Be it the hallway, or the stairs, a 3-way switch is great for turning something on from one side and then switching it off from the other. Wiring a 3-way switch with a single light is easy but most people get stumbled onto how to wire a 3 way switch with multiple lights. We’ll show you exactly how, step by step.
Steps to Wire a 3 Way Switch with Multiple Lights
We demonstrated our circuit with 2 lights. The steps are instructive enough and once you get the hold of connecting two lights, you can add more on the string following the exact procedure. We used your mind as our canvas and you’ll see a diagram being drawn as we proceed. We used 14/3 and 14/2 cables for wiring.
Step 1: Wire the First Switch with the Battery
From the 14/2 supply cable, connect the black wire with the black screw of the first 3-way switch. Leave the white wire as it is and you should be left with bare copper wire for the ground. Take one end of a 14/3 cable and connect the white wire from it with the previous white wire from the 14/2 cable.
You may use the twist-on wire connectors here. After that, attach the black and the red wire from the 14/3 cable to the two golden screws of the first switch. Join the bare copper wires both from the 14/2 and the 14/3 cable with the ground screw of the first switch box.
Step 2: Link the Battery to the First Light
At the other end of the just used 14/3 cable keep the 3 wires as they are, for now. Take a 14/2 cable and identify the white and black wire. Link the black wire from the 14/2 cable with the golden screw of the first light.
Form a junction by joining the two white wires from the 14/2 and the 14/3 cable. You can just connect the junction to the white screw of the first light directly. Or, you can use another white wire connecting this junction of wires with the white screw of the light. Using a twist-on connector here is advised.
Step 3: Complete the First Light
You still have to wire the red and the black ones from the first 14/3 cable. Take another 14/2 cable and attach its black wire with the black wire from the 14/3. Take the white wire the 14/2, mark it with a black marker, and connect it with the red wire from the 14/3. It’s better to use the wire connectors.
Step 3: Wire the Second Light
Go the other end of the first 14/2 cable. Link the black wire with the golden screw of the 2nd light. You still have the white wire remaining. Take another 14/3 cable and make yet another junction of white wires and attach the junction to the white screw of the light. The alternative method can be here used too.
Just like the previous method, connect the black wire from the other 2nd 14/2 cable with the black wire from the 2nd 14/3 cable. Mark the white wire of the 14/2 with a black marker in this case too, and connect it with the red wire from the 14/3.
Step 4: Connect the Second 3-way Switch to the Circuit
At the other end of the 2nd 14/3 cable, mark the white wire with a black marker and attach it to the golden screw of the 2nd 3-way switch. Take the red wire and link it with the other golden screw too. And finally, connect the black wire with the black screw of the switch.
The two 3-way switches we used did not have any ground screw. But if your one does, then connect the bare copper wire from the 14/3 cables with the ground screws. You can also connect the bare copper wires at each light fixture with the ground screws.
If you are not familiar with electrical equipment or how everything works, you should get an expert to stand by your side and guide you. They will have better understanding on 2 Way vs 3 Way vs 4 Way Switching.
Make sure that you cut off the power supply while you’re working. Double-check all the connections before powering up the circuit.
Once you have completed the circuit with 2 lights, you can do it with 3 or with 4 lights too or even to USB wall outlet. Keep on repeating the 3rd step for your new lights and you will be good to go. The ground connections are not mandatory on the screws so it’s your call.