I’m trying to figure out how/if I can make this 3 way light wiring work. I have two boxes with two 3 way switches in them with 14-3 wire running between them. Each box has a load wire from a different set of lights with 14-2 wire. Power from a 14-2 wire enters in to the right box. Having a switch load at each end is confusing me so I may have a wire wrong somewhere. Thanks for your help. enter image description here

  • 1
    What you need is a Chinese Wall and some colored tape. You have two completely separate 3-way switch complexes and the Chinese Wall will rigidly separate them logically. The tape will keep you from losing your mind. May 24, 2018 at 12:54

1 Answer 1


You have two totally separate 3-way switch complexes, right next to each other. They are totally separate and must be isolated from each other. Each uses a different wiring diagram. It will be VERY confusing.

In cases like this, I rely on colored tape. Get a 5-pack of colored tape and get ready to mark some wires. The first rule of marking wires is mark both ends of the wire at the same time. The second rule is when you mark a wire, that is its color now. The third rule is you cannot mark a colored wire white, i.e. A colored wire cannot be made a neutral.

I prefer black for supply hot, red for switched hot to a lamp, yellow for a set of travelers (they are interchangeable), and blue for a second set of travelers.

On each of the 14/2 spurs to the lamp, mark the black wire with RED tape. It is now a red wire.

On your 14/3 cables between switch boxes:

  • One cable gets wire colors of yellow, yellow and red. Yes, 2 wires with the same color.

  • The other gets colors blue, blue, white.

In the right box, pigtail 2 wires off the black supply. They each go to the common (black screw) on a 3-way.

In the right box, the "traveler" terminals (brass screws) on the 3-ways: one 3-way gets both yellow wires. The other 3-way gets both blue wires.

In the left box, one 3-way gets red on its common screw and both yellows on its two traveler screws (brass). That 3-way is done.

Also in the left box, land both blues on the traveler screws of the other 3-way.

Nut all white wires together in both boxes.

Nut both red wires together in the right box. That box should be done.

In the other box, one red wire still dangles, and one 3-way screw is unused. Use it for that.

And we're done. Whew!

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