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Looking for a wiring diagram for a three way dimmer switch with the power source starting at the dimmer switch then to another three way non dimmer switch and ending at the light. Thanks

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I know you asked for a diagram, but this may solve your issue. If both switches are 3 way (not 4 way) then they will have a single terminal on one side and two terminals on the other. The two terminals on both switches are for the "traveler" wires. Your first switch will take power in (the black wire) to the single terminal. Two traveler wires connect the two terminals on the first switch to the two terminals on the second switch. The single terminal on the second switch is the output to the light. In addition there will be a ground and a neutral coming in to the first switch box, and just passing through to the second box, and just passing through to the light. So, in total, here are the wires---- The input to the first box should be a black (hot) , white (neutral) , and bare (ground). Between the two boxes will be two travelers (usually a black and a red), the neutral (usually white), and the ground. Out of the second box will be the same as the input to the first box. I hope this helps. By the way, as long as there is only one dimmer, it's the same as no dimmer. And if you have four terminals (and therefore 4 way switches) you can just tape over (and don't use) any one of them and you have a three way Good luck Al K

Posted on Mar 17, 2011


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I would like to connect a two way dimmer to a one way circuit.

Do you mean a three way dimmer?

How many switches do you want to be in the circuit when you are finished?

A three way switch can be used in a circuit where one or two switches are desired.

What you need to find is which two wires go to the light, and which two come from the power.

Are you in the US, if so, there will be a white wire which should be a non current carrying conductor. It will not be attached to the switch.

Without understanding the number of switches that are currently in the circuit, I'm going to tell you if you just are wanting to replace a single switch with a three way, than "yes" that is not a problem.

Hit me back when you can with the rest of the information.

Feb 09, 2016 | Electrical Supplies

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How do i wire a three way switch

There are several ways to wire three way switchs, depending on which box the power goes to. Check ou this link for diagrams.

Sep 27, 2014 | Intermatic Home Settings Three-Way In-Wall...

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How can I wire 3 Lutron Dimmer switches in a series? Each switch will control a different set of lights. I pig tailed the black power source to each of the dimmers. I ran the black wire from the light...

yes, take the white wires off the switches and splice them all together with a wire nut. Run a hot wire to each of the switches and then run the switch leg (black) from each of the fixtures to be controlled to each of the dimmers.

Jul 09, 2014 | Leviton Electrical Supplies

1 Answer

How to replace dimmer switch

Hi Karen,

There are two types of dimmer switches - single pole (or S1) and three way (or S3). You can determine which type you have without even removing a screw. Here's how: How many switches can control the light fixture now? One or more than one? If you answered one, you need a single pole dimmer switch. If you answered 2 or more (it doesn't matter how many at this point), you need a three way dimmer. Ok, we're done with step one almost.. make sure that the one switch that controls the light has ON and OFF on the toggle handle. Likewise, none of the multi-switch arrangements that control a light should have ON or OFF on the toggle handle. None of the wide rocker or Decora style switches have ON or OFF on them.

Next, do the light switches that control the fixture only control an incandescent light? If the switch operates a light AND a fan - like a paddle fan fixture - you can't simply replace the switch with a dimmer. Dimmers are for use with a 120 volt incandescent lamps (tungsten, quartz, halogen, etc.). They are not designed to work on motors circuits - such as fans - nor are they designed to work for lights that have a "ballast" like neon or fluorescent types or a "transformer" like low voltage track lights, etc.. Check the bulb's voltage rating if unsure if a low voltage type or not. The only exception to the above that I am aware of would be for lamps that SPECIFICALLY state on the package that they can be used with a dimmer. You can find dimmable compact fluorescent lamps that will work, but as far as I know, there are no other types of lamps or motors for that matter that will work WITHOUT OVERHEATING or DANGER OF FIRE.
A retail package of dimmable CFLs.

