Adding a single light to a dual switch light system

I have a switch in the foyer and another at the top of the stairs. Each switch can control the light above the stairs. But when I enter the garage (right at the location of the switch at the bottom of the stairs) I have no control over the garage lights. So I end up walking across the garage in the dark to turn the garage lights on. When done, I have to turn off the garage lights, then walk through the dark back to the foyer.
Here's what I want: The two existing switches stay as they are (they work great for the light above the foyer stairs). I want to add a light and switch just inside the garage door as I enter the garage from the foyer. This light and switch would be hooked into the existing system that has two switches and one light. When I enter the garage I flick a switch to turn the new light on. Then I can see my way to the other side of the garage to turn the main garage lights on.
One problem - I had someone come in to hook it up and they said that when it was hooked up 'one way' the lights went dim. When it was hooked up the 'other way' the lights didn't work. I don't know a lot about electricity but when viewing a diagram of 'two switches controlling one light' (pulled off the web) it seems to me to be impossible to do what I'm trying to do because the new second light (with third switch) would always be in serial instead of parallel to the existing light (my meager electrical knowledge says that you don't hook lights up in serial).
So was this a dumb idea? Can it only be done by running electrical wire all the way from the other side of the garage to the foyer? If on the surface of garage drywall is a conduit required? And finally, does my renovator know what he's doing (obviously not!).
Thanks in advance,
Tom Edelbrok
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I read this a couple of times and "think" what you should probably do is add a 3 way switch in the garage by the door and replace the switch across the garage with another 3 way switch. This way it will work like the switches at the top and bottom of the stairs. This will require a third wire be run between the switches called a traveler. Here is a good site that explains it better.... http://www.handymanwire.com/articles/3wayswitch.html It would probably be fairly inexpensive to just hire an electrician and have him fish all the wire inside the wall and mount the switches. As for your renovator, I think he must not be a licensed electrician if he is hooking bulbs in series!!
...Good Luck, Ross
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You could also do what I did. I bought one of those "motion sensor" switches so when I entered my garage, the light would automatically come on and stay on for whatever I program it for. It's easy to install. Just take out the old switch, put in the new one, only 2 wires. The switch must have a clear "line of sight" for it's infrared sensor so when you enter your garage, it will sense heat and motion so the light can come on.
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I like that idea....I could have used it in my last house!...Ross
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That is a cool idea I never thought of!!!

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Tom Edelbrok wrote:

Similar sound-activated switches also exist if motion-sensing does not work for your specific case.
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Your renovator doesn't have a clue. You need to leave the existing three way system alone. Add a three way switch to the new location, run a three wire cable from it to the existing switch location in the garage and replace the existing single pole switch in the garage with a three way switch. Probably best done by an electrician

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Tom Edelbrok wrote:

They did not hook it up correctly.
You need one four way switch in addition to the existing two three way stitches. The four way switch will come with instructions as to how it is wired. It may replace an existing three way, using that three way in the garage or the new one may go in the garage whatever works out easiest to wire.
The new light need to be wired in parallel with the existing light.
Note: don't ask your "someone" come back to do the wiring as they don't know enough to do it. If you don't know enough to do it yourself hire someone who does. Generally it is legal to do your own wiring work on your own single unit home, but not someone else's. You also should contact your local building people to find out what rules they have. This is really to protect you and your insurance. Keep in mind that is something goes wrong with this and it was not inspected and approved your insurance may not pay off. That could be expensive.
--
Joseph Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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Sometimes you can pull a feed from a 3 way switch box and sometimes you can't. It depends on the initial source of the power to the circuit.
What you can do is add a wireless switch to the garage lights. When you are there is works like a normal switch but you can mount a remote on the wall by the stair doors. This works on the exact same principal as your garage door opener. In fact you might be able to program those extra buttons on you car remote to control the lights if you want to. Sears used to sell them. I am sure a lot of places do.
Here's the only web link I could find quickly:
http://www.onestopshopcatalog.com/home-catalog-electrical-accessories-wireless-light-switches.html
These prices seemed a little on the high side. Shop a little before you buy.
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Radio Shack sells a wireless remote switch. Plug a receiver into a wall outlet, fixture into the receiver. Just press the remote switch (similar to a car remote) to turn the fixture off/on. Find a way to connect any light to the receiver--and it will work just fine. MLD

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