How does a light controlled by two different switches work?

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mathilda555

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In my house, there is a dining room with two different light switches that control the same light. I always thought that a light switch works by opening and closing the circuit controlling the flow of electricity to the light.

However, if the light can be turned on and off by both switches then how does the circuit really work? For example, if I walk into the room with both switches set on off and the light is off and turn one of the switches on, turning the light on then walk over to the other switch turning it to on as well. Instead of giving the light more power, it turns the light off. This puzzles me because it shouldn't be opening the circuit that the other switch is physically closed on.
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Light Switches
 

Darkness

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Woah. I was actually thinking about that a couple minutes ago.
 

ElCapitan

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It's 1am over here so It's pretty late and I have this on the top of my head. I remember it had something to do with physics and resistors and all that other sweet stuff..... It's actually pretty annoying have to walk back and forth just to turn one light on.
 

Curt

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three/multi-way switching have additional terminals to connect each switch in the node to each other which would feed the light if one of them were on
 

JamboPB

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2-way-switch-wiring-diagram.jpg
 

SkullHacker

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I just woke up. And opened TBN and read this. Now I feel retarded.
 

sakshi

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Those are called two-way switches, or two-pole switches. When you move the switch, it opens one pole, but closes the other. The power for the light routes through both poles of the switch. If both switches are closed on the same pole, the light goes on
 
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