. What we're worried about finding is the hot and the load. They don't want to be poking around your tender bits and unknown holes. Use a chicken stick.

We got both switch A and B torn out and flopping in the breeze. We're gonna flip the breaker energize the circuit. We're gonna find which one of these is angry with. 120 Volts is going to be the hotline.

That's her, All right. We'll mark that. that's hot. We got a spare wire in here that's indicated by the diagram.

Each switch should only have three lines to it. That extra switch is for a fan control. We'll put that aside. Switch A is an entirely arbitrary label.

It could be Alpha for all we care. What we're worried about is the Box What's got the hot in it. Identify the hotline in Switch A. That means the other two are Travelers.

We will connect them up together, re-energize and that will allow us to find the load on switch. B The load being the one. What's got? No power? Danger snakes Looking to bite ya? Power Power. No power.

That's the load. Here's the trick. Now that we've identified the load and the line, they go into the common terminal of both A and B switches these fancy Uptown rigs. There is no terminal Mark common, so we've got to refer to our mixing buddy.

Manuel Emmanuel tells us three-way connect to Common to hot. There's the hot terminal and the other two wires. The Travelers They ain't fussy. Any reporting storm, You know what? I'm saying.

You just stick those in either hole. A free hole. same thing on the other end. Bob's your auntie wired up.

We'll flip the breaker, energize the circuit, and test it. It's easy to get confuddled. All these different color danger snakes. The difference you do.

Just go back to square one. Pull all the wires out and down in the doobly-doo You'll find a step by each explanation. Nope, straight from the pages of Architectural Douchebag. And then you got a gorgeous before you put it up.

By AvvE

17 thoughts on “Wire a 3 way switch reference”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jacob Sams says:

    Lol I remember 1st year……

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Richard brobeck says:

    try a 4way next time ! anyway 3way is straight forward

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Randy WL says:

    Love my radio controlled switch. Batteries overrule wire nuts and chicken sticks.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Mr 705 says:

    I can barely handle a 1 way

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars onodera says:

    Dang, I expected this video to be about controlling a single light from three switches.

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Michael Raffa says:

    Isn't that diagram wrong, or at best misleading? The switches are represented w/ two terminals on one side and one on the other. It looks like he's marking the top right on the right switch as common, but then the single terminal on the left side of the left switch as common. Googling shows that this diagram is sometimes presented with the schematic representation of the switches mirrored on both sides, which the diagram in this video seems to half/partially follow.

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars I fix it all says:

    this is kinda cool, we get to hear from the wife also!!! Its fun to hear her in the background.

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars huzudra says:

    Missed opportunity, 2 switches one bulb YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT! Alternately, AvE gets turned on in under 5 minutes.

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Nunya Beeswax says:

    Ok the Hell did she say at the end there? Last time I heard a woman sound like that……….. I got somewhat apprehensive.

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Robert Boyd says:

    I thought a 3 way switch was when you changed positions!!!!!!!!

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Mike Scherrer says:

    What happened to the E in nutral?

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Loke Laufeyson says:

    chatGPT can explain everything in 3 minutes O.o

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Schwan427 says:

    I needed something like this a few years ago when my father pulled all the switches off a Four-Way circuit… basically the same idea one more time, i think.

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars DC Electric says:

    And Now for the famous Dead ended 3-way

  15. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Michael Geale says:

    In Australia we call it a 2 way switch.
    3 way uses another, different type of mech (a 3 way, 4 pin mech) that essentially cuts the straps (travellers as you call them)

  16. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Hola! Jssdalton says:

    So what is the real lesson here? Never waste a hot load on a 3 way????

  17. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars harkbelial says:

    Only women turn of the electricity when working with wires.

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