Wiring Three-Way Lighting Circuits

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Installing SwitchLinc Dimmers on 3-Way Circuits
If you would like to install a SwitchLinc controller but fear that you won't be able to because you have three- or four-way lighting circuits, worry no more. SwitchLincs can be installed in place of an existing three-way lighting circuit. A three-way circuit is one in which two switches control the same set of lights. A four-way circuit has three switches controlling the same set of lights. When updating an existing mechanical 3-way switch to a remote-controllable SwitchLinc, you will need one of the following Primary or "Master" switches:
  • SwitchLinc 2-Way Dimmer (2380/2381)
  • SwitchLinc PLUS Dimmer (2386)
  • SwitchLinc PLC Dimmer (2384)
  • SwitchLinc Relays (23883/2385)You would then purchase a SwitchLinc Multi-Way Companion for the remaining switch or switches in the circuit.When replacing a three-way mechanical switch with an X10 unit, each switch will have three wires connected to it from the wall box. Four-way or greater circuits will have four wires connected to the switches in the center of the circuit. For this tutorial, we will follow the most commonly used wire colors for homes in North America.Step 1: Find the Hot Wire
    It is important that the Master and Companion switches be installed in the correct locations. The first task is to find the wall box where the electricity comes into the circuit. To do this, you must first turn off the electricity at the breaker box and remove the 3- or 4-way switches from the wall so that the bare copper ends of the wire are left exposed. Each wall box should have three wires sticking out of it. If the circuit is a 4-way or greater, some of the boxes will have four wires. Making sure that none of the wires are touching anything and that no one is around the wall boxes, turn the electricity back on. Using a voltmeter or voltage sensor, individually test each wire for voltage. When 120 volts are measured, mark that wire as LINE, (this wire is usually black). The other two wires, commonly black and red, are the travelers and go to the next wall box. Turn off the electricity to resume installing the new switches. At the wall box where the electricity comes into the circuit, install a SwitchLinc Companion. It is very important that a Companion be installed in this position. The system will not work correctly if a Master SwitchLinc is installed.
    Connect the Black Line and Black travelerSlave-connect controlConnect Neutrals
    Step 2: Connect the Black Line, the Black traveler, and the Black wire on the SwitchLinc Remote Dimmer all together with a single wire nut.Step 3: Connect the Yellow wire on the SwitchLinc Remote Dimmer to the remaining wire out of the wall, usually a Red wire.Step 4: Locate the group of White wires in the rear of the box that were not connected to the old switch. These are the neutral wires, and the White wire connects in there.
    Step 5: Connect the bare copper ground wire to the other ground wires in the wall box.
    If you have a four-way or greater switching circuit, see Special Treatment for Four-Way Circuits at the end of this section.
    Step 6: Install the SwitchLinc Master in the remaining wall box
    There will be two traveler wires from the first box and the wire that carries power from the switch to the lights; we call this the LOAD. The travelers can sometimes be easily recognized, because those two wires are covered by the same cable sheath or covering around the wires. The wires can also be identified by the same method described earlier: turn on the power (taking the same precautions), and use a voltmeter to find the wire with electricity. The wire with electricity is the LINE wire.Continue with the connections below... make sure the power is turned off!!!
    Master-connect hot Master-connect control master-connect load master-connect load
    Step 7: Connect the master SwitchLinc's Black Line wire to the identified Line wire, usually Black, out of the wall. Step 8: Connect the other traveler, usually Red, to the Yellow Control wire on the SwitchLinc Master. Step 9: Connect the remaining wire out of the wall, usually Black, to the SwitchLinc Master's Red wire.Step 10: Locate the group of White wires in the rear of the box that were not connected to the old switch. These are the neutral wires, and the White wire connects in there.

    Connect ground wires using the same instructions given above for the companion switch.

    Special Treatment for Four-Way Circuits
    If your lighting circuit includes more than two switches controlling a set of lights, some wall boxes will have four wires. Two of these wires are coming from the wall box where the power enters the circuit (see Step 1 above), and the remaining wires connect through to the master SwitchLinc's location (see Step 6 above). In this center position, install another SwitchLinc Companion Switch.
    • Connect the Black wire on the SwitchLinc Companion Switch to the two Black travelers with a single wire nut.
    • Connect the Yellow wire to the remaining two Red travelers with a single wire nut.
    • Connect the neutral and ground wires using the same instructions given above for the companion switch.




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