Travellers, Common, and separate power in same conduits

Adamjamma

Senior Member
Ok, I have a complicated design that I am trying to figure out for a customer in a house in Jamaica. Told my architect friend I would take a look at what his customer wants and see what could be done...
Customer wants 4 bedrooms to all control one set of hall lights, and also have other lights in rooms on four ways, etc...

Now, I normally, in US, would just run 3 wire plus grounds for the 3 and 4 way travellers, from switch to switch, with the power run on its own... but in Jamaica we have to figure out conduits paths, least amount of conduits, etc.

Got to thinking and am probably wrong, but...
The common that I run with the two travelers and the ground between switch locations, that is simply a neutral, right?
So if I am running a neutral, live and ground for feeding other switches in the same conduit, do I need the common? Or the Ground, for the three way or four way circuit? Because I already have the ground and neutral from the same breaker in the conduits for feeding the power to the other switches?

I mean, I know that if I am running a system where I have lighting circuits coming from different breakers I run separate boxes usually to make sure I do not cross the neutral and ground ... like whe I run stairs lighting and hallway lighting, stairs is kept separate...
But, if all the circuits are on same breaker, then isn't the neutral and ground the same? Thus the common is the same as the neutral for all the lights?

Or am I thinking too much and just need to put in the bigger conduit? In one spot, sharing the neutral and the commons would save me three wires in the conduit...lol...
 

WarrMann

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta, GA
You're conflating commons and neutrals with respect to a 3 way switch. In a 3 way switch, the common is the power feed, and the return to the light. Your neutural needs to go to the light, its got nothing to do with your switching.

Take a step back, and draw out the switching circuit. That will allow you to count up your wires without thinking after you know your drawing will work.

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WarrMann

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta, GA
And you always need the ground, whether its a conduit or a conductor. Don't even bother trying to figure out where you don't need to bring the ground, you'll lose every time

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Adamjamma

Senior Member
Ok..the ground is in every conduit, but I dont need three grounds in the conduit if three circuits are in the conduit...

The three and four ways are always fed, in these cases, from the switch nearest the panel box, run through from switch to switch location, then last switch location is only one feeding lights.. so the common is not a return to the lights... The travellers are only hots on a switch circuit... so the neutral and the ground in the conduit could be for either the other switch locations where other switches are being fed from breaker, or for the travellers?

I mean, I am not dealing with frame construction but concrete construction here, so not easy to say just throw another lighting circuit from the panel location to the lighting location... I have to get these things set up before the concrete or rebar is in place..lol...
Case in point... I have to draw it up on my end, send to architect, who send in plans to council for approval, for a house that will hopefully start being built in July, and I am supposed to be there in August to put in my first conduits..lol.. But am hoping this guys house will help pay for some of what I need to do in my own house...
But, if I was feeding the lighting point with the power, then running the power from there to the switches, and back to the light, the travellers and the common would all be live.
However, I am feeding one end of the switches with power, then looping switch location to switch location, through either a three way or four way switch... while feeding other switches in that location with the power circuit as well, and then at the last switch location, feeding the lights with the output of the three way switch, the neutral and the ground. So, I think it will work, without an extra common running with each pair of travellers...

Circuit for hallway is a 3way at nearest bedroom, to a around four 4 ways then back to a three way... then to the light. Conduit will have a ground and a neutral and a power or live in it to feed other switches at the same locations the different fourways are at...
So, will have neutral and ground at every switch location...
 

WarrMann

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta, GA
It seems like you're on the right path.

One ground for all the circuits, and one neutral PER circuit. I prefer to avoid mwbc in a home for things like lighting and general outlets.

Your neutral is never a traveler. You can re color your white conductor to be a traveler, but there's no need for that if you're pulling wire through conduit.

IMO Your plan to pull a hot and neutral to every switch box is the right way to go, as opposed to switch legs down the wall.

If i was doing this job i would pull a black and a white into every switch box for power, and use red and blue for travelers.


Good luck with the job. How does licensing work down there?

