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 3-way switch... Identifying the traveller wires
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m021478
Starting Member

USA
11 Posts

Posted - 05/31/2011 :  09:32:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am trying to figure out how to go about identifying the various cables in a 3-way switch box. As far as the color coding of the wires goes, I think that's pretty much not relevant in this case for the most part because in the switch box I am dealing with, the line, load and one of the traveller cables are all black. I can obviously use a tester to determine which is the line ('hot') wire, but how am I supposed to know which cable is the load cable and which is the black traveller cable?

Another question I had about the Insteon 3-Way Switch wiring diagram (seen here - http://www.smarthome.com/images/2476dside4big.jpg) is that from this diagram, only one of the switch boxes seems to have a 'hot' line wire, which would make it pretty easy to determine which would be the primary and secondary SwitchLinc dimmers of a 3-way installation.

But in my case, both boxes have a hot line wire, so which one am I suppose to use for the primary SwitchLinc dimmer and which should I use for the secondary SwitchLinc dimmer? Is it a matter of picking one of the other and capping off the line wire on the one that I choose to be the secondary SwitchLinc box and simply using the converted hot traveller cable from the primary box as the hot cable in that secondary SwitchLinc box?

All of this is a pretty confusing to me, but I am determined to figure it out on my own (with your help), because if plan to add more and more Insteon switches to my home over time, I will no longer be able to afford and electrician to do this for me (at $95/hour, I could wind up spending more for the electrician that for all my Insteon hardware).

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

GregE
Average Member

USA
130 Posts

Posted - 05/31/2011 :  09:58:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Look here.

http://wiki.smarthome.com/index.php?title=2476D_Manual_%28Rev_5.0%29#Installing_SwitchLinc_in_a_Multi-Way_Circuit

You might need an electrician (or friend that might understand it a little more) for the first 3way.
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GregE
Average Member

USA
130 Posts

Posted - 05/31/2011 :  09:59:02 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
BTW, A picture of both boxes showing the wires might help us to be able to help you more too.
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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
2510 Posts

Posted - 05/31/2011 :  10:31:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
I can obviously use a tester to determine which is the line ('hot') wire, but how am I supposed to know which cable is the load cable and which is the black traveller cable?


Typically, there are two travellers. Also, most common three-way switches have one screw that is black. This would be the common terminal and may give you a clue as to which is the load. If you are proficient with a volt/ohm meter, you can also verify by measuring resistance between two switch terminals. The common would have zero resistance between one of the other two, regardless of switch position.

quote:
But in my case, both boxes have a hot line wire, so which one am I suppose to use for the primary SwitchLinc dimmer and which should I use for the secondary SwitchLinc dimmer?


This should not matter. Insteon switches require a constant source of power. They don't care whether they are on the same circuit (assuming you have communication between them). You may, however, want to make sure that whatever circuit you use for your primary switch has enough capacity to power the load.

quote:
Another question I had about the Insteon 3-Way Switch wiring diagram (seen here - http://www.smarthome.com/images/2476dside4big.jpg) is that from this diagram, only one of the switch boxes seems to have a 'hot' line wire, which would make it pretty easy to determine which would be the primary and secondary SwitchLinc dimmers of a 3-way installation.


Illustrations such as this one are examples. There are many ways to wire a three-way. You just need to make sure that both insteon switches have constant (unswitched) power, power the load from one of them, and cross link them so that they control each other.

Like the others said, however, to provide much more than general advice, it would help to have pictures or diagrams of your wiring.
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stusviews
Moderator

USA
11449 Posts

Posted - 05/31/2011 :  1:00:22 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
At least three boxes are involved, each switch box and the load box. Describe in detail what wires come into each box and how they are bundled.

Is the original wiring 3-way? Are the original switches still connected?

Also, if the boxes metal, then the ground wire is not needed.

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