Project description: Replaced 2 ceiling light fixtures with 4 recessed LED lights on 3-way circuit. Also replaced (2) 3-way switches, one with dimmer and one standard, and (1) standard 2-way switch feeding outside porch light.enter image description here

Problem: Can't get both 3-way switches to operate the 4 new recessed lights independently. Currently, in order for the 3-way dimmer switch (on right) to turn lights off/on, the 3-way standard switch (on left) needs to be flipped. I feel like I've tried every possible wire combination tied to the 3-way switches but no luck. The 2-way switch controlling outside porch light worked fine with every combination I tried, and it makes sense with power from breaker connected directly to switch for porch light.

I can add more pictures or answer any questions to clarify anything. Thanks a lot for any help or advice.

OPTION - based on feedback from first post and looking back at the Lutron Diva CL 3-way switch diagrams, heres a new drawing of what seems like a solution. Really appreciate any/all feedback.enter image description here

  • I tested your idea and the lights didn’t work. So then I ended up swapping the 3-way dimmer switch with the standard 3-way switch and wired according to the second drawing attached. Switches now work independently BUT when I turn lights off from either switch and leave off for more than 10 seconds, then turn back on, the two LEDs on left side come back on with what looks like about 50% power. Any ideas?
    – joshw
    Jul 26, 2019 at 5:29
  • If you followed the instructions below from @DoxyLover and everything is working correctly except for the two dim lights then you should start another post with that problem. That will get the attention of some of the electrical experts who have experience troubleshooting problems like that. . Jul 26, 2019 at 13:48

1 Answer 1


Looking at your diagram, you are using the white wire as hot to the left-hand switch and black and red as travelers between the two 3-way switches. On the left-hand switch, you will find (excluding the green ground screw) one terminal looks different, probably a different color) than the other two. This is where the white wire goes. The black and red wires go to the other two terminals. Your diagram implies that this is wired wrong as you show the black wire going to the separate side of the switch.

Two more comments: (1) I’m assuming that you also have ground wires running everywhere that you just haven’t shown. If not, stop and get a professional to help before you kill someone! (2) You should add black tape to the ends of that white wire to show that it is not a neutral wire.

  • Thanks for the feedback. I feel like I tried the white wire connected on the left (single screw side) of the switch on the left but maybe not. I will definitely give that a try.
    – joshw
    Jul 25, 2019 at 19:40
  • (1) - unfortunately the house was built in the 60's and haven't seen a lot of ground wires throughout, but I will attach another diagram showing ground, and another option for wiring that seems to make sense. Would be great to get some more feedback. (2) - I'll definitely tag that white wire, thanks!
    – joshw
    Jul 25, 2019 at 19:48
  • SOLUTION - I ended up swapping the dimmer and standard 3-way switches but still followed advice from DoxyLover, realizing my white wire was connected to hot (black) coming from breaker. With white being power supply to 3-way dimmer switch, that left black and red as runners. Thanks DoxyLover! Seems so obvious now lol.
    – joshw
    Jul 26, 2019 at 15:13

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