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Refinishing my basement and have an open ceiling at the moment. I have hung 12 recessed lights and connected them in 3 groups (groups of 2, 6 and 4 lights) using 14/2. I then ran 14/2 from the start of each group to the entrance to the room where I intend to have 3 separate dimmer switches, one for each group. I also have the power source running to this switch location on 14/2. I have run 3 sets of 14/3 wire between from this location to another location where I intend to have a 2nd set of dimmer switches further into the room.

I have only tried hooking up one set of lights to for testing purposes and can't get both dimmers to work. Tried using a diagram that was shown on here (http://www.buildmyowncabin.com/electrical/3-way-switch-diagram-7.pdf) but it did not work. Could not even get lights to come on.
I also found a diagram that has power at one dimmer and the lights at the other but not both power and lights from the same dimmer and ran a temp power line to the 2nd dimmer but even though the likes worked from either switch the dimmers did not work. http://www.do-it-yourself-help.com/3_way_switch_wiring.html ( the diagram with 2 dimmers)

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Thanks for the input, I thought I had bought upgraded dimmers, Pass & Seymour Toggle Preset Incandescent, TD703PW, P/N 340911, about $15 each. Can be used either single or 3-way. Anyway will just go with the one regular 3-way switch and 1 dimmer per group. That combo is working fine. –  BobbyV Aug 23 at 14:31

2 Answers 2

As @Tester101 says, with conventional dimmers, you can only have one dimmer in a circuit if the fixture (or set of fixtures) is being controlled from more than one location.

If you are switching from two locations, you also need to use 3-way switches for both the plain switches and dimmers (many dimmers are 3-way compatible).

There are specialized dimmers that work as master and slave units. These do allow dimming from multiple locations, but you need to use a set of matched units. These are also much more costly than basic 3-way dimmers.

Finally, if you are running remote switches that only connect back to the first set of switches, you need x/4 cable, not x/3. Two wires serve as travelers, one as the common return and one as neutral. While not every switch requires a neutral, code now requires it as a hedge against future active devices. If you do not need the neutral, simply cap it in the box.

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You can only have one dimmer per group. You can put the dimmer at either location, but not both locations.

There are "companion" dimmers available from some companies, that allow you to place additional dimmers in the circuit. But you'll have to use compatible equipment, which may or may not be available at your local big box store.

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