Hi - I'm baffled and would appreciate any and all advice. I have a 14-3
coming from the panel to a box (red/white/black/ground). at the box is a
3-way switch for a hall light, and wires for the second 3-way switch for
the othend of the hall controlling this hall light (14-2 wire).
In the first box (where the 14-3 comes into, I've run 14-2 for a ceiling
light fixture (14-2). I'm looking to put this ceiling fixture on a new
dimmer (I have a 3-way dimmer switch) but for the life of me I can't
figure out how to have this new light fixture wired separately from the
Please help!! thank you!!
You should have a 14-2 from the panel to the first device in the three
way setup ( Light Fixture(s) & 2 Three way switches and maybe 1 or more four
way switches. There is no need for the 14.3 from the panel unless the extra
hot is for something else. Only one hot (red or black) should be used in a
normal 3 way setup. A 14-3 is used between the switches. If you want to
add a dimmer, that can be done, but it can be a little tricky and I have
seen more than on way or wiring it in depending on the technology used. You
need to check the instructions with the dimmer.
Before doing anything else, you need to be sure of what you now have
and from your description, I would say there was a lot of doubt about what
you are describing.
I seriously doubt that the 14-3 cable comes into that box from the panel. It's
*much* more likely that it comes there from the *other* 3-way switch.
*That* is probably where the cable from the panel comes in (the 14-2).
Why do you have a 3-way dimmer switch, if you want the new light to be
separate from the 3-way switches in the hall?? You should be using a standard
dimmer switch here, it seems.
Sounds to me that you're making this a *lot* more complicated than it needs to
be, but let me make sure I understand correctly:
You want to install a new ceiling light, controlled by a dimmer only and *not*
controlled by either of the existing 3-way switches. But you want to take
power from one of those switches. Right?
First, you need to find out _for_sure_ which of those two boxes is getting
power from the panel. If you don't know how to do this, you should STOP RIGHT
NOW and either get a book on residential wiring, or call an electrician,
because (no offense meant) you don't understand this well enough to do it
Next, you need to run a 14-2 cable into that box, and connect it to the cable
that's supplying power from the panel: black to black, white to white, ground
to ground. If there's a red wire, you don't have the right cable.
Then run that 14-2 cable to a new box where your dimmer switch will be
installed, and another 14-2 cable from there to the light fixture.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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