That means, yes; if you install a dimmer on a motor, it will adjust the motor speed BUT, the motor WILL over heat and can easily start a fire. The same holds true for lamps that have a ballast. If it doesn't specifically state it is for use with a dimmer, don't try to use a dimmer to control it.

Check the wattage rating of the fixture. There is a sticker affixed to every fixture that indicates the maximum wattage of each lamp socket. Add these values together. Most fixtures are well under 600 watts. This 600 value is significant, as this is the base rating for dimmer switches. Nearly all unmarked dimmers are rated for 600W - but if you look closely, you should find this wattage rating along with the voltage rating on it somewhere. If your fixture is capable of more than 600W, you should select a dimmer that is rated to at least handle this wattage. The next higher wattage rating for most dimmers is 1000W, and costs about twice as much as the 600W dimmer. It only gets more expensive from here. Fortunately, not many residential applications need 1000W+ dimmers for the loads they will control. The need for 100W+ dimmers comes into play when there is a dimmer switch in the same box as the old switch. When converting a dimmer & switch to a dimmer and dimmer in the same box, the wattage rating is derated to disapate the heat created by the dimmers. Please, consult the chart below to see how to properly derate:

Ok, the preliminary work is complete. Shut off the power to the circuit. Remove the wall plate and remove the mounting screws that secure the switch from the switch box. Gently pull the switch out of the box. If it is a single pole switch, it will have two (2) terminals. If it has 3 or more terminals, (not counting the green ground screw) skip ahead to the three way section. If there are more than 2 wires connected to the switch (again, not counting the green ground screw), mark the wires so that you know which wire(s) go to which terminals. Use masking tape and a pen to write or colored tape to identify all wires that connect to the same terminal. Turn power back on. Test the all the wires for the presence of 120 volts. Once this is learned, shut the power off again. Test to make sure power is indeed off. Remove the wires from the switch terminal screws. Remove any bare or green ground wire from the green screw. The new dimmer should be connected so that the the "power" or "line" wire or terminal is connected to the wire(s) that you found to be powered in the previous step. If there was 2 or more powered wires that had the same identification or mark on them when testing - make sure all those wires get connected to this terminal of the dimmer. Connect the remaining wire(s) (that should also ALL have the same marking) to the remaining "load" or "light" wire or terminal of the dimmer. Make sure the wires that connect with a supplied wirenut have no exposed metal to short out. Check your work. Make sure none of the marked wires have been mixed with the other marked wires. Connect any bare or green ground wire to the green or bare wire of the dimmer or green screw on the dimmer. Gently fold the wires to the rear of the box or sides and insert the dimmer. Secure to the box with screws and install the wall plate. Turn on power and test.

If you have a multi-switch or three way installation, it's a little more complicated. Firstly, only ONE dimmer is used in the circuit. Installing more than one dimmer will prevent the light from being made brighter than the current brightness setting of lowest switch. If there are 3 or more switches that control the light, two are three way types; and are the only ones that can be changed to a dimmer. The third, and subsequent switches in multi-switch installations are "four way switches". Dimmers are not made to replace them. Three way switches have 3 terminal screws and four way switches have four screws (not counting the green ground terminal screw). This is the only way to determine one from the other. Start by shutting off the power. Go to the switch that you would like to replace with the dimmer. Remove the wall plate and switch mounting screws. Gently pull the switch out of the switch box. Count the number screws on the switch body (do not count any green ground screw). If it has 3 screws, it's a 3 way. If it has four, its a four way and can not be changed to a dimmer. If it has 4 screws, resecure the switch into the switch box and reinstall the wall plate. You will need to find a three way switch that controls this light. If none of the other locations is not desirable, you can not install the dimmer. Otherwise, remove any bare or green wire from the green ground screw. Next, locate the dark colored screw. This is called the "common" or "shunt" screw. Sometimes it is painted black; and other times it is gold when all the non-ground screws are silver colored. In any case, it will be the "odd colored" screw. Mark the wire(s) that connect to this screw with a number "1". Mark the wire under one of the other screws (it doesn't matter which) with a "2"; and mark the wire under the remaining screw with a "3". The wires that are connected to these terminals and marked as number 2 & 3 are called "traveler wires". Traveler wires run between switches and common (or shunt) wires that connected to the terminal with the same name and marked as number 1 does one of two things: it either comes from the power source or it supplies power to the light fixture. Make sure each wire that was connected to the 3 way switch has a number on it, then remove all the wires from the switch terminals. You will connect your traveler wires numbered 2 & 3 to the dimmer's traveler wires or terminals (it does not matter which wire is connected to which terminal; and the common or shunt wire numbered 1 to the dimmer's common or shunt wire or terminal. Many dimmers use black as the common or shunt and red & white for travelers. You'll need to consult the wiring information that comes with the dimmer to find out the colors used for common or shunt and the traveler wires on your switch. Check your work. Make sure no exposed wire can short when it is powered up, later. Carefully fold the wires into the switch box. Insert the dimmer into and secure to the switch box. Reinstall the wall plate and turn power on & test.

