Electrical Wiring Installation

Staircase Wiring Circuit Diagram – How to Control a Lamp from 2 Places by 2-Way Switches?

How to Control One Lamp from Two Different Places using 2-Way Light Switches (Staircase Wiring Diagram) ?

Two Way Switch or Three Way Switch: “Three-way” is the North American (USA) term for this type of switch used in the following tutorial. Most English-speaking countries (UK/EU) call them “two-way”. The term for the pair of wires connecting the two switches also varies: “strappers” to the British and “travelers” to the US.

Please don’t kill me to mention it 2-Way switch instead of 3-Way switch as whatever we have used is the same thing for specific purpose.

In today basic electrical wiring installation tutorial, we will discuss step by step method of staircase wiring installation by using 2-way switches (SPDT = Single Pole Double Through Switch). Also, the same wiring circuit diagram can be used for 2-way lighting or controlling electrical appliances from two different places by using two-way switches. The main purpose of two way switching circuit is that the appliances can be ON / OFF independently from any switch, no matter whatever is the current position of the switch.

Staircase Wiring Circuit Diagram Connection

Below is old-school staircase wiring circuit diagram. Here we can control a bulb from two different places by using two 2-way switches.

Staircase wiring circuit diagram - How to control a lamp from two different places by two 2-way switches?

Working & Operation of Staircase Wiring – 2-Way Light Switching

Consider the above 2-way switch wiring diagram which has been used to control a bulb in staircase. The schematic shows that circuit is completed and bulb is ON. Suppose you want to OFF the bulb from the upper switch at top of stair ( (upper portion of staircase) ) simply Switch OFF the switch then circuit will break and the bulb will be OFF. To switch ON the bulb again, just switch ON the same switch at upper portion of staircase. In other words you can OFF and ON bulb from upper switch at the top of stair. Obviously; you can perform the same operation from the bottom switches installed in staircase.

Now, let’s see how we can do that from the other switch installed at the bottom of stair.Staircase wiring diagram - How to control a lamp from two different places by two 2 way switches

For this purpose, consider the figure given above. In this case, you can see that circuit is complete and bulb is ON. Suppose you want to OFF the bulb from the lower switch at bottom of stair. Simply OFF the switch, then again circuit will break and the bulb will be OFF. You can switch ON the bulb again to switch ON the same switch installed at the bottom or downstairs as shown in the fig.

To get the switching position in ON condition for light bulb, the above operation is same as the Exclusive-NOR (EX-NOR) logic gate truth table which is given below.

Switch 1Switch 2Lamp Position
0 = OFF0 = OFF1 = ON
0 = OFF1 = ON0 = OFF
1 = ON0 = OFF0 = OFF
1 = ON1 = ON1 = ON

Two Way Switching Control using Three Wires

It is the new 2-way switching connection method which can be used for staircase wiring as well as it is efficient as compared to the old-school method where 2 wires are used instead of three wires.

The current position of two way switching connection using three wires circuit is ON and the bulb is glowing. The circuit operation is same as mentioned in the above figures but the connection method is different as the first terminals of both switches are connected to the live (Phase) wire. The second terminals of both switches are connected to the bulb to provide live line supply while the Neutral is directly connected to the bulb as common wiring method.

This basic circuit is little confusing as by looking in it, it makes a short circuit (to the same wire which is not harm in this case) when both switches are ON or OFF which is making a loop to disconnect the live supply to the bulb, Hence, bulb will not glow in that case.

2 way light switching

To get the switching position in ON condition for light bulb, the above operation is same as the Exclusive-OR (EX-OR) logic gate truth table which is given below.

Switch 1Switch 2Lamp Position
0 = OFF0 = OFF0 = OFF
0 = OFF1 = ON1 = ON
1 = ON0 = OFF1 = ON
1 = ON1 = ON0 = OFF

Staircase Wiring using Intermediate Switch

This is not always the case, but in some cases like shared flats and long stairs, we may control the light point in staircase wiring from three different places by using two 2-way switches and an intermediate switch as shown in fig below.

Click image to enlarge

Staircase wiring connection using 2 two way switches and intermediate switch
Staircase wiring connection using 2 two way switches and intermediate switch to control a light point from three different places.

2-Way Switching Applications and Uses

How to control a lamp from two different places by using two 2-way switches - staircase wiring diagram

  • The main purpose of two-way switching connection is to connect and control AC appliances and equipments from two separate locations.
  • It is mostly used in staircase wiring where a light bulb can be control (Switch ON / Switch OFF) from different places, no matter you are in the upper or lower portion of stair. Also, it does not depend on the switches position as well. You just have to press the switch button to OFF / ON to perform the switching operation.
  • It is also used in rooms having large area which has two entry and exit gates.
  • It is used to control any electrical (AC or DC) appliance or equipment like fan, light bulbs etc from two different places.

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Electrical Technology

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  1. Ronak Patel says:

    plzz xplain this diagrams….

    1. Wasim Khan says:

      Ronak Patel @ OK… We will add some description and simple explanation.

  2. Ronak Patel says:

    hey Wasim khan plzz add description immediately yar…….

