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Kevin
Kevin, Licensed Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 2948
Experience:  29 years as a Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, 5 year college Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma in Digital Electronics, Former Illinois Licensed Home Inspector
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I am trying to connect a single pole switch to feed a

Customer Question

I am trying to connect a single pole switch to feed a separate light fixture from a three way switch that has its own series of lights connected to it. How do I get juice to the single pole from the 3 way? Please use wire colors when describing the process. The 3 way has two black wires connected to the bottom two screws of 3 way switch. The white wires are bound together and the incoming red wire is attached to the top screw of the 3 way switch.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question.

1) When two 3-way switches are connected together, only one of the 3-ways will contain the hot circuit feed that terminates to the black screw. The 2 brass screws are the traveler wires. The other 3-way switch on it's black screw will be the switched loop that extends to the lights. You will need to confirm which of the 3-ways contains the hot circuit feed. I suggest using an AC voltmeter to confirm this.

2) Once you confirm which of the 3-ways contains the hot circuit feed, you will then need to make up a 6" pigtail wire of the same wire size and splice it onto the 3-way hot feed wire and the other wire will then be your hot circuit feed into the new single pole switch. Then terminate the pigtail to the black screw terminal on the 3-way. By using a pigtail connection, you now wind up with 2 hot circuit feeds.......ie...... 1 going into the 3-way and the other going to the single pole. Both switches will now reside on the same circuit.

3) In your application, the 2 blacks are the travelers and the red wire will either be the hot circuit feed or the switched loop. The red wire needs to be confirmed using an AC voltmeter or a 2 wire lead AC voltage tester.

4) Keep in mind that the single pole switch can only originate from the 3-way switch that contains the hot circuit feed and not from both 3-way switches.

Hope this helps………If you have any additional questions, let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.

The next time you have an electrical question, you can also request for me at: http://www.justanswer.com/home-improvement/expert-your-electrician ……….Thanks…………..Kevin!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is it necessary to use the red wire between the new SP switch and the existing 3 Way switch?
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

If the red wire is the hot circuit feed, then yes.

If the red wire is the switched loop that extends to the lights, then no.

Take a look at the switched loop wire color in the existing light box. If there is a red wire spliced to the existing lights, then this wire is the switched loop and is not the hot circuit feed.

I recommend to check the voltage with an AC voltmeter as this can easily confirm what the red wire is being used for. If no meter or 2 wire lead AC voltage tester available, then it becomes a trial & error method to confirm the use of the red wire:)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
HI Kevin:By the way these two switches are not in the same box so I have to jump over from the 3 way to the SP switch. Does thing change the wiring process.
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

1) 3-ways are seldom installed within the same wall box. Not sure if that is what you meant?

2) Will the new single pole be installed in the same wall box as one of the 3-ways?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

OK, thanks for confirming.

1) No the wiring process will still remain the same. The single pole switch requires a hot circuit feed. If you are tapping into one of the 3-ways to steal power from it, then only one of the 3-way switches will contain the hot circuit feed for power. Thus, locating and identifying which of the 3-ways contains the hot circuit feed will be the determining factor as to which 3-way you tap into.

2) Take a look at the diagram I've attached and notice that the 3-way switch on the right is the one that contains the hot circuit feed via the black wire on the bottom screw. The left 3-way switch is the switched loop and does nto contain a hot circuit feed as it only contains 2 travelers and the black switch loop wire extending to the light.

Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.

Thanks............Kevin:)

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