After totally re-shape my stairwell i got some issue to re-cable my double switch.

I tried a lot of combinaisons, read some docs but nothing works...

Here is the settings:

That switch is a double one, it's located on the first floor landing.

The first switch command a lamp located between the ground floor and the first floor. Only 2 switch can light the lamp up, this switch and one located in the dinning room.

The second part of the switch command a lamp located btw the 1st and the 2nd floor, this lamp can be light up with 3 switch, the one i can't setup and two others on the 2nd floor.

Where i want to setup the switch

i got 2 wire which comes from the downstairs: one brown and one orange.

I got 3 wire come from upstairs: one red and 2 orange

I also got a brown wire which wich come throught the wall, from a lamp in the bedroom


Do you have any tips to make it works ? It used to works properly but i can't figure out what was the correct setup

J'ai deux fils qui viennent du bas : un orange et un marron J'ai trois fils qui viennent du haut: un rouge, deux oranges et bizarrement, j'ai un fil marron qui fait juste la jointure entre cet intérrupteur et celui de la chambre - interrupteur simple juste de l'autre coté du mur.

  • I may not be able to give you an answer, but can you determine which wire in one box is continuous live from the breaker panel. The other wires may need to be traced, as the end of the wire on the second floor is the same wire in the first floor and so on. A small sketch will help immensely.
    – Jack
    Jan 12, 2014 at 14:29

2 Answers 2


Sorry about using this as an extension of the comment, there is no place in the comments for sketches to depict what is needed.

This is an illustration to add to the comment I made about a wiring diagram, to help show my referral to a small sketch. It can be a simple line drawing. scanned and posted or drawn with a program on your computer, like Paint for Windows or a Mac equivalent.

enter image description here

It would need to be made a little more extensive to cover all floors.

It really should take an electrician with a tone box to diagnose where the wires go to and from.... But there is hope as long as the conditions are described accurately

  • This diagram would be more useful as an answer if it actually showed how a dual switch/single light was wired and another showing how a triple switch/single light was wired.
    – Michael Karas
    Jan 12, 2014 at 15:25
  • 1
    The context of the "answer" was not (an answer), as I mentioned, it is a follow up to the comment, There is no way to get an sketch in the comment section to show what kind of sketch is needed, so the answer box was handy...
    – Jack
    Jan 12, 2014 at 20:20

You have 3-way switches. They have 3 separate binding screws and/or push in holes. One is a unique color or otherwise identified as common. The wires will either be travelers going to other switches, a wire supplying power from the distribution, box, or a wire to the light.

The common screw will always connect to either power or light wires. Travelers always connect to the other screws. It never matters which traveler connects to which un-common screw.

It's probably safe to assume the wires from downstairs is for the downstairs light switch and the ones from upstairs for the upstairs switch. You can almost hook things up in any configuration and nothing bad will happen. Things may not work, but there will not be any shorts, fires, smoke, etc.

There are a couple exceptions you must alway avoid. Never connect neutral (blue) to any switch. Pretty easy. Never connect wires from separate circuits to the same lighting switch. Obvious in theory, but it's not always easy to tell when staring into a box full of wires.

For each switch, you need to decide which is the power or light wire and connect it to the common screw. Connect the other two either way to the other screws. If you picked fully randomly, you have a 1:3 chance of being right. If it doesn't work, try one of the other two. You'll get it eventually. I would guess the red goes to the light and should be common, the two orange are travelers and go to the un-common screws. Note I said it's a guess. It's impossible to know for sure without testing.

The downstairs switch is bit different. There's only 2 wires and we need 3. We must have two travelers from the other switch, so these must be the wires from downstairs. That would leave the bedroom wire as a power supply. Is the downstairs brown wire marked in any way? That would be a good thing. If there's any chance the two brown wires carry power from different circuits, it could be a really bad situation. But there doesn't seem to be any other way to reasonably connect all 3 screws to wires.

What could also change the equation is if there was any short wire connecting the 2 switches. There wasn't was there? If not, my best guess is the brown bedroom wire to the common screw and the other 2 from downstairs to the remaining screws. Once again, this is a guess, but since the wire from the bedroom cannot be a traveler or light wire, it must be power.

Take this information as educational. I'm not telling you what to do, I'm telling you what I think the situation is. Use the information provided to decide for yourself what to do. This may include calling an electrician if you have any doubt. Electricity is nothing to chance any mistakes with.

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