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Thread: single 'master' 3-way? switch at top of the stairs controlling 2+ zones downstairs?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    Question single 'master' 3-way? switch at top of the stairs controlling 2+ zones downstairs?

    I'd like to have the following;

    top of the stairs: a single 'master' 3-way switch?
    Bottom of the stairs: I'd like to have two or more switches, feeding two or more lighting zones...

    I'd like the switch at the top of the stairs act as Master for all the lights downstairs. This is not your standard 4-way setup in the sense that I'd like the switch a the top of the stairs power off/on everything and still be able to independently switch on/off the individual zones while I'm downstairs..

    can it be done? or do I have to X10 low voltage lighting controller the thing?

    Seems simple eh? for some reason it isn't. Area is open, I can run 14/2 & 14/3+ wires anywhere
    I've sketched the circuit out. Set a 'master' switch & the panel feed in 1 box and feed a traveler to separate 3-ways, except they both have to be in the off or on position for the master switch to do its thing. Otherwise the master will switch on what is off and off what is on.... lol

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona


    A single "master 3 way switch", whatever that is would have absolutely NO FUNCTION. It's 3-way operation only works when in series with another 3 way. From your description you want a standard toggle switch to energize two additional toggle switches. When you are downstairs turn either switch on or off, when you are upstairs turn the switch off to kill the lights and on to enable the downstairs switches to work. That is, unless you want to the 3 way to do something you did NOT describe in the original posting, in which case you might want TWO 3 way switches so you could activate or deactivate the individual switches from upstairs or downstairs.

  3. #3


    Is it really that hard to turn off two switches upstairs?

    You are lazier than I am

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