We are installing a 3-way switch, light between switches and power into light. The light is a LED pot light. The light sits in a drop ceiling with lots of access.

We don't really need to cut the red traveler or the white (marked black) on the 14-3 cable.

So can we remove a length of the outside sheathing on the cable and then bypass the red traveler and the white around the box? The box is one of those (pretty small) rectangular boxes that comes with the light, so I'm worried about the available space (and whether it's even rated for 6 wires). Or what if we "resheathe" the sections we keep outside with some spare sheathing and tape? This wiring diagram https://www.buildmyowncabin.com/electrical/wiring-diagrams-3way-6.html,

  • 10
    +1 for stopping to ask the question instead of just doing it! You don't know what you don't know until you ask...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 8 at 14:53
  • In the end, we managed to shove all the wires into the box that comes with the round LED ceiling light, using push-in connectors instead of marettes (wire nuts): 6 push-in connectors - for white-marked-black, for black, for red, for source to light, for white to light, and for grounds.
    – Catherine
    Commented Jan 14 at 20:44

2 Answers 2


No. You can't do that.

You need a large enough box for the cables to terminate in it, (properly clamped) and the wires to (all) be inside it; and if that means you need a bigger box, you need a bigger box.

You can leave the wires you don't need in the box uncut, but you can't take them out of the box except inside a complete cable jacket. Taping them into a section of cable jacket will not do.


No, you can't do any of that. The typical solution to the "box that comes with the light isn't big enough for anything except a direct feed" is to:

  • Install another, much larger, box nearby.
  • Run the cable from the panel and the cable from the switch(es) to the new box.
  • Add a 14/2 (15A circuit) or 12/2 (15A or 20A circuit) cable from the new box to the light fixture.

The usual problem is accessibility. However, with a drop ceiling you have the advantage of being able to stick a box "wherever" above the ceiling because no tools are required to access it.

You could use something like this 4" box from Home Depot:

4" box

a 4" cover plate and 3 clamps for 1/2" or 3/4" knockouts.

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