Using 3-ways as s/p switches

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Would a 3-way have to wired as such per mfg instructions? I did look at a Leviton installation pdf:

http://communities.leviton.com/servlet/JiveServlet/previewBody/1942-102-1-2889/Ins CS320.pdf

Note #4:

4. Connect wires per WIRING DIAGRAM as follows:

If not connected by diagram, would this be a violation of 110.3(B)?
I first said "what the..." then I figured out there are two note #4's:roll:

If strictly following the rules, yes it probably is a violation. I will admit to using such switches for other purposes at times and therefore not using as per the diagram, as well as for the same basic usage but not with same wiring scheme as in the diagram - mostly as replacement though in an existing scheme.
 

big john

Senior Member
Location
Portland, ME
Now that we cleared that up, the snap switch doesn't need to be indicating of whether it is on or off unless it is used as a disconnecting means, but the general use switch does.
Describing other types of general-use switches still doesn't show the distinction that excludes "snap switches" from "general use."

I get where you're coming from but I just don't see how the section is written that way.
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Now that we cleared that up, the snap switch doesn't need to be indicating of whether it is on or off unless it is used as a disconnecting means, but the general use switch does.
If you accept a snap switch as a type of general use switch then it would have to follow 404.7. I agree the snap switch is a general use switch but as I stated every three way is in violation as well as dimmers etc
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
snap switch is defined in art 100 with "A form of general-use switch" in the definition.

what follows "constructed so that it can be installed in device boxes or on box covers", is what makes it different.

Art 404.7 does say "where mounted in an enclosure as described in 404.3" that section does not mention devices boxes or cover mounting but device boxes probably would be included in the definition of "enclosure" as well.

I believe they intended snap switches to not apply to 404.7, but at same time I can still see the wording not quite accomplishing that.
 

GoldDigger

Moderator
Staff member
A dimmer is not a general use switch, although it may include a similar function. It is primarily a control which is not just on/off. And I doubt anyone would try to use a dimmer as a disconnect. Same for a three way switch wired as a three way.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
A dimmer is not a general use switch, although it may include a similar function. It is primarily a control which is not just on/off. And I doubt anyone would try to use a dimmer as a disconnect. Same for a three way switch wired as a three way.
But then comes decorator style switches that do not have an on/off marking on single pole units. There must be something that allows them to be compliant.
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
A dimmer is not a general use switch, although it may include a similar function. It is primarily a control which is not just on/off. And I doubt anyone would try to use a dimmer as a disconnect. Same for a three way switch wired as a three way.
You would use the dimmer and 3 way to disconnect lights. I don't agree with you here-- no you would not use it to disconnects motors but that is not what we are talking about. A 3 way functions the same as a sp switch in that it disconnects the circuit t the light.


snap switch is defined in art 100 with "A form of general-use switch" in the definition.

what follows "constructed so that it can be installed in device boxes or on box covers", is what makes it different.

Art 404.7 does say "where mounted in an enclosure as described in 404.3" that section does not mention devices boxes or cover mounting but device boxes probably would be included in the definition of "enclosure" as well.

I believe they intended snap switches to not apply to 404.7, but at same time I can still see the wording not quite accomplishing that.
This makes sense kwire. I tend to argre with you here
 
Originally Posted by kwired
But then comes decorator style switches that do not have an on/off marking on single pole units. There must be something that allows them to be compliant.

Yes, either that or a universal selective blindness to that bit of Code.
I have always wondered about that.

What is the proper way to mount a single pole Decora switch? Push the top to turn off, or to turn on?
 

JFletcher

Senior Member
Location
Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted by kwired
But then comes decorator style switches that do not have an on/off marking on single pole units. There must be something that allows them to be compliant.



I have always wondered about that.

What is the proper way to mount a single pole Decora switch? Push the top to turn off, or to turn on?
We've always wired them push the top to turn on. O/U or 3 pole switches that switch left right, right side in is on. I dont have one in front of me, but I believe they have markings on them denoting orientation.
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Originally Posted by kwired
But then comes decorator style switches that do not have an on/off marking on single pole units. There must be something that allows them to be compliant.

I really don't think this section applies to snap switches for that reason as well as others.
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
404.7 is not about general use snap switches. It starts off with the words "General-use and motor-circuit switches, circuit breakers, and molded case switches,..."
In my opinion it does apply to general use light switches. If you search the UL Product Spec for guide categories that apply to 404.7, the search returns the category, "Snap Switches (WJQR)". The guide information (White Book) for this category says:
This category covers general-use snap switches, which are so constructed that they can be installed in flush device boxes or on outlet box covers or otherwise used in connection with wiring systems recognized by ANSI/NFPA 70, "National Electrical Code" (NEC).
 

big john

Senior Member
Location
Portland, ME
In my opinion it does apply to general use light switches. If you search the UL Product Spec for guide categories that apply to 404.7, the search returns the category, "Snap Switches (WJQR)"....
That's my thinking as well, but others make a good point, how do you reconcile that with Decora switches that have no markings?
 
inspectorjoe

inspectorjoe

your answer lies in the manufacturer's instructions and the list and labeling of the switch. UL white pages will define to you what the listing and labeling allowances are. FYI 3 ways are triple the money as SP so why waste the 3 way, the guy most likely will be doing work for the rest of his life, so save them and buy some SP's unless your in remote Alaska. your answer for me would be remove and replace with SP. :cry:
 

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
your answer lies in the manufacturer's instructions and the list and labeling of the switch. UL white pages will define to you what the listing and labeling allowances are. FYI 3 ways are triple the money as SP so why waste the 3 way, the guy most likely will be doing work for the rest of his life, so save them and buy some SP's unless your in remote Alaska. your answer for me would be remove and replace with SP. :cry:
I know it's difficult to imagine but this fellow is semi retired and has a wealth of devices in stock. According to his logic he didn't want to buy any additional materials and wanted to use up whatever he had in his warehouse. I don't think he plans on going for more than another year or two (if that).
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
your answer lies in the manufacturer's instructions and the list and labeling of the switch. UL white pages will define to you what the listing and labeling allowances are. FYI 3 ways are triple the money as SP so why waste the 3 way, the guy most likely will be doing work for the rest of his life, so save them and buy some SP's unless your in remote Alaska. your answer for me would be remove and replace with SP. :cry:
You ever been in a situation where maybe you need something relatively inexpensive yet nearest place to go to buy it is at least an hour away but you do have something a little more expensive but much less then the lost labor it would take to go get what you would like to use with you that will get the job done?

Of course there sometimes is still codes to comply with in that situation, or at least consider if it is worth the risk to bend the rules a little.
 

JFletcher

Senior Member
Location
Williamsburg, VA
You ever been in a situation where maybe you need something relatively inexpensive yet nearest place to go to buy it is at least an hour away but you do have something a little more expensive but much less then the lost labor it would take to go get what you would like to use with you that will get the job done?

Of course there sometimes is still codes to comply with in that situation, or at least consider if it is worth the risk to bend the rules a little.

Yes. A 3 way switch can be used as a SP switch but not the other way around.

Same thing goes for stocking 3 way dimmers that can dim LED. We cant always precisely know what parts we'll need for a job, nor stock everything conceivable. Just yesterday we did a call a bit off the beaten Interstate where the HO said they needed 4 black WR GFCI receptacles replaced. We buy them as we dont carry 4 of them on the truck. Get there, all receptacles are standard on a GFCI breaker. Fortunately we had those on the truck or it would have been a second wasted trip to the supply house.

btw, mfg instructions on that Leviton 3 way also specify using the screws provided; if you need longer ones, is that technically a violation?
 
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