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Thread: Switching - on plans vs. how it's installed

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  1. #1
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    Switching - on plans vs. how it's installed

    In school and in my first job (consulting), we showed on plan our three-way and four-way switches connecting into the nearest light that was on that switch circuit. I did not realize that the tracers/travelers were just run between switches and not in the same path as the circuiting to lights.

    At my new job, they show the switches connected to each other and then only one connection to the lights. This gets complicated when your switches are far apart and there are lots of things going on in between (however, they were showing 5-way, 6-way switches, with little wire whips coming from them, because they did not understand the switching diagrams, thought the numbers were based on number of switching locations).

    Question: Is there anything wrong with showing it the way I did in school and in my first job, even though that's not really how it ends up being installed? Does it confuse contractors at all? That is my boss's concern, that we would be showing it how it's not really going to be installed. As contractors, what do you usually see on plans?

  2. #2
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    You draw it and show S3 or S4 and which lights you want it to control and I'll figure out the rest.
    I can build anything you want if you draw a picture of it on the back of a big enough check.

    There's no substitute for hard work....but that doesn't mean I'm going to give up trying to find one.

    John Childress
    Electrical Inspector
    IAEI / CEI / C10
    Certified Electrical Inspector

  3. #3
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    That's my thought... why not show it connecting to the nearest light even if it's not? It's cleaner to draw and clear which switches are controlling which lights. It's not like you're going to get confused

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by apelk View Post
    That's my thought... why not show it connecting to the nearest light even if it's not? It's cleaner to draw and clear which switches are controlling which lights. It's not like you're going to get confused
    Do I have to run my wires the way they are drawn?
    "Electricity is actually made up of extremely tiny particles called electrons, that you cannot see with the naked eye unless you have been drinking."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by apelk View Post
    In school and in my first job (consulting), we showed on plan our three-way and four-way switches connecting into the nearest light that was on that switch circuit. I did not realize that the tracers/travelers were just run between switches and not in the same path as the circuiting to lights.

    At my new job, they show the switches connected to each other and then only one connection to the lights. This gets complicated when your switches are far apart and there are lots of things going on in between (however, they were showing 5-way, 6-way switches, with little wire whips coming from them, because they did not understand the switching diagrams, thought the numbers were based on number of switching locations).

    Question: Is there anything wrong with showing it the way I did in school and in my first job, even though that's not really how it ends up being installed? Does it confuse contractors at all? That is my boss's concern, that we would be showing it how it's not really going to be installed. As contractors, what do you usually see on plans?
    If someone is drawing things that don't exist like 5-ways and 6-ways, they should put down the shovel and step away from the hole. Why do we as professionals have to deal with drawings done by someone with no clue? It sounds like your current company should call your past employer and sub out the drawing of the electrical plans to them.

  6. #6
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    A neutral in every switch box!...a chicken in every pot!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speshulk View Post
    If someone is drawing things that don't exist like 5-ways and 6-ways, they should put down the shovel and step away from the hole. Why do we as professionals have to deal with drawings done by someone with no clue? It sounds like your current company should call your past employer and sub out the drawing of the electrical plans to them.
    If you think "someone" is the OP, you need to look at his profile. He is a professional and he is asking a valid question.

    In today's complex switching schemes, it is up to the EC to provide record drawings (as-builts) that show traveller piping and j-boxes for their, yes, I'll say it, 5- and 6-way switches. EC's also show power-pack, relay and contactor box locations on as-builts.

    So, go ahead DoubleE and draw like you see it, like cowboyjwc says, we'll figure it out.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremysterling View Post
    If you think "someone" is the OP, you need to look at his profile. He is a professional and he is asking a valid question.

    In today's complex switching schemes, it is up to the EC to provide record drawings (as-builts) that show traveller piping and j-boxes for their, yes, I'll say it, 5- and 6-way switches. EC's also show power-pack, relay and contactor box locations on as-builts.

    So, go ahead DoubleE and draw like you see it, like cowboyjwc says, we'll figure it out.
    If I had meant him, I would have said, "you," not, "someone." It sounds to me like he has a grasp of what should be drawn and his new employer doesn't.

    Next time you're at a supply house, ask them to give you a price quote on a 5-way or 6-way.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speshulk View Post
    If I had meant him, I would have said, "you," not, "someone." It sounds to me like he has a grasp of what should be drawn and his new employer doesn't.
    Of course. I am sorry. I realized that only after the edit function had expired on my post. My apologies for misinterpreting your comment. His new employer should consider themselves fortunate to have the OP on board.

    Quote Originally Posted by Speshulk View Post
    Next time you're at a supply house, ask them to give you a price quote on a 5-way or 6-way.
    If they have any snap, they will add up the price of (2) 3-way switches and (x-2) 4-way switches.

  10. #10
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    Hey thanks for all the replies! After a couple of hours, I gave up on staring at the screen waiting for replies (much like waiting by the phone for the boys to call in 7th grade - female here, by the way). Just happened to come back to it now.

    The other new electrical and I are going to be re-vamping standards so it's good to get some feedback on different ways of showing things. I like the sound of just putting the circuit number and tagging the switches/lights accordingly. I draw the arcs to show which lights control which switches, not intending to show how to route conduit.

    Yeah, I didn't think 5-way or 6-way switches existed unless maybe we're talking about another industry.

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