Beggginer 3-way switch question....

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I would like to start using home automation equipment.  I currently
rent so I'm not looking to rewire the house or anything, but I thought
I would start with wall switches and a few appliance modules.  Here's
my question:  Nearly every light in my apartment is toggled between 2
switches.  So for example my hallway has 2 switches, one at both ends.
Both switches will turn the lights in the hallway on or off when
switched.  How do I integrate wall switch modules into this setup?  Do
I need a special switch or will any x10 switch work?  Do I replace both
wall switches?  Is there a way to keep the toggle working for manual
switching but still be able to run automated programs?  Thank for any

Re: Beggginer 3-way switch question....

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CAUTION:  Touching any of the 'in-wall' wiring requires the permission
and consent of the landlord.  In most cities the law also requires that
you be a _licensed_electrician_ to do such work in a multi-family dwelling.

Any switches you _do_ install, also become the property of the landlord.
You cannot legally remove them when you move out -- without the express
permission of the landlord at that time -- *even*if* you are 'replacing'
them with the 'original' things that were there when you moved in.

Re: Beggginer 3-way switch question....

On Thu, 22 Sep 2005 17:33:12 -0700, jaedend wrote:

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You have what are usually referred to as "3-way" switches.

Assuming your lights are all incandescent, you can uses the X10
WS4777 3-way module kit which comes with one master and one slave
switch. (They won't work with fluorescent or compact fluorescent
They're push-on/push-off rather than toggle, and can be remotely
controlled on/off/dim via X10 power line signals as well as manually
operated on/off.
See: <

It's been reported that the push-button mechanism of this type
of X10 wall switch is not particularly long-lived.  Leviton makes
3-way X10-compatible switches with reportedly better long term
mechanical reliability but they're _considerably_ more expensive.

You can also check out 3-way switches in one of the 'Linc lines
<>, however their reliability has been
called into question by some usually knowledgeable contributors
to this newsgroup.

Caution: Some X10-compatible switches require a neutral wire in
the switch box, and it's doubtful your apartment is wired this
way.  (The WS4777 does not require a neutral.)

I have nine X10 push-button wall switches (single, not 3-way)
which have been in daily operation for about 8 years, with one
failure (electrical, not push-button) during that time.  BUT ...
they're primarily controlled by X10 signals and only occasionally
operated manually.

Re: Beggginer 3-way switch question....

Thank you for the info.  Does it matter which switch goes where?  or
are the master and slave interchangable?

Re: Beggginer 3-way switch question....

On Sat, 24 Sep 2005 08:19:36 -0700, jaedend wrote:

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Either switch can go at either end of the run.  The slave switch
is actually just a momentary-contact normally-open mechanical
switch - no electronics. So if one end of the run happens to be
subject to extremes of temperature, like an unheated garage,
that'd be the end to put the slave.

Read the installation instruction carefully.  Although the X10
3-way switches use the same set of wires as your mechanical
switches, they're different beasts and you've got to keep the
wires straight.  Get help if you don't understand how 3-way
mechanical switches work.


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