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Adamjamma

Senior Member
You are supposed to submit electrical plans with the architects plans for any home that will have a supply larger than 60 amps. Most foreigners and returning residents want more lights, appliances, etc... and want it right... so they prefer to do it all at one time, get the approvals.. etc... especially when they want the stuff put in at the beginning rather than all the walls being destroyed by the channeling for conduits, etc... think of it like building a home using ICF type of building work...

plus, using conduits, you want least amount of conduits, wires etc...

now, the long term locals usually start with a small structure... one or two rooms and a bathroom... less than fifty amps so no plans needed, just the inspection to allow the meter...
they then build additions, left and right, going up three floors, and never see another inspector sometimes... because the power is already connected.

edited..it is closer to the English system in that you certify that you did your work correctly... if the customer loses the receipt you gave them..there is no trace then of who did the work.. except when the first work was done and inspected for the meter to be connected...
Unless the home is sold, then it all needs inspectedfor the new meter to get installed
 

gar

Senior Member
190115-0859 EST

Use GE RR relays and make it real simple.

You never want to create open loops in wiring. Thus, in a circuit if current to a load is flowing in one wire, then the wire path of the returning current must be in close proximity to said "one wire". Otherwise you create stray magnetic fields.

Take a wire and form it into a circle. Inside and outside the circle you will find a substantial magnetic field from a current in the wire. Keeping the same wire and current collapse the circle into a hairpin shape making the wires as close as possible together. Now the field outside the wire pair is greatly reduced for the same current.

.
 

Gary11734

Senior Member
Location
Florida
Ok, I have a complicated design that I am trying to figure out for a customer in a house in Jamaica. Told my architect friend I would take a look at what his customer wants and see what could be done...
Customer wants 4 bedrooms to all control one set of hall lights, and also have other lights in rooms on four ways, etc...

Now, I normally, in US, would just run 3 wire plus grounds for the 3 and 4 way travellers, from switch to switch, with the power run on its own... but in Jamaica we have to figure out conduits paths, least amount of conduits, etc.

Got to thinking and am probably wrong, but...
The common that I run with the two travelers and the ground between switch locations, that is simply a neutral, right?
So if I am running a neutral, live and ground for feeding other switches in the same conduit, do I need the common? Or the Ground, for the three way or four way circuit? Because I already have the ground and neutral from the same breaker in the conduits for feeding the power to the other switches?

I mean, I know that if I am running a system where I have lighting circuits coming from different breakers I run separate boxes usually to make sure I do not cross the neutral and ground ... like whe I run stairs lighting and hallway lighting, stairs is kept separate...
But, if all the circuits are on same breaker, then isn't the neutral and ground the same? Thus the common is the same as the neutral for all the lights?

Or am I thinking too much and just need to put in the bigger conduit? In one spot, sharing the neutral and the commons would save me three wires in the conduit...lol...
I am not sure of what the intent your friend is trying to do.

How you are running your power circuit after you accomplish this would make a difference. If this was the only circuit and you were not carrying the hot to another destination, then you would need, the travelers, and the neutral for the light itself to complete the path back to the panel. The power has been connected to the first three way. So, (not including any green wire bond in pipe) Travelers from first three way heading to first four way, then next four way, etc, plus neutral, three wires. I would assume the hot or power wire would extend pass this lighting for other uses so you would include it in the pipe fill, 4 wires... Add a green, or bond wire, five.

I have plenty here to correct me if I have my count wrong...

Since you have a pipe issue, and I have no idea what is the best way you can accomplish this. It's hard to know what is the final count per pipe since I have no idea if you are trying to put the travelers up with the lightbox run, or run separately.
 

Adamjamma

Senior Member
it looks like you are following what I am doing. The travellers for the hallway are in effect one switched live but two wires. The power circuit for the xtra supply of power for other switches, other lighting circuits, etc.. is one black and one white wire, so now four wires, and the ground is 5. All the way along until we get to the last switch in the series, when the outgoing conduit, going to the lights in the hall, is one black, from the three way switch, and one neutral and one ground...

Difference in bedrooms, where we have the fans with lights on them is the two sets of travellers running from box to box, one for the fan and one for the light, final box of 3 ways feeding the light and fan...

