"California Three way's"

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Charlie Bob

Senior Member
Location
West Tennessee
I ran into this kind of switch today. Never seen it before.Couldn't figure it out at the moment till i read about it here. Had 4 NM wires to a juntion box , on one they cut the neutral off before entering the juntion box, other two were complete , so to speak, and a fourth wire had the hot one cut off.{ when i said neutral and hot i'm referring to white and black} What do you all think? Do you all usually rewire this? I had to replace the ceiling box they used for junction box. But i debated wether to wire it right or rewire it like it was. What would you all have done? Thanks
 

gndrod

Senior Member
Location
Ca and Wa
CA 3way

CA 3way

I ran into this kind of switch today. Never seen it before.Couldn't figure it out at the moment till i read about it here. Had 4 NM wires to a juntion box , on one they cut the neutral off before entering the juntion box, other two were complete , so to speak, and a fourth wire had the hot one cut off.{ when i said neutral and hot i'm referring to white and black} What do you all think? Do you all usually rewire this? I had to replace the ceiling box they used for junction box. But i debated wether to wire it right or rewire it like it was. What would you all have done? Thanks

Hi Charlie Bob, First up, Welcome to MH's forum. Secondly, I would have rewired the circuit into a dead ended 3-way. rbj
 

Buck Parrish

Senior Member
Location
NC & IN
As long as you are phased correctly. And the neutral goes to the light. If every thing is grounded correctly. I don't see any thing wrong with it.
 

TOOL_5150

Senior Member
Location
bay area, ca
There is only 1 kind of good california 3-way, and let me tell you - it doesnt involve wires.

oh, and just because they work, doesnt make them code compliant. wire it correctly.

~Matt
 

TOOL_5150

Senior Member
Location
bay area, ca
Is their a code reference for wiring a three way? Just curious.

Not for wiring a 3 way specifically, but there is a code reference that states you have to keep all your circuit wires together. With a Cal 3 way, you are not. I dont know the article off the top of my head - but I am sure someone will add it in.

~Matt
 

Buck Parrish

Senior Member
Location
NC & IN
So how about if you fed your switch hot on one side. The switch leg is at the other. Then 14-2 between them for your travlers.

Say you have 4 4way's between them.
 

TOOL_5150

Senior Member
Location
bay area, ca
So how about if you fed your switch hot on one side. The switch leg is at the other. Then 14-2 between them for your travlers.

Say you have 4 4way's between them.

If I understand you correctly, you are still splitting the hot and neutral conductors between 2 cables at least once in the circuit - that is not allowed. A diagram would help with this subject.

~Matt
 

Buck Parrish

Senior Member
Location
NC & IN
I have pulled many, with out a neutral. Esspecially in conduit, with thhn.
I know this is up for debate, though.
I was just wondering if it is code. I know the neutral needs to go with services , etc...
 

TOOL_5150

Senior Member
Location
bay area, ca
I have pulled many, with out a neutral. Esspecially in conduit, with thhn.
I know this is up for debate, though.
I was just wondering if it is code. I know the neutral needs to go with services , etc...

Well, on circuits not requiring a neutral, 240v - you dont need to pull a neutral. But if the circuit requires a neutral, it has to stay with the other conductors.

An exception would be a switch loop.

~Matt
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
Is their a code reference for wiring a three way? Just curious.

Yes... several:

200.7(C)(2), 300.3(B) and 404.2.

If I understand you correctly, you are still splitting the hot and neutral conductors between 2 cables at least once in the circuit - that is not allowed. A diagram would help with this subject.

~Matt


Calif3wayanim.gif
 
Last edited:

al hildenbrand

Senior Member
Location
Minnesota
Occupation
Electrical Contractor, Electrical Consultant, Electrical Engineer
310.4 is Parallel Conductors. :confused:
In the common "california 3-way", also called here "the travelling bus" the continuous hot is on a traveller and in one of the switching states, the common to common conductor is connected in parallel with it. #14 and #12 branch circuit wires are too small to pass muster for 310.4
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
In the common "california 3-way", also called here "the travelling bus" the continuous hot is on a traveller and in one of the switching states, the common to common conductor is connected in parallel with it. #14 and #12 branch circuit wires are too small to pass muster for 310.4


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