Three-Way Circuit Question

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lenaitch
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Three-Way Circuit Question

Post by lenaitch » Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:07 pm

Hello. I have the standard basement stairway lighting set-up: 3-way switches at the top and bottom of the stairs controlling a ceiling light over the staircase. Power enters at the upstairs switch. I would like to add another light at the bottom of the stairs since it is a bit of a black hole that the ceiling light doesn't cover. If I connect to the cable to the downstairs switch, I will essentially create a series circuit since I have no clear path to ground (neutral). I think the problem could be solved by accessing a neutral in another nearby circuit, but want to ensure my solution is both safe and to Code (Ontario). Of course, everything is finished construction and there is no reasonable way to run a cable from the existing light.
Any insight is appreciated. Tnx

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Shannon
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Re: Three-Way Circuit Question

Post by Shannon » Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:03 pm

So were is the existing light in the circuit. It the wiring going to switch one,then switch 2 and then to light . Or is the power going to switch 1 then light then switch 2
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lenaitch
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Re: Three-Way Circuit Question

Post by lenaitch » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:47 am

Sorry Shannon. Power enters at SW1 at top of stairs then to light then to SW2. I can only (reasonably) access wiring from light to SW2. Tnx again.

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Shannon
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Re: Three-Way Circuit Question

Post by Shannon » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:55 pm

So are you saying you can access the light to place another 14/2 wire to the octagon box?
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lenaitch
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Re: Three-Way Circuit Question

Post by lenaitch » Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:11 pm

Nope. I realize that would solve my problem (although only if I had a way to fish a line from the ceiling box all the way down to the basement). I can only access a section of the cable running from the lamp to S2 in a void space above the basement suspended ceiling.

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Shannon
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Re: Three-Way Circuit Question

Post by Shannon » Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:20 pm

I Have never ran into this before, but I do not think this will work for you. I think that what you will have is that second light will only be functional by 1 switch. This is a head scratcher for me. I would be interested what you find out though. Sorry I could not be of more help.
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lenaitch
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Re: Three-Way Circuit Question

Post by lenaitch » Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:11 pm

Thanks for your views Shannon. I've scratched my head raw and think I'm screwed. If I try to connect a second light to the hot return from SW2 (traveler wires only connect the two switches), I'll end up with a series circuit, meaning half voltage at each lamp. If I learn anything, I'll let you know. Thanks again.

DBCooper
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Re: Three-Way Circuit Question

Post by DBCooper » Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:01 am

How many wires are in switch box #2? How many wires are in switch box #1? How many wires are in the light box in the ceiling? Describe the colors and where they terminate on each switch. Also, let me know if you have any wires connected with a wire nut in either of the switch boxes. Let me know the coloring of those wires as well. Please note on the 3-way switches which terminal they are calling the common, and make mention of which wire is connected to this common terminal.

You are certain the power AND neutral are present in switch box #1 at the top of the stairs?

Picking up a neutral from another junction box close by is okay providing it is on the same circuit as this 3-way switch.

I am guessing you are not proficient at patching wallboard? Because sneaking a non-metallic cable from the ceiling box over to the new light is the way to go. Just cat a strategic hole or two and then patch it up.

But if you are not good at patching sheetrock or plaster, please give me the wiring configurations and I may be able to help you out.

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