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rra640
February 8th, 2007, 10:11 AM
I currently have a 3-way switch that controls some outdoor lights. One switch is inside the front door and the other is in the garage. The switch in the garage is never used. I want to install a digital timer on the swithch by the front door, but it is only for a 2-way config.

If I just capped off the red traveler wire in the box by the front door, wouldn't it just become a 2way switch setup? The one in the garage will just not do anything if it didn't have the traveler, right?

suemarkp
February 8th, 2007, 10:57 AM
If you remove the switch in the garage and just wirenut the one traveler and the hot to the light (or from the power source, depends on which switch gets power and which goes to the light), then yes. Leaving the switch in the garage will create the possibility to turn the light off in the garage, and it will stay off until put back to the other position. You'll have two switches in series (both must be on for the light to work) if you leave the garage switch there, and you may not want that.

rra640
February 9th, 2007, 06:46 AM
If you remove the switch in the garage and just wirenut the one traveler and the hot to the light (or from the power source, depends on which switch gets power and which goes to the light), then yes. Leaving the switch in the garage will create the possibility to turn the light off in the garage, and it will stay off until put back to the other position. You'll have two switches in series (both must be on for the light to work) if you leave the garage switch there, and you may not want that.


Mark, you confused me. I don't care about the switch in the garage... so I was going to leave that untouched. If I just cap off the traveler on the inside box and wired a 2-way switch, won't it just work as 2-way and the othe one would just be dead. I guess that will only work if the power goes in to the garage or the entry first before the lights.

I think what you are saying is that I can tie the switches together so that boht have to be on for the light to be on and both have to be off for the light to be off. That won't work.

suemarkp
February 9th, 2007, 07:50 AM
You can't just leave the switch in the garage alone if you kill a traveler (or just remove one traveler from it). You can do that if you're willing to leave the garage switch in one position and no one touches it. If you want the light to work from only one switch, all 3 wires have to come off of the garage switch and the appropriate ones be wire nutted together.

Think about it -- 3-ways switch between two travelers. If you make one traveler go away because it was replaced with a regular switch, you still have two wire choices at the garage switch. One of those will be dead and the other would be live.

I suppose you could keep the garage switch as it is, but what you need to do in that case is put both travelers in parallel and have either both live or both dead.

So which do you prefer -- a garage switch that works in either position with live wires, a garage switch that is there but disconnected so it has no effect, or a blank cover so no switch is visible in the garage?

dkerr
February 9th, 2007, 10:45 AM
If you look at....

http://www.selfhelpandmore.com/switchoutlet/3way/index.htm

click on each of the links, and study the animation on that page you may start to understand how the 3 -way switch system works

Tell us which configuration you have, we can likely better advise exactly what to do.

The best senerio is a 3 way switch/timer, the 2 way digital timer also likely has to be powered for it to work, for this to work you basically may have to disable the other 3 way switch, and put a solid cover over at the other location with no switch there. But as mentioned it will help a lot if we know what configuration you have.

AllanJ
February 9th, 2007, 01:47 PM
If you remove the decommissioned 3 way switch, tie its common wire to one of the travelers, and cap off the other traveler, then the other 3 way switch behaves as a regular (2 way) switch.

The ability to remove the other 3 way switch and substitute an electrically powered (as opposed to dial-spring wound) timer will depend on the availability of power and neutral at that switch box. If the power feed went to the light fixture box, the answer is probably no.

Bismarck Jack
February 10th, 2007, 07:36 AM
This is a great idea. I think you helped more than one of us here.

I am always talking to the family about the garage light being left on all day and or all night. if i installed a timer or a motion sensor, that would save me some headach.

I have a 3way set up in my garage, with both switches located in the garage itself.

~ here is a question? If i put my garage lights on a sensor; would you all suggest that i cap the existing switches? or does that really matter? As long as we know not to mess with the switches it should be ok, besides, i dont think it will really effect anything.

~ anyone have experience with installing a ceiling mounted sensor?
~ i will also take a look at the thread mentioned above to see if that gives me a better understanding of 3way than i already have. love to learn.

~:lollypop: