In this circuit, two fixtures are shown but more can be added by duplicating the wiring arrangement between the lights for each one added. Here the source is at SW1 and 3-wire cable runs from there to L1. Two, 2-wire cables run between the fixtures, and 3-wire cable runs from the last one to SW2.
Three-way switches have 3 terminals to carry circuit electricity and one terminal for a ground wire. Of the three circuit terminals, one is called the common and the other two are known as travelers. The common terminal may be labeled and is usually a different color than the traveler terminals. Depending on the manufacturer, the travelers may be on opposite sides of the device or the two terminals may be on the same side. In any case, the common terminal will be distinguished from the travelers in some way.
If your switches stop working they may be worn out or the screws may have come loose. If you’ve wired a new switch correctly and the circuit still doesn’t work, the switch may be defective. Check that all connections are tight. Check the switch, remove it from the circuit and test for failure with a continuity tester or multimeter set on the Ohms setting.
When the electrical source originates at a light fixture and it’s controlled from a remote location, a switch loop is used. The circuit pictured here is wired with 2-conductor cable running from the light to the switch location. The white cable wire in this switch loop is wrapped with black tape and connected to the bottom terminal on SW1 and the hot source at the light. The black wire is connected to the top terminal on SW1 and the hot terminal on the light fixture. The neutral from the source is connected directly to the neutral terminal on the light.
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