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I've read answers to similar questions but I'm still confused. I'm trying to add an always on receptacle from the far switch of a 3 way switch circuit.

Right now the circuit is wired like this: enter image description here

I don't have an always hot or neutral at the far switch. Since I have access to the wiring at all switches and the light, I can easily completely splice the 2 cables at the light so they pass straight through to the second switch, that would give me this:

enter image description here

I'd have to run a second cable from the second switch back to the light in this case but that's not an issue.

I've heard that the answer to this is to get smart 3 way switches that only need one traveler between them, but I still don't see how that would solve the problem.

enter image description here

In this picture I'd still have to pass 3 wires out of the first switch box into the second, a black to the light, a red to the second switch and the white neutral.

This doesn't leave me any way to pass the red constant hot wire from the first switch to the second.

Am I missing something, or is what I'm trying to do not possible?

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  • Is there a reason not to run a cable for the outlet from the first switch with the hot and neutral. Outlets do not really care where the cable comes from, as long as it has hot and neutral.
    – crip659
    Commented Feb 18, 2023 at 20:40

1 Answer 1

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Since I have access to the wiring at all switches and the light, I can easily completely splice the 2 cables at the light so they pass straight through to the second switch, that would give me this:

That'll get neutral to the second switch, but it won't get always-hot there.

I've heard that the answer to this is to get smart 3 way switches that only need one traveler between them, but I still don't see how that would solve the problem.

You didn't hear from this forum that the answer is to get smart 3-way switches that need one traveler between them. We would never say that because it's wrong, as you correctly observe.

Let's use logic. For your plan to work, then in ALL your wiring:

  • Black must be always-hot
  • White must be neutral

Now we have 1 wire left, the red. We need - mandatory - to carry switched-hot, from one smart-switch or the other... to the lamp. So that crosses off the red wire. How many wires do we have left for datacomm between the two smart switches? That's right. Zero.

So you must use particular AC line-powered smart switches that use powerline-coded or wireless communication to replace a 4th telecomm wire. Such as Insteon. That solves it.

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  • It was in this thread that I first got the idea diy.stackexchange.com/questions/161689/… I didn't see any mention of wireless or powerline. That's disappointing. I was hoping it would be possible with the existing romex.
    – vincatzero
    Commented Feb 18, 2023 at 23:49
  • @vincatzero dude, I saw it mentioned. Your reading comprehension is total cr*p. I've already explained how to do it using the wiring in the walls, my last paragraph. How come you missed that? Did you fail to read it or did I fail to state it clearly? Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 2:01
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    Are you still googling "wireless" and stuff like that, try "power line signaling 3-way". Insteon as mentioned, or any of the X10 stuff. Just off the top of my head. Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 6:00
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    @vincatzero yes, that's the general idea. Someone else must make what Insteon makes. It's too useful not to make. Powerline and/or radio signaling is not that hard to implement. Heck, X10 makes it easy and X10 has been around since the 1980s. You will probably need the red wire for part of the distance from the controlling switch to the light. Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 8:38
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    Got the switches in the mail and got them installed. They worked perfectly. Got a new GFCI outlet ran off the new always-hot wire in the switch box. Thank you. Really appreciate the help
    – vincatzero
    Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 3:55

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