    1. Electrical Technology says:

      Ronak Patel@ DONE

    1. Hello sir I am Tarun wason from bhiwani Haryana . I an looking for electrical job i am completed diploma in electrical engineering . I am very work harder i give best in my work so please give me job

  3. guru dutt says:

    i also hav a same dia. but it look diffent frm urs

    1. Electrical Technology says:

      Lets share with us…thanx

  4. Anonymous says:


    1. Electrical Technology says:

      No Dear…Don&#39;t Confuse with that kind of wring diagrams…<br />Its is not a layout…it is just a typical wiring diagram… So you can connect with earth cable..it is just showing only stair-case wiring diagram. not the whole wiring.

      1. rao farhan says:

        hy sir,my name is rao farhan am a diploma holder.now am working in dubai so i want to chang compani if you have ele tech job so plz tell me my uae exp is 3 year my number is 0552714041

  5. Mike Sheldon says:

    that method is outdated and we now use 3core and earth run between the two 2way switches,which means there is a single run of twin and earth from the ceiling rose(that is your feed and switch wire and an earth conductor to the first 2way switch,feed to l1,switch on l2,the 2way switches are then joined by 3core and earth…doing it the way shown can be to be done in conduit

    1. Nat Gwapo says:

      that&#39;s is not matter what kind of wire to be use 3 core or single wire the important is you know how to connect 2 way switch to ceiling rose or splicing it using electrical tape.

  6. Anonymous says:

    cool story bro, needs more dragons and shit<br />

  7. Moazzam Shah Jee says:

    Amazing Wiring..

  8. Anonymous says:

    sir i want to control stair bulb from 1st floor and from ground floor. 3 pin switches(at 1st floor and at ground floor) are already attached to board but i don&#39;t know how to connect wires.<br /><br />note:- there are 3 pins in the backside of the switch

    1. Electrical Technology says:

      Use the above Diagram

  9. Francis Samba says:

    I want to know if this idea can be implemented using logic diagram or rather built in the lab using bread board, logic gates or IC&#39;s. If there is any idea, please post the dia and description<br />

  10. Anonymous says:

    Damn thanks a lot, I couldn&#39;t figure this out.

  11. Gavin Wong says:

    Depending upon the prerequisites, men and women can place numerous buttons in addition to <a href="http://www.retrotouch.co.uk/&quot; rel="nofollow">screwless light switch</a> sockets on top of a utility circuit. You should do a few likely to ascertain wherever you should have these individuals previous to purchasing that.

  12. paul white says:

    The Diagrams are great, very informative. I just wanted to may be help clarify something with you. The switches in your diagrams are not 2way switches. they are 3way switches. There are 3 possible directions for current to go. If you go to get one from a parts store the box will also say 3 way switch. Hope this helps.

  13. kashif hussain says:

    when we have two lamps and 3 two way switches how we design it

  14. Anonymous says:

    this helped me with physics homework :)

  15. Anonymous says:

    Way to spend three paragraphs talking in circles in order to explain how to use a light switch before introducing a diagram of a three way switching system &amp; referring to it as two way.

  16. This is the perfect way to break down this marination.

  17. Ridip Hazarika says:

    If I keep both the switch ON; will the bulb glow?

  18. Lucky Joestar says:


    “Three-way” is the North American term for this type of switch. Most English-speaking countries call them “two-way.” The term for the pair of wires connecting the two switches also varies: “strappers” to the Brits and “travelers” to us Yanks.

  19. mohd Danish Rajput says:

    Surge wiring diagram

  20. bhavesh patel says:

    How work NO-NC connected contector with forward-reverse motor

  21. sanjeevkumar says:

    Thanks for expalining

  22. Duryodhan Mohanta says:

    How to control a lamp in both Series and Parallel by using a one Two way Switch

  23. Mohammad Faisal Khan says:

    plz give me a video of this project because i have to make this project

  24. S.Arun reddy says:

    I want total conclusion about plc based staircase lightning

  25. May i know the Drawing tool used to illustrate this.

  26. Bhupendra beniwal says:

    Please sow Simple trick

  27. Hi ADMin , can you please give sample diagram for the ff:kind regards thanks
    1) lamp A is controlled by switch A, while lamp B & C controlled by switch B&C(series)
    2) lamp A&C are connected in series and controlled by switch A&C, while lamp B is parallel and controlled by switch B
    3) lamp A&C are controled by switch A&C, while lamp B&D are connected in series controlled by switch B&D.

  28. David Ninnis says:

    Sir, I have a single light operated by two light switches.
    Due to the plastering in my house I need to remove one of the light switches but still have the light operated by the other light switch.
    How do I do this.

    Thank you

    1. Hi David,
      Which type switch did you used? i.e. single way, two way, three way etc?

      By the way, You can remove the other switch connections and use the single way switch for single light point. You can find the connection in our blog “Electrical Wiring” Section.

  29. P Valappil Jagandas says:

    How to control a water heater from 2 different places using DPDT switches With neon lamp indications?

    1. Thank you. We will post a complete tutorial on water heater installation to control it from two different places using double pole double through switches.. Stay tune.

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