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Jason
Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3609
Experience:  Over 15 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
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Hi, I have a two way switch in the garage attached into two

Resolved Question:

Hi,
I have a two way switch in the garage attached into two reciprocals which are used for two lights in the ceiling. The garage has two doors (front and rear). Can you show me the required wiring that I need to do to make a three way switch where the light can be turned on from either door in the garage?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

Jason :

Hello. Welcome to Just Answer.

Jason :

Are you looking to get a 3 way switching circuit set up with the wires that are already in place? Or, are you planning to install more wiring to get it to work the way you want it?

Customer:

Which one is easier?

Jason :

It could get pretty confusing trying to reconfigure existing wires to make a 3 way setup. If you want it to be easier, I would install new wiring, especially if the two switches aren't terribly far apart.

Customer:

they are. The doors on opposite side of the garage (probably 25 - 30 ft)

Jason :

OK. Well, it's not a given that the wires that are already in place are sufficient to be converted to a 3 way. If they don't go from switch box to switch box, and/or if there aren't enough conductors between boxes, new wire will be required.

Jason :

Perhaps I should just post a sketch of a typical 3 way setup first, and you can look at that to determine whether the existing wiring just needs to be reconfigured.

Customer:

OK. Please show me the required new wiring that we need to do connecting the switches to two reciprocal.

Customer:

oops. reciprocals

Jason :

No problem. I just need a bit of clarification first. Are you planning to use two switches to control two outlets?

Customer:

yes

Jason :

OK, very good. It will take me about 15 minutes to get a sketch made up and posted. Will you be standing by?

Customer:

yes

Jason :

I'll get to work on it right now.

Customer:

thank you

Jason :

OK, the drawing is made. Just need to get it posted.

Jason :

A few notes about it...

Jason :

The gray lines represent the white wires, since white won't show up on your computer screen. At the outlets to the right, the red dots represent wire nuts.

Jason :

The black wire near the top of each switch represents the connection to the black screw on each switch.

Jason :

Each of your 3 way switches will have one black screw and two gold screws on them. The black screw gets the incoming constantly hot supply wire at the first switch, and the switched hot that goes up to the outlets at the second switch.

Customer:

JAson,

Customer:

The two outletss will are in-between the the way switches

Jason :

No problem. Are you thinking the new wire would be routed through the outlets to get from switch to switch? If so, I would advise against that, as it also tends to lead to confusion about connections, and makes the outlet boxes very crowded.

Customer:

Is it doable?

Jason :

Yes, you can do this project. I would just find the incoming supply at either switch box (hot black and neutral white), and use that for the supply for the new setup. Cap off any other wires in both switch boxes. Disconnect and cap off any existing wires in the outlet boxes. When running wire from switch to switch, bypass the outlet boxes with the new wire. Then, from the second switch, bring a 2 conductor plus ground wire up to the first outlet.

Customer:

Jason,

Customer:

Can you modify your sketch to connect the switch with the incoming supply to the outlets?

Jason :

I'm not sure I understand. Can you clarify?

Jason :

Both of your switches will have a constantly hot black wire feeding them. Ideally, you should check right away to see if there is a white wire in either switch box, behind the switch, spliced to a second white wire.

Customer:

As it is now, the sketch shows that the power is coming in to the switch to the left and then you connect it to the second switch at the middle and then you connect the outlets to the second switch.

Jason :

Yes. But you can relocate the devices in the sketch in any way necessary, as long as the wiring between each device stays the same.

Customer:

My request is to connect the outlets to the right switch which has the ground incoming power supply

Jason :

OK, let me see if I can flip the drawing, or redo it, if necessary. Will you be standing by?

Customer:

yes

Jason :

I have modified the drawing. However, the switches are now shown inverted from their previous orientation. The most important thing to keep in mind about the switches is the connection to the black screw on each. At one switch, the black screw gets the constantly hot black supply wire. At the second switch, the black screw gets the black wire that goes up to the first outlet.

Customer:

Jason, Is there a new drawing? I only see one which is the old one that you sent before.

Jason :

I haven't posted the new one yet, I lost it briefly. One moment please...

Customer:

This is the same picture as before, but rotated 180 degrees. Maybe what I was asking for is not doable. What I was hoping to get is to keep the current wires and somehow add only one wire from the current switch to the new switch.

Jason :

You can do that, but you'll need to abandon the wires at one of the switches. You will also need to install new wire between the two outlets. I did have to rotate the outlets in the second drawing, as flipping the orientation caused them to show up mirror image from an actual outlet face.

Customer:

It is not clear. I will follow the original plan.

Jason :

I would be happy to explain or clarify whatever isn't clear.

Customer:

No worries. You showed a good way of doing it and was trying to reduce the work that I have to do. Thank you.

Jason :

You are most welcome. I appreciate the opportunity to help. Have yourself a wonderful Saturday!

Customer:

you too. I will work on the project this weeked ISA and If I get into problems, I will come back for help.

Jason :

Very good. If you get in a bind and need followup, I'll reply ASAP.

Jason :

Hi Mel. I see that you opened a new question, related to the garage lights. I have a bit of a busy day today, as I have to go in to work for an hour or so. But I will be back home by 7:30 AM. I will be attending church from about 9 AM to noon (Eastern time), with a second service in the evening at 6 PM. However, I'm available between noon and 5:30 PM. Please reply at your convenience. Thank you.

Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3609
Experience: Over 15 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
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