I want to wire four separate sections of lights for my basement from the same breaker. Three sections will be wired to 3 way switches, and one is a single pole. The previous set up was wired from the panel, to the lights and then to a 3 way switch. Maintaining this set up, I have wired Section 1 successfully (14/2 to the lights, 14/3 between lights, 14/2 to switchA and 14/3 to switch B. For the second 3 way switch section, I have 14/3 running ( but not yet connected ) between the 2 switches, and 14/2 from the second switch to the light fixtures and between fixtures. The 3rd 3 way section was already wired and has a 3 way wire coming into the switch box from a switch at the top of the stairs, and a 14/2 going out to the light fixture. I have not yet wired the single pole section. How do I connect the other two 3 way switches and the single pole to the power source?

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  • 1
    Your diagram lacks some information. Which switches do you intend to control which light sections? Also, will any section be controlled by more than two switches? Nov 21, 2015 at 22:10
  • Is the box marked PANEL to be the power source for all the switches and lights? Or was 3-way section 3 already wired to a different power source? Nov 21, 2015 at 22:14

1 Answer 1


Your problem is that the run from the 3 switch box to the top of the stairs doesn't have enough conductors. In addition to the hot and two switched you now have, you will need a neutral return for the new single pole section.

You could use conduit here, but there's no sense ripping out the 14/3 that's already installed. Just run a 14/2 parallel to it as shown.

I'm guessing about which switches must control which lights, but here is a suggested wiring diagram:

modified suggested wiring

B = black, W = white, R = red, where indicated. Wires not marked in the diagram are all switched, so use whatever conductors are available, and please mark the ends of them with a bit of yellow tape for future maintainers. And don't forget to hook up the equipment grounding conductors!

I have omitted the details of the lights wiring as you have already done these.

Pay special attention to the connections in section 1 as the neutral wire here is carrying the load for the entire basement.

Late Edit: I just noticed that in an earlier diagram I recommended what is a code violation in most places. Justin W. has long since finished or abandoned this project, but I don't want to mislead anyone else who might read this later.

I have modified the diagram to show which conductors should be parts of a cable, in order to satisfy modern code, balance the current flow in each cable, and avoid inductive heating, magnetic radiation, and excessive line losses.

  • nice diagram. What software did you use to create it?
    – ArchonOSX
    Dec 13, 2015 at 18:39
  • 1
    mspaint. CAD software is for babies. Dec 13, 2015 at 21:05

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