3 way switch nightmare!

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  #1  
Old 05-05-05, 12:33 PM
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3 way switch nightmare!

Ok guys i see you fellas are very helpful...maybe you can help me and save me some $. I have a two story house with (1) 3way switch at the bottom of the staircase and a total of (3) upstairs (2 at the top of the staircase) and 1 at the other end of the hall upstairs.. be gentle fellas i dont know much about 3way switches. the painters ripped off the switches and couldnt figure out how to rewire them (they were using 2 way switches) i bought the correct 3 way switches but have no idea of how to figure out which cable goes where ... the cables are all painted or white so i cant tell what color they are. I know 1 is supposed to be hot the other is not and the third is common...I just have no idea which is which and where they go ..Im a young guy with no money and my first child on the way so i really would like to avoid calling an electrician...thank you so much and God Bless you all.
 
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  #2  
Old 05-05-05, 12:40 PM
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I would get the painters back and have them fix it. They screwed up, they fix it.
 
  #3  
Old 05-05-05, 12:46 PM
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I didnt let them finish the job...they screwed up alot of things...i have to do this myself...

If i understand correctly... on a 3 way switch there are two travelers and one common... now from what i gather the travelers can go on either side but the common is they key one that must go to the common .... how can i figure out which the common is ..or am i way off...
 
  #4  
Old 05-05-05, 12:52 PM
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Do you have two sets of lights? Or are all of these supposed to be controlling the same lights?
I assume from your description that you have two sets of lights.
 
  #5  
Old 05-05-05, 01:04 PM
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yes there are two sets, one in the hall upstairs and one in the staircase... there is a single switch at the bottom of the staircase that controls the light in the staircase. at the top of the staircase there are 2 switches...one that should control the staircase light and another switch that controls the hallway light ( theres also a fourth switch at the other end of the hall that ontrols the hallway light.
 
  #6  
Old 05-05-05, 04:05 PM
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Tell us all the wires in the switch boxes. Tell us which wires from which cables are still connected if they haven't been changed. If possible tell us the connections at the fixtures as well. If you can identify the power wire as well.
 
  #7  
Old 05-05-05, 04:49 PM
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We will need to know the wiring at each light, and what wires are at each switch box. Tell us ALL the wires, identifying by color and by the cable they come from.
 
  #8  
Old 05-08-05, 06:03 AM
pdmedic
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You should be able to scrape some of the paint off the wire to see the color, or just look in the back of the box. Unless they were trying to cover the wire their should be enough to see the colors.
 
  #9  
Old 05-10-05, 12:13 PM
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Why on earth would the painters remove the light switches? All they had to do was remove the switch plate and cover the switches with painters tape.

Normally, the two travelers are coming out of the same cable, and the point (common) wire is coming from a different source (cable or pigtail splice). If the power source and switch leg (wire going to the light fixtures) are in the same box, the other end would only have one 3-wire cable (not counting ground) going to the switch, with the black wire going to the point screw and the red and white to the travelers.

There are other configurations that can occur, but the two above cover 90% of instances.
 
  #10  
Old 05-10-05, 10:24 PM
kharbin
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4 way wiring

Okay, if you have three switches controlling a light fixture(s) this is a 4-way setup. It uses 2ea 3-way switches and 1ea 4-way switch. The way to tell this is one of the openings should have 4 conductors this is where the 4-way switch goes, (it will have 4 screw terminals). The 2 wires black/white from one romex goes to the top the the other 2 wires go to the bottom, twist the bares together. It does not matter which conduct goes on which side (just top and bottom)

The other two locations are a little tricky, if you have an ohm meter before connecting the 4-way above short the black and white conductors together from each romex separately. go to the 3-way locations and check for continuity, this will be the travelers (mark them). They will go the 2 screws that are located ajacent each other on the 3-way switches, (doesn't matter which side) the 3rd wire at the 3-way location will go to the only screw left.

Scroll to the bottom of this link for a diagram of the wiring.

4 way switch diagram
 
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