3-Way Light Switching With New Cable Colors In UK Wiring

Intrigued by how 3-way light switching works in the UK, especially with the introduction of new cable colors?

This advanced wiring configuration enables control of a single light or fixture from multiple locations, adding convenience and flexibility to both residential and commercial settings.

This article will shed light on the essentials of 3-way light switching, from the wiring setup to the color codes that ensure safety and compliance with UK standards.

We’ll be examining:

  • What is the structure of a 3-way light switching system with new cable colors?
  • How do these configurations enhance lighting control and user convenience?
  • Why is adherence to new cable color standards crucial in modern electrical installations?

Prepare to illuminate your understanding of this versatile wiring setup.

Let’s begin!


Overview of 3-Way Light Switching with New Cable Colors

3-way light switching with new cable colors involves the use of multiple switches to control a light or fixture from different locations. 

It requires a specific wiring setup and the use of cables with designated colors to ensure proper connections and functionality.

3 way light switching (new cable colours)

Three-way light switching (using updated cable colors) features a lighting circuit that may also be known as two-way switching with an intermediate switch.

This setup enables the ability to turn a single light on or off from multiple switch locations.

The wiring instructions provided here utilize the modern cable color scheme.

For wiring that employs the older color codes, refer to the guide titled “Three-way switching (old cable colors).”

This configuration bears a strong resemblance to the two-way switching setup, with the key difference being the inclusion of an extra intermediate switch within the three-wire control cable connecting the two terminal switches.

Fig 1: Three way switching schematic wiring diagram

The circuit consists of a two way switch at each end (top and bottom switches in Fig 2) and an intermediate switch in the middle.

All three switches are connected together by a three core and earth control cable.

Notice that the wire connected to the COM terminals is looped straight through the intermediate switch using a cable connector.

Fig 2: Three way light switching wiring diagram

All earth wires should connect to the earth terminal in the switch back-boxes and if you are using metal switches there MUST be a loop from this earth terminal to the one on the switch plate (see note A on Fig 2)

Four way switching and more

This circuit can be extended to four, five way switching by adding additional intermediate switches (wired as shown in fig 2) anywhere along the control cable.

Key Components and Connections

  1. Three or More Switches: In a 3-way light switching setup, three or more switches are utilized to control a single light or fixture from multiple locations. These switches are typically installed at different points within a room or building.
  2. New Cable Colors: The new cable colors introduced in UK wiring regulations include:
    • Brown: Live or line wire
    • Blue: Neutral wire
    • Green/Yellow: Earth wire
    • Grey or Black: Switched live wire
  3. Lighting Point: The lighting point refers to the location of the light or fixture being controlled. It is connected to the switches using the designated cables and appropriate wiring connections.

Switching Operation

The switching operation in a 3-way light switching setup allows users to control the light or fixture from any of the switches. 

Each switch can turn the light off or on regardless of the previous state. 

The live or line wire (brown) and the switched live wire (grey or black) are interconnected between the switches to control the flow of electricity.

Advantages of 3-Way Light Switching with New Cable Colors

  1. Increased Flexibility and Convenience: 3-way light switching provides the ability to control a light or fixture from multiple locations, offering convenience and flexibility in a space.
  2. Enhanced Lighting Control: With multiple switches, users have the freedom to operate lights or fixtures from different entry points or areas within a room or building.
  3. Compliance with Wiring Regulations: Adhering to the new cable colors specified in UK wiring regulations ensures conformity with safety standards and facilitates future modifications or repairs.

Transition to New Cable Colors

It is important to note that the UK has implemented updated wiring regulations, which include changes in cable colors to enhance safety and standardization. 

When installing or modifying a 3-way light switching system, it is crucial to comply with the current standards and guidelines specified in the updated regulations.


3-way light switching with new cable colors is a popular electrical wiring configuration in the UK, allowing users to control a light or fixture from multiple locations. 

By understanding the key components, connections, and switching operation, individuals can install or modify lighting circuits using this setup. 

The enhanced flexibility, convenience, and compliance with wiring regulations make 3-way light switching with new cable colors a practical and safe solution for lighting control in residential and commercial settings.

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