I have a wiring diagram that is similar to what I have but not quite. I have power running into the rest of the new school room but am unsure what my screw up is on this DIY project.

For clarity, I have the power source running into the first of 5 light fixtures, followed by 2 three-way switches at the end. Each of the light fixtures are the flat LED can less lights with a junction box [pigtails are fully enclosed with the clear push in connections inside].

Essentially, it looks similar to this diagram I found online.enter image description here

However, I do not have traveller wires between light fixtures. Are they essential to making the lights work?

I did use black wire to black wire separate from the light pigtails with the white wire coming back from the switch taped black for my tracking. Black taped wire going into black pigtail, unlabeled white wire going into white pigtail.

Everything shows hot when I use a non-contact voltage tester but I have no working lights and switches do not help change that (no matter the order o hit them in).

Help please?

Edit 1: pictures are from the actual wiring in the subject. These start from the end of the circuit where power runs into the first light. Last picture will be the end of the circuit. So light [5x] then two switches. Also, upon taking pictures, I did observe at least one nick that has been covered.

Light 1

Light 2

Light 3

Light 4

Light 5

Switch 1

Switch 2

  • 1
    travelers do not go to the light, only from one to the other 3 way switch
    – Traveler
    Commented Mar 31 at 2:58
  • I have the traveller between the 2 three-way switches. It's hooked up as shown but still nada.
    – Justin
    Commented Mar 31 at 5:06
  • I am dubious about the diagram matching reality, plus that diagram is actually not legal in most areas now due to NEC changes. So pictures and/or clear description of what wires/cables go into each box and what is in each box (switch, light, etc.) would help a lot. Commented Mar 31 at 15:44
  • 1
    If it's actually wired that way it should work, which suggests something's amiss. Can you post pictures of the actual wiring at the switches and lights? As an aside, code now requires a neutral in switchboxes, so the 2-wire cable between the left light and upper switchbox would need to be a 3-wire to carry neutral into the switchbox, even though it will be capped and unused. You may not need it in the other switchbox, someone more knowledgable can address that.
    – Mark
    Commented Mar 31 at 15:45
  • The diagram shows 3 wire cable between light boxes, with the black wire carrying always hot through the boxes to the first switch, and the red carrying the switched hot from the switches back to the lights. However, I don't see any red wires in any of the light boxes - are they hidden behind something?
    – Mark
    Commented Apr 1 at 18:56

2 Answers 2


You have no neutral to the lights. In the first light box you have the incoming hot connected to the black wire going to the next light box correctly. But the incoming neutral has been incorrectly taped to designate it as a hot wire, and is connected to the black wire going to the first light. The white wire from the first light is connected to the white wire going to the next light in the series.

You need to replace the /2 cables between lights with /3 cables so you can carry hot, switched hot, and neutral to each light box. As long as you're doing that, you should also put a /3 cable between the last light box and the first switch box so you'll have neutral there.


Yes, for the 3-way setup like in your picture, it won't work without the traveler running between the lights. You need always-on power to make it to the switches, you need switched power coming back from the switches to the lights, and you need neutral at each light, so you need the travelers.

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