Now, if I was feeding power up at the lights and dropping from the lights to the switches, there I would need the common to return the live back to the light box... but there I would also run into a box fill problem due to all the switching wires going through the spiderwork of conduits...
Customer wants switches on 4 walls in their master bedroom, each spot controlling 3 different lights and a fan..lol... this shyte gets looking complicated, and I also will not actually pull any wires for around 2 years from now, so I gotta make sure I got it all documented on exactly how I am going to do it...lol...
 

Gary11734

Senior Member
Location
Florida
it looks like you are following what I am doing. The travellers for the hallway are in effect one switched live but two wires. The power circuit for the xtra supply of power for other switches, other lighting circuits, etc.. is one black and one white wire, so now four wires, and the ground is 5. All the way along until we get to the last switch in the series, when the outgoing conduit, going to the lights in the hall, is one black, from the three way switch, and one neutral and one ground...

Difference in bedrooms, where we have the fans with lights on them is the two sets of travellers running from box to box, one for the fan and one for the light, final box of 3 ways feeding the light and fan...

Now, if I was feeding power up at the lights and dropping from the lights to the switches, there I would need the common to return the live back to the light box... but there I would also run into a box fill problem due to all the switching wires going through the spiderwork of conduits...
Customer wants switches on 4 walls in their master bedroom, each spot controlling 3 different lights and a fan..lol... this shyte gets looking complicated, and I also will not actually pull any wires for around 2 years from now, so I gotta make sure I got it all documented on exactly how I am going to do it...lol...
Draw how you are going to run the conduit from point to point. We can help you with the wiring... Post the pictures and I can AutoCad the thing for you with wire counts per pipe. No way I can figure out what you are trying to do or counts in the pipe if I don't know the final piping scheme or intent of the owner
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
So I follow for the hallway light, anyone who leaves one of the 4 bedrooms wants to be able to turn on the hallway light, go do their thing, then turn the light off when they go back into the bedroom?
 

Adamjamma

Senior Member
That is actually what the owner wants, and has a switch also at the stairway.. actually two at the stairs..oneif you go up to the next level and one if you go down. I think’ it is overkill but... he is paying for it... toldhim he may need to bring the four way switches with him.
Customer wants a bunch of three ways... House has four floors as designed, two staircases, and he wants the lights for each section. I would have run all the lights for the staircase as one switch at each floor, but he wants each section separate.
hoping I get it drawn up right for him because it should be a decent paycheck for me compared to most of my jobs... he is talking about shipping in all the switches, panels, breakers, etc... no searching at twenty places on the island for the stuff...
 

Adamjamma

Senior Member
Draw how you are going to run the conduit from point to point. We can help you with the wiring... Post the pictures and I can AutoCad the thing for you with wire counts per pipe. No way I can figure out what you are trying to do or counts in the pipe if I don't know the final piping scheme or intent of the owner
i think I have it to where I am running my voltage drop checks and such. Complicated but...

normally do not run this many three way four way three way circuits while also having to run other switches from areas, much less such a large house. I suggested that I would prefer running larger conduits such as 3/4 rather than 1/2 or 1 inch instead of 3/4, and his response was if I thought the it right, do it, but he would have his company electrician double check that everything was safe. Then he said he would rather larger wire than wire too small..lol..

Guess I should worry about making the drawings right..lol...
 

Gary11734

Senior Member
Location
Florida
i think I have it to where I am running my voltage drop checks and such. Complicated but...

normally do not run this many three way four way three way circuits while also having to run other switches from areas, much less such a large house. I suggested that I would prefer running larger conduits such as 3/4 rather than 1/2 or 1 inch instead of 3/4, and his response was if I thought the it right, do it, but he would have his company electrician double check that everything was safe. Then he said he would rather larger wire than wire too small..lol..

Guess I should worry about making the drawings right..lol...
You get a .pdf or .dwg drawing from your architect and I will help you if you like.

Worst-case scenario, based on what you have in mind, 3/4". But, if you are combining more than one circuit that ends up in another part of the house, no way I could guarantee it being right.

OK, How many 3- ways will you be using, which will be two per switch light, fan, or receptacle on the same switches? That will give us a better idea.

