Data's Blog

Archive for February, 2009

Electric conundrum Round 2

by on Feb.08, 2009, under Misc Projects

Back at it again. Getting my hands dirty (literally, old electric tape) again with wires.

But this one has left me puzzled beyond puzzled.

The task:
Unlike my last one, where I wanted to free a plug from the evil switch, I got a plug here that needs some control.

The desired setup is that a 3 way switch in the hall will control the plug. A second 3 way switch is in the dinning room, controlling said plug.

Power comes through switch in dinning room, box currently has 5 wires coming in – 3 traditional ones with just black and white wires, 2 with the red, black and white.

Fig 1 - Drawing of wiring

Fig 1 - Drawing of wiring

Again, some wire designations:

In the box, 5 wires are coming in. thus W2:black indicates the black wire coming from the wire labeled W2.

And again, since using a white background, blue indicates the white wire.

Switch one – Controls a light in the dining room. Switch one and Switch two are on the same wall side by side in the same box.

Plug – the plug we want to have controlled by switches two and three. Switch 3 is in the hallway, about 20 feet or so from this mess.

After crawling around in the attic, I traced the wires so:

W1 – Powers the light in ceiling of dining room, and powers a plug across the room -based on initial setup, explained below
W2 – powers an other plug – based on initial setup, explained below
W3 – wire from plug we want to control with SW 2 and 3
W4 – Wire from SW3
W5 – Provides power to entire mess.

Initial wiring:

W1:Black + W2:black + W5:black – Wired together, and attached to SW1 (Top black point)
W1:Red – attached to SW1 (Bottom black point)
W1:White + W2:White + W3:White + W5:White – wired together

W3:Black + W4:Black – wired together
I don’t remember the exact wiring for the rest of W4’s wires. I do know that when I first opened it up SW2 had a broken black wire attached to the one pole. And I believe the W4:Red was wired to the switch, can’t remember about W4:White.

With this setup, SW1 turns on and off a light in the dining room, and provides power to 2 plugs.

Interestingly, as a result of this setup, W1:Red is always powered, even when SW1 is turned off – I checked and as far as I can tell, W1:Red is not attached to any wire up in the light box. As soon as I disconnect W5:Black from W1:Black, W1:Red looses its power.

To further add to the dilemma, the plug we want to control has two wires coming in. One enters the box as W3, the other I don’t know where it goes.

the 4 wires connect to the plug, 2 black on the left – top and bottom posts, 2 white on the right, top and bottom posts. Neither wire has power, so I’m assuming that it is getting power from the light switch mess in the dining room.

SW3 wiring is:

SW3:Red – W4:red
SW3:Green – W4:Black
SE3:Black – W4:White

I think – its 1am, not thinking clearly any more 😀

help please!

What a mess

What a mess


Did some more looking at it today – just got more confused.

I drew this one up, its a simpler diagram (I hope) and gets rid of the wires that aren’t part of the circut

Simpler Diagram

Simpler Diagram

And a new twist – combining the black wire from power to the BL1 wire on the plug, and the white from power with W1 from plug, the SW2 becomes energized… I am so lost 🙁

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