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First, disclaimer: Not an electrician. I'm doing a bit of home wiring, and wanted to make sure my setup for a 3 way switch w/ dimmers works. If anyone sees problems, has complaints, knows a more elegant way, etc, please let me know. I'm always willing to take criticism.

So here is what I'm trying to do: There will be three rows of dimmable LED lights. Each row has 3 lights. Each row needs to be able to be shut off or dimmed independently of the other. Additionally, they must be able to be shut off from another switch that is located elsewhere.

The easiest way I could think of to accomplish this was with another three way switch between the dimmers and other switch. I've attached a tentative diagram of what my plan is; I apologize if the colors are strange, I know neutral is usually white, but I was on a white background so I went with orange.

The remote location is at the bottom of the stairs. There is an open stairwell which leads to a large open format room(as of yet unfinished) where the lights are. Very often I forget to shut off the work light as I leave since I need it to see getting down the stairs. It is similarly convenient to have the lights on in the room going up. Thus one switch at the bottom that I can hit if I'm leaving, or if I'm going up. I did consider using three switches, since it is probably simpler, but it seems silly to put three switches for my use.

I'm not married to the second, regular switch in there. I'm just not exactly sure the best way to make this work without it. If anyone has any pointers for that I'd be really appreciative.

Diagram Link

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    @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact that was my first thought as well, but I think actually maybe OP wants to also have the ability to turn it back on from near the dimmers, even if it was switched off in the remote location. If that's the case, this layout makes sense. – Nate S. Jan 13 at 20:51
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    @ConfusedToad, do you need them all to be able to be shut off by a single switch in another location? In other words, if it instead were 3 switches, one for each row, in the remote location, would that be okay? – Nate S. Jan 13 at 20:53
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    @NateS. I should have included this in the original post. The remote location is at the bottom of the stairs. There is an open stairwell which leads to a large open format room(as of yet unfinished) where the lights are. Very often I forget to shut off the work light as I leave since I need it to see getting down the stairs. It is similarly convenient to have the lights on in the room going up. Thus one switch at the bottom that I can hit if I'm leaving, or if I'm going up. I did consider using three switches, since it is probably simpler, but it seems silly to put three switches for my use. – ConfusedToad Jan 13 at 23:26
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    Keep in mind the stairway lighting MUST be controllable from both top and bottom of stairs, and provide usable light, regardless if somebody has turned the faraway dimmer setting to near zero. Perhaps it's time to think about smart-switch dimmers. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jan 14 at 0:24
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    @Harper-ReinstateMonica Dang. I missed that originally 210.70. That requirement changes my considerations. I'll just put a regular three way switch at the top and bottom of the stairs with some lights going directly onto the steps! This is why it always pays to ask people that know. – ConfusedToad Jan 14 at 0:49
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The remote shut-off requirement may cause you to choose between two problems:

  1. While the remote shut-off is activated the lights can't be turned on locally. Must walk to the remote location and re-enable.
  2. or, by using the 3-way as you've drawn, the lights can always be turned on locally -- but you can't tell whether they're on or off from the remote location! (assuming that the lights are not visible from the remote location)

#2 can be mitigated, for example by wiring a pilot light at the remote location.

If the remote shut-off can be three switches rather than a single switch that makes things easier. There exist three-way capable dimmers, for instance.

A simpler way to implement this is to use "smart" light switches. The Lutron Caseta family, for example. You could install three Caseta dimmers locally near the lamps and pair each one with a Pico remote installed at the remote location. The Pico remotes won't give you feedback as to whether the lamps are on or off, but you can click the off button of each one to be sure.

  • Regarding 2., the lights are very visible from the remote location. Like I posted above: I should have included this in the original post. The remote location is at the bottom of the stairs. There is an open stairwell which leads to a large open format room(as of yet unfinished) where the lights are. Very often I forget to shut off the work light as I leave since I need it to see getting down the stairs. It is similarly convenient to have the lights on in the room going up. Thus one switch at the bottom that I can hit if I'm leaving, or if I'm going up. – ConfusedToad Jan 13 at 23:28

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