How to Connect Multiple Lights Using Two Three-Way Switches

Save

Three-way switches can control lighting circuits from two locations, allowing the lights to be turned on or off from either location. Connect multiple lights in a room or hall to a pair of three-way switches to have a convenient way to control the lights when walking through an area on a regular basis. Three-way circuits are common on stairs, in halls, and in any room that can be accessed from more than one doorway.

Things You'll Need

  • Available 15-amp circuit on breaker panel
  • Multimeter or volt meter
  • 2 conductor plus ground electrical cable (ROMEX® 14/2)
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • Screwdrivers
  • Two 3-way switches
  • Wire nuts
  • 3 conductor plus ground electrical cable (ROMEX® 14/3)
  • Light fixtures

Connect the Circuit Panel to the Switches

  • Power down the circuit (or the main breaker if possible) before working on the electrical system. Test the circuit with a meter to ensure that no voltage is present. Inform others in the building that a circuit or the main breaker is turned off because electrical work is taking place and that it will be dangerous to turn it back on until the work is completed.

  • Run a length of the two conductor plus ground electrical cable (ROMEX® 14/2) from the circuit panel box to the nearest switch box.

  • Cut the cable about 2 feet past the circuit panel box and strip the outer insulation from the cable back to where it enters the box. Connect the bare copper or green wire to one of the grounding lugs on the panel box. Attach the white wire to the neutral bar. Connect the black wire to the terminal on the circuit breaker that is to control the circuit and label it as a lighting circuit.

  • Cut the cable about 6 inches past the box on the switch end and strip the outer insulation from the cable back to where it enters the box. Strip about a half-inch of insulation from the end of each conductor. Connect the black wire to the darker "Common" terminal on the three-way switch.

  • Run a length of the three conductor plus ground electrical cable (ROMEX® 14/3) between the first switch and the second switch. Cut the cable so that about 6 inches of cable sticks out of each switch box. Strip the outer insulation from each end of the cable back to where it enters the box. Strip about a half-inch from the end of each conductor.

  • Connect the two white wires in the first switch box together using a wire nut. Connect the black wire on the cable running between the switches to one of the "Traveler" terminals (natural brass color) on each switch. Connect the black wire on the cable running between the switches to the other "Traveler" terminal (natural brass color) on each switch.

  • Cut a 6-inch length of bare copper or green conductor from some of the unused cable for each switch box that is being used, plus one for each light fixture except for the last fixture. Connect the 6-inch length of bare copper or green conductor in the first switch box to both of the bare copper or green conductors that feed into the switch box to form a three-way pigtail that is connected to the main grounding wire that comes into the box and to the one that leaves the box. Connect the pigtail to the ground lug on the switch.

Connect the Light Fixtures to the Switches

  • Run a length of the two conductor plus ground electrical cable (ROMEX® 14/2) between the second switch box and the first light fixture. Run another length between the first light fixture and the second light fixture. If additional light fixtures are used, run another length between the second and third fixture, and another between the third and fourth fixture, and continue this pattern to create a single string of fixtures. Cut each cable about six inches past the box, and strip about a half-inch of insulation from each conductor.

  • Connect the two white wires in the second switch box together using a wire nut. Connect the black wire going to the light fixture to the "Common" (darker) terminal on the three-way switch. Connect a 6-inch piece of bare copper or green conductor to the bare copper or green grounding wires to form a pigtail, and attach the pigtail to the grounding terminal (green) on the three-way switch.

  • Connect the black wire in the first light fixture to one of the terminals on the light fixture. Connect a 6-inch piece of bare copper or green conductor to the bare copper or green grounding wires to form a pigtail, and attach the pigtail to the grounding terminal (green) on the light fixture. Connect the other black wire in the first light fixture to the other black wire leading to the second light fixture. Wire all additional light fixtures this same way except for the final one on the circuit.

  • Connect the black wire in the final light fixture to one of the terminals on the light fixture. Connect the white wire in the final light fixture to the other terminal on the light fixture. Connect the bare copper or green grounding conductor to the grounding terminal (green) on the light fixture.

  • Energize the circuit and test both switches to ensure proper wiring. Disconnect the power and secure the fixtures in place and attach the switches and covers to the fixtures.

Related Searches

References

  • Photo Credit light bulb image by David Ng from Fotolia.com
Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

Resources

You May Also Like

Related Searches

Check It Out

22 DIY Ways to Update Your Home on a Small Budget

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!