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Thread: Electrical Question

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member misterjw's Avatar
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    Question Electrical Question

    Hello,

    I have an issue and don't really know what to do to correct it, let me explain my situation.

    Light switch 1, located in the house, controls the overhead garage light AND the outside light over the driveway.
    Light switch 2, located in the garage, controls the overhead garage light AND the outside light over the driveway.

    I'd like to make it so that light switch 1 controls the overhead garage light only and light switch 2 controls the light over the driveway only.

    I've heard that I may have a 3-way switch in the garage, I don't know if this is the case.

    Thoughts on how to correct this?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Nuclear Engineer nukeman's Avatar
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    Yes. If both lights are controlled by two switches, then both switchs are a 3-way switch.

    What you want to do is possible, but it may not be easy. The 3-way switches would be replaced by normal switches. You will have to likely run new wire to at least one of the lights and maybe have to run a new power wire to one of the switches (it all depends how it is currently wired). If the garage has an attic space that can be accessed, the wiring probably runs through there and it may or may not be able to be corrected from there. Some wiring may be in the walls and may be difficult to replace without drywall repair.

    The way it is now, power comes from either switch, then probably goes to the overhead light, and then goes from there to the outside light. The problem is that outside light may not be directly connected to either switch (but it could be), so that is why I was saying that you would probably have to run some new wiring.

    So, you have to think of how badly you want it this way and whether it would be worth it. If it is something you would like to do, you could get some quotes and an electrician could better see how things were run and how to make it work the way you want it.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member misterjw's Avatar
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    I was hoping it would be as simple as replacing the switches and being done! Considering what you said, my feeling is that it is not worth it!

    Thanks for your time and thoughts!

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Since there are lots of ways to hook up what you have, there's no one, straightforward way to split things into two separate circuits without knowing exactly how what you have is wired. It could be quite easy, it might involve new wiring, and you don't actually have to replace the switches, but you may want to. As opposed to a 'normal' on/off switch, a 3-way has a double-pole switch - essentially a ganged set of switches, and depending on how it is wired, off could be either up or down when on/off.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5
    Nuclear Engineer nukeman's Avatar
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    You could get lucky, but more than likely it goes something like this:

    power ==> switch 1 ==> switch 2 ==> overhead light ==> outdoor light

    So, you would need to break that in a few places and branch it off (like this):


    power ==> switch 1 ==> outdoor light
    power ==> switch 2 ==> overhead light

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