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 need help with light switch wiring
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benrub
Starting Member

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 04/08/2021 :  07:39:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Help

Hi everyone.

I have a 2-gang box. The box contains 2 light switches. Both switches are 3-way. Hall lights and Outside lights.

Here's what I want to do.
1) Remove the hall light switch. Hardwire it with a wire-nut.
2) Replace the outside light switch with a Lutron smart switch. (I already disabled the other switch on this 3-way)

(The new Lutron switch I'm trying to install is the PD-6ANS-WH. I'm aware it requires a neutral.)

I've done both of the above in other rooms of my house with no problem. But the wiring in this box is very confusing. There's a jumper cables connecting one switch to the next.

Here's a diagram showing how the current switches are connected:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/hrktwukiiw0mykp/confusing%20switches.jpg?dl=0

Can anyone advise me on how to wire this?

Edited by - benrub on 04/08/2021 07:42:58 AM

oberkc
Moderator

USA
4154 Posts

Posted - 04/09/2021 :  04:17:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am not following the numbering convention you use for you existing switches. "R1" means red conductor from cable 1? Is there a fourth cable (two "bundles of white conductors suggest at least four cables in my mind).

Are the other two three-way switches also in the same box as each other? I find it odd that there would be a conductor from one cable connected to both switches (speaking of B2 connected to one switch and R2 connected to the other switch) if the other switches were not in the same box.

The jumper suggests, to me, that this is a hot supply conductor. On the other hand, supply is normally connected to the "odd" colored screw on the switch. I suppose it is possible that the screws got messed up.

In the end, for me to be confident to offer suggestions, I would like to better understand how many cables enter this box, how many (and what color) are in each cable, and to what each conductor is currently connected. Unfortunately, the diagram leaves too much doubt in my head.

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benrub
Starting Member

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 04/09/2021 :  04:56:47 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you for getting back to me and I appreciate your efforts in helping me figure this one out. Before I say anything more, I just wanted to mention that I've hired an electrician who should be coming today. I felt like I was in over my head with this and I wanted to professional to advise me.

I've replaced three way light switches many times before but this one has got me stumped. I believe it's the jumper cable that makes this different from any installation that I've tried before.

To answer your questions, coming out of this two gang box there are three black wires and two red wires. In the very back of the box are two separate sets of two white wires fastened with wire nuts. They were not used for the previous switches— I'm assuming that these are neutrals.

In my diagram I labeled the wires R1, R2 etc only so when I'm discussing them I can keep track of which wire is which. There is really no underlying meaning to my labels other than that.

Each of the two switches (both removed at the moment) are part of three-way configurations. The “outside lights” switch has its partner switch in the garage. The “hallway lights” switch has its partner switch at the other end of the hall.

Thank you again for you response!
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oberkc
Moderator

USA
4154 Posts

Posted - 04/09/2021 :  08:56:47 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
OK. I am sure the electrician can figure this out. It definitely seems unusual to me to think that there are FOUR white wires and only three black.

Perhaps you are located in a jurisdiction that uses conduit, such as Chicago?
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benrub
Starting Member

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 04/09/2021 :  09:02:13 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The electrician got it all working. I would have never been able to solve that on my own. He left the power on, then started touching one live wire to the next to test it and see which lights turned on in correspondence to which wires. Then he wired it up. I took a photo of what he did. Sometimes you gotta leave it to the pros!
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