# How do I wire 3 way switches where the power comes in at the light?

Have a 3 way switch question about a garage I'm helping a local homeless shelter fix up. They have already installed some 3 way switches, wiring and places for 2 lights, but they aren't sure how to wire it up (the original guy who helped out isn't around anymore).

Basically 2 lights in the middle of 3-way switches on either end. Power comes into the light 1 (2 wire) and then I have 3 wire from light 1 to switch 1, 3 wire from light 1 to light 2, and then 3 wire from light 2 to switch 2. I have a diagram that shows me how to do it with power coming into the switch, but i am unsure of what to do in my current situation. Can anyone help me wire this up?

Well I think I just found it. BMitch, you are correct. Here's a link to the diagram.

http://www.homeimprovementweb.com/information/how-to/three-way-switch-option8.htm

-
I don't believe there's a way to wire this without a 4th wire between light 1 and 2. At that point, you need the two travelers between the switches, the neutral, and the switched hot. – BMitch Dec 28 '12 at 21:29
Feel free to post the diagram as an answer to your own question. Self answers are welcome here. – BMitch Dec 28 '12 at 22:23

Can't be done as described, you are short 1 wire between the two light fixtures. You need another wire between the two lights. You do have other options though, one being a "smart switch" which uses a signal instead of travelers. How far apart are the 3-ways?

-

[Converting my comment to an answer.]

I don't believe there's a way to wire this without a 4th wire between light 1 and 2. At that point, you need the two travelers between the switches, the neutral, and the switched hot.

Here's a diagram of the needed wiring (found at homeimprovementweb.com). Click for a larger version.

Three way switches are often wired from switch to switch with three wire cables. In that design, if the power comes directly to a switch, then you only need 2 wire cables to the light fixtures. Or if power comes from a fixture, you'd need a 3 wire cable from the fixture to the switch. So if you can rewire these switches directly to each other, you may find it much easier to connect the fixtures.

-