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I'd like to add an outlet near a 3-way-switch as it's the closest potential source.

My issue is that there is no constant load at this location; when I toggle the other switch the red and black wires at this switch alternate being "hot" (I tested using an a non contact voltage tester).

This is how my switch is currently wired:


                                  |------|
                    Black --------|Switch|
                    Red   --------|------|
                |-- White             |
                |   Ground            |
                |      |              |
                |      |              |
                |      |             Black
                |      |-----X-------Ground=====> to light fixture?
                |------------X-------White

Do I have a reasonable way of adding an 'always on' outlet 3 feet away from this switch without sacrificing the 3-way functionality?

Leviton sells this device which would appear to do what I want except the outlet is located on the switch itself. Do any of the terminals on this switch provide a hot/neutral sources that I can run a 14/2 wire from?

https://www.amazon.com/Leviton-5645-W-Combination-Commercial-Grounding/dp/B000U3BULU/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=leviton+combination+switch+and+outlet+3-way&qid=1554754009&s=hi&sr=1-5

** Update **

I replaced the two switches with a Leviton WiFi Smart Switch and (3-way) Remote. This setup gives me a constant hot at the location I wanted and the outlet works without issue.

  • Can you re-run the wiring between the two switches? – ThreePhaseEel Apr 8 at 22:46
  • Not really, trying to avoid doing that. – KZ. Apr 8 at 23:07
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The solution is to replace the traditional 3-way switches with smart switches. Traditional switches need 2 travelers. There are smart switches that need only one wire for switched hot and somehow signal on that wire, freeing up a wire to use as constant hot. However you will need neutral.

If your configuration is:

  • Panel -> switch -> switch -> light

then you turn a traveler into hot.

If it is:

  • Panel -> light -> switch -> switch

then you turn a traveler into neutral. Except you have to be careful with colors so that neutral ends up with the white wire.

  • Even in the second case, while there may not currently be a neutral at the second switch, one of the travelers can be re-purposed to neutral, so it should still work. – Nate Strickland Apr 8 at 20:40
  • @NateStrickland I'm not sure how that would work. Do you know a smart switch that works that way? – manassehkatz Apr 8 at 20:45
  • Can you recommend a 3-way switch that can do this? I believe that my configuration is: Panel -> switch -> switch -> light – KZ. Apr 8 at 20:47
  • For the panel > light > switch > switch case, there is already a /3 cable between the switches for the standard 3-way switch functions -- that's enough for always-hot, neutral, and comms (if needed). Where there may be a problem is if there's only a /2 between the light and the first switch -- in that case the relay module would need to be mounted at the light fixture. But it sounds like that is not OP's situation. – Nate Strickland Apr 8 at 20:58
  • @NateStrickland thinking a bit more, I think you're correct. Instead of turning a traveler to hot, hot is there already so it is turn a traveler into neutral. – manassehkatz Apr 8 at 21:16
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You're out of luck. The 3 wires (aside from ground) at your remote location are

  • Traveler 1
  • Traveler 2
  • Neutral

Always-hot is nowhere to be found. Hot will be 1 traveler or the other, depending on the throw of the far switch.

The right answer is smart switches. See other answer.

As far as that device you linked, if you can live with keeping the original switch and having to throw this outlet's switch to make it agree with the far switch, then you can light up that receptacle under those conditions. Pigtail the travelers so they fork to both the existing light switch and also the brass screws on this switch. Then link the two black screws with a short black wire, and pigtail the silver screw to neutral.

  • Thanks @Harper. I'm going to try the smart switches out. I think that'll be the simplest solution. – KZ. Apr 8 at 21:24

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