I hope this helps & good luck! Please rate my replay.

Dec 22, 2011 | Electrical Supplies

1 Answer

I have a Leviton single pole rocker switch grnd, pilot light back and side wired #5628-2W i am trying to hook it up so light is on when switch is on i have 2 black wires 2 white wires and 1 ground wire how...

easy one first: ground wire to green screw. We have to assume the two black wires are the hot(coming from power source) and switch leg(going to light). Switch will have two brass colored screws. Looking at the switch with the off/on markings right side up. Put hot wire on upper screw and switch leg on other brass screw, With nothing hooked up, the hot wire will be the only wire with voltage on it. You can buy a non-contact voltage tester at Lowes or any place that sells electrical supplies. Now we must assume the two white wires are neutrals(one coming from power source and one going to light. The pilot light part of the switch will either have a silver colored screw or a white pigtail on it. all whites hook together. The pilot light is wired internally to the switch leg. Your switch should work properly now.


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I'm attempting to wire a 3 way switch with a dimmer

Hello Chris,

What has happened, is that you've got th two "traavelers" reversed on the plain toggle switch. These are the RED and BLACK wires. turn off the power and reverse the position of these wires and the switch should work correctly from either the Dimmer switch or the plain switch.

Here's a link with a diagram, which might not exactly match your circuit configuration, but you can also watch a short video that explains how 3-way switches work.

It is just a matter of getting the travelers on the correct screws in order for the circuit to operate properly from either switch. Also, depending on the type of dimmer you've installed, the other switch will only turn the lights on at the dimmer setting that you've left the dimmer switch in. So be sure that you're not turning the dimmer all the way down before you shut it off (at the dimmer) otherwise, the other 3-way switch won't be able to turn the lights on, regardless of whether you've got the travelers in the correct locations.

Remember to turn the power off to the circuit you're working on while you rewire it and flip the breaker back on when you're done.

Hope you find this Very Helpful and best regards!

Nov 17, 2009 | Lutron Dimmers S103PNL 1000W 3-Way, Preset...

1 Answer

Problem w/new sliding dimmer

The problem is that the Cooper #9530DS-K-L is actually a 3-way switch and you need a single pole dimmer switch to replace your existing single pole toggle switch.

If you want to use the Cooper switch you have you can take one of the black wires and cap it with a wire nut and connect the other two wires, but frankly, you'd be paying about 2 times the price for a 3-way dimmer switch when you only need a single pole switch.

You should be able to return the switch and get the correct one.

You should only have (2) black wires on the proper replacement switch, plus a ground wire

Hope you found this very helpful and best regards!

Aug 07, 2009 | Electrical Supplies

1 Answer

3 way switching of lights using 2 single pole switches

If you are looking for a wiring diagram you can get it here. Hope this is a FixYa. Pls rate the answer

Mar 21, 2009 | Electrical Supplies

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