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# How can you wire a 3-way switch using only 14-2 wire?

Wiki User

2012-11-14 05:29:13

There is a way to wire a light fixture controlled with two 3-way switches using only 14-2 cable. Run a length of 14-2 cable from each 3-way switch to the light fixture and a third one between the switches to act as travelers. This is not an optimum method for wiring this arrangement, but it is possible in a pinch, if no 14-3 cable is available. This method leaves an unused conductor in each of the cables linking the light fixture to a switch, each of which must be tied to ground at both ends to indicate they are not carrying current. The conductors that are used must conform to the color convention for hot and neutral conductors, and any white conductors that are hot must be wrapped in red or black tape.

It's important to remember that the travelers and switches must always be situated between the hot electrode of the power source and the load (light fixture), to prevent any of the wires in the light fixture from being live when the switches are off (no current flowing in the circuit). Also, if metal boxes are used, the two cables must run through the same hole in any box they enter to avoid problems with eddy currents.

A variation of 3-way switch wiring employing 14-2 cable is one in which two widely separated light fixtures are controlled, such as at the top and bottom of a staircase. In this variation, the light fixtures must be connected in parallel, necessitating that an additional conductor be run between the fixtures. As a result, some parts of the circuit will contain four conductors, which can be provided using two lengths of 14-2 cable, while other parts will need only three conductors, depending on the relative locations of the light fixtures and switches

Wiki User

2012-11-14 05:29:13
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Q: How can you wire a 3-way switch using only 14-2 wire?