3 Way Switch Wiring Diagram Power at Switch

Hello and welcome to our article on the 3 way switch wiring diagram with power at the switch. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of wiring a 3 way switch, providing you with detailed explanations and step-by-step instructions. Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or a professional electrician, this article is designed to help you understand and implement this wiring configuration effectively.

1. Understanding the Basics of a 3 Way Switch

Before we dive into the wiring diagram, let’s first understand the basic concept of a 3 way switch. A 3 way switch is commonly used to control a light fixture from two different locations. It allows you to turn the light on or off from either switch, regardless of its initial state. This is particularly useful when you have a room with multiple entrances or staircases.

2. Components Required for Wiring

Before starting the wiring process, gather the necessary components. You will need two 3 way switches, a power source, and a light fixture. Additionally, ensure you have the appropriate wiring tools, including wire cutters, wire strippers, and electrical tape.

3. Step-by-Step Wiring Instructions

Now, let’s move on to the wiring instructions. Follow these steps carefully:

  1. Turn off the power supply to the circuit you’ll be working on.
  2. Remove the existing switch cover.
  3. Disconnect the wires from the existing switch.
  4. Identify the common terminal screw on each 3 way switch and connect the power source to it.
  5. Connect the traveler wires to the remaining screws on both switches.
  6. Connect the black wire from the light fixture to the common terminal screw on the second switch.
  7. Connect the white wire from the power source to the white wire from the light fixture.
  8. Connect the remaining wires from the power source, light fixture, and switches following the wiring diagram.
  9. Secure all connections with wire nuts.
  10. Attach the switches back to the electrical box and install the switch cover.
  11. Turn on the power supply and test the switches.

4. Advantages of Power at the Switch Wiring

Wiring a 3 way switch with power at the switch offers several advantages:

  • Easy access to power source: With power at the switch, you can easily control the power supply to the switches without having to go to the light fixture.
  • Simplified troubleshooting: When there is an issue with the wiring or switches, it is easier to identify and fix the problem when the power source is located at the switch.
  • Flexibility in switch placement: Power at the switch allows you to position the switches at convenient locations, providing greater flexibility in switch placement.

5. Disadvantages of Power at the Switch Wiring

While power at the switch wiring has its advantages, it also has a few disadvantages:

  • Limited distance: The distance between the switches and the light fixture is limited due to the length limitations of traveler wires.
  • Complex wiring: Power at the switch wiring can be more complex compared to power at the light fixture, requiring careful attention to the wiring diagram.

6. Alternative Wiring Options

If power at the switch wiring is not suitable for your specific situation, there are alternative wiring options available, including power at the light fixture and power at both switches. Each option has its own advantages and considerations, so it’s essential to choose the wiring configuration that best fits your needs.

7. 3 Way Switch Wiring Diagram Power at Switch – Complete Table

Wire Color Function
Black Power Source
White Neutral
Red / Traveler Switch to Switch
Black / Traveler Switch to Light Fixture

8. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Can I use a 3 way switch for a single pole application?

A: Yes, a 3 way switch can be used for a single pole application by simply connecting the common terminal screw to either of the traveler screws.

Q: Can I use different color wires for the travelers?

A: While it is recommended to use the standard red or black wires for the travelers, you can use any color as long as you properly identify and label them.

Q: Is it necessary to turn off the power supply before working on the wiring?

A: Yes, it is crucial to turn off the power supply to ensure your safety while working with electrical wiring.


In conclusion, understanding the 3 way switch wiring diagram with power at the switch is essential for anyone looking to control a light fixture from multiple locations. By following the step-by-step instructions and considering the advantages and disadvantages, you can successfully wire a 3 way switch. Remember to prioritize safety and consult a professional if you are unsure about any aspect of the wiring process. Good luck!