I need some advice. here's my situation. I have a set of five
switches that control three lights in a hallway. I also have a set
of two switches that control one light in a laundry area. Here's the
Switch one is a 4 way switch and is part of the group that controls
the hallway lights. Switch 2 is a three way switch that controls the
laundry room light and is in the same box as switch 1. Switch 3 is
also three way and is actually in the laundry room to control the
laundry room light. Switch 1 is on a different cricuit breaker than
switches 2 and 3.
I want to somehow add switch 3 to the group that controls the hallway
lights, i also want the laundry room light to work in tandem with the
hallway lighting circuit. For now, switch 2 can be completely
disabled. So i wonder is there a way using the traveler wires that
are coming from switch 3 to switch 2, to connect the switch and the
light to switch 1? That would of course save me any fishing
expedition. If that's not possible, how else can I accomplish what
I'm trying to do?
I hope I was clear in my mission. If it's helpful, I have a
multimeter and I can measure the voltages across any points on the
Thanks in advance.
Did you check to make sure S1 is actually a 4 way? If it is, you are out of
luck. If it is a 3 way, you might be able to make it a 4 way and entend it
to S3 (though you would still need several other things to be just right).
You can use the travelers to go from S1 to S3, but how are you going to get
from S3 to whatever switch S1 used to go to? You might be able to run a new
cable from S3 to one of the 3way switches, if that is easier than running it
to S1; but you will have to run a new cable.
If the feed was to S3, rather than to S2, you might be able to recycle that;
which might save having to run a new cable to S3, but you will still have to
get it to where it needs to go.
OK let me approach this a different way then, just accepting that I'll
need to fish wires. How do i accomplish my goal? Will I need to fish
to more places than just S1 and S3? S3 can remain a 3 way? Assuming
I have to fish, is this easier if I find one of the 3-ways in the 5
switch loop and fish from there to S3 instead? I appreciate your help
To the best of my knowledge, they have to be linear.
So, you have to do two things:
1a) Either change S3 to a 4way and get it in chain with the other 4ways.
One way to do that is to use the travelers from S2 to connect S1 to S3 and
run a new cable from S3 to whatever S1 was connected to, or
1b) Leave S3 a 3way, change one of the 3ways to a 4way and run a cable from
it to S3. You might have to run 14/3 to have enough wires if you do that.
2) Somehow get the light on the same hot as the other lights. There should
be some way to do that using either the neutral from S2-S3, or a wire in the
Without any knowledge of how either circuit is wired, or the design of your
house, it is tough to be more specific. Just remember that the hot for the
S2-S3 circuit is now surplus and can possibly be used for something else.
Good luck. One thing to remember if you have metal boxes, the current
through any hole must sum to zero; some rewired circuits like this don't,
and it is potentially dangerous.
This is what I did. I kept S3 as a 3 way and found a three way in the
other sircuit which I replaced with a 4-way. i ran 14-3 from the new
4 way to the 3 way and Bam, it worked. Thanks.
Then to add the other light to the chain, i used one of the travelers
from S2 back to S3. i coupled the traveler with the wire from S2 that
went to the light. Everything is working just fine, but i wanted to
make sure that was ok is it?
Also, i have a multimeter to check the zero sum thing, but could you
be more specific on where to put my probes, i don't understand the
"current through any hole". Also, the bxes are plastic not metal.
hey thanks so much for the help.
Sounds reasonable, but without seeing I can't say. But, if it works, it is
If you have plastic boxes, it is probably not a big deal. Still a code
violation, but not dangerous.
Do you have an ammeter? Just put it around all the wires that go through a
hole. It should always read zero. (current out cancels out current in).
The idea is that you can't have the light's hot from one box and the
neutral go to another. It sets up induction currents in the metal box, but
since you don't have any metal boxes... Still it is something to avoid if
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