You can chain a thousand four ways with two 3-ways. So, knowing the number of 3-ways would clue us into what he's doing. Remember, two 3 ways make a set. Do not let the four ways get you confused. They just break the traveler wires anywhere between the two three ways to do the switching.
 

myspark

Senior Member
Location
SCV Ca, USA
Occupation
Retired EE
i think I have it to where I am running my voltage drop checks and such. Complicated but...

normally do not run this many three way four way three way circuits while also having to run other switches from areas, much less such a large house. I suggested that I would prefer running larger conduits such as 3/4 rather than 1/2 or 1 inch instead of 3/4, and his response was if I thought the it right, do it, but he would have his company electrician double check that everything was safe. Then he said he would rather larger wire than wire too small..lol..

Guess I should worry about making the drawings right..lol...
Jama Man,

These 4-ways and 3-ways are dinosaurs :D

Look into wireless products like PowerHouse X-10. One set of receiver/transmitter can control a maximum 16 individual light fixture or one fixture that can be controlled from 16 different locations. This operates on low frequency band (don't ask me what frequency band lol).

The transmitter plugs into an outlet while the receivers are battery operated. My battery for family room lasts about two years from two AA dry cells.
There are several NICE features that come with the unit like free apps that will run on Windows if you like.

The main receiver (the one where the light is actually hooked up) mounts in a regular single gang box.

The additional switches can be mounted on the wall with velcro. The one that I heve in the master bedroom has been there since my daughter was in high school . . .and she is now married for years.

If this is something your Architect or owner might be interested in. . .just google PowerHouse X-10.

It will take them from the Jurassic Period to the era of trolls :D
 

Gary11734

Senior Member
Location
Florida
Jama Man,

These 4-ways and 3-ways are dinosaurs :D

Look into wireless products like PowerHouse X-10. One set of receiver/transmitter can control a maximum 16 individual light fixture or one fixture that can be controlled from 16 different locations. This operates on low frequency band (don't ask me what frequency band lol).

The transmitter plugs into an outlet while the receivers are battery operated. My battery for family room lasts about two years from two AA dry cells.
There are several NICE features that come with the unit like free apps that will run on Windows if you like.

The main receiver (the one where the light is actually hooked up) mounts in a regular single gang box.

The additional switches can be mounted on the wall with velcro. The one that I heve in the master bedroom has been there since my daughter was in high school . . .and she is now married for years.

If this is something your Architect or owner might be interested in. . .just google PowerHouse X-10.




It will take them from the Jurassic Period to the era of trolls :D

OK, the word velcro is in your thread. Sign me up! I know right there it's good.

I'm closer to Neanderthal than Jurassic! :)
 

Gary11734

Senior Member
Location
Florida
Jama Man,

These 4-ways and 3-ways are dinosaurs :D

Look into wireless products like PowerHouse X-10. One set of receiver/transmitter can control a maximum 16 individual light fixture or one fixture that can be controlled from 16 different locations. This operates on low frequency band (don't ask me what frequency band lol).

The transmitter plugs into an outlet while the receivers are battery operated. My battery for family room lasts about two years from two AA dry cells.
There are several NICE features that come with the unit like free apps that will run on Windows if you like.

The main receiver (the one where the light is actually hooked up) mounts in a regular single gang box.

The additional switches can be mounted on the wall with velcro. The one that I heve in the master bedroom has been there since my daughter was in high school . . .and she is now married for years.

If this is something your Architect or owner might be interested in. . .just google PowerHouse X-10.

It will take them from the Jurassic Period to the era of trolls :D
I don't know if you want to leave all the pipe out of a new house right now for the product your talking about.

But, it's a good product none the less...
 

rt66electric

Senior Member
Location
Oklahoma
Jamaica Does it have "american style" wiring or "European Style" wiring

Jamaica Does it have "american style" wiring or "European Style" wiring

Jamaica Does it have "american style" (110v) wiring or "European Style"(230v) wiring ????
 

myspark

Senior Member
Location
SCV Ca, USA
Occupation
Retired EE
OK, the word velcro is in your thread. Sign me up! I know right there it's good.

I'm closer to Neanderthal than Jurassic! :)
Didn't Fred Flintstone have those receivers mounted on the cave wall?

You are 64 million years younger than the dinosaurs. Cool.
So you belong to the Flintrock quarry rock band then.?

Fred Flintstone's receivers were mounted on the wall with rare earth neodymium magnets for easy removal.
There were no cheap Chinese velcro then.:cool:
 
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