Help needed for 3 way switch.

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  #1  
Old 09-05-05, 01:45 PM
honestzed
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Help needed for 3 way switch.

I am trying to fix an existing 3-way lighting problem which existed in the house that I recently bought. 1 switch bascially acted as the "master switch", where as if it was off, the other switch would not work at all. If the master switch was on, then the other switch could be used to turn the lights on and off.

I am certainly not an electrician by any means, but know more than enough to know what to do correctly and to code. (Although my terminology might be off a little).

Here is my set up with everything disconnected:

(I have omitted references to ground (green) wires for simplification)

Box 1 contains:
- White linked to a white leading to Light-I and to Box 2
- Switch A:
--- has a black leading to Light-I and then out to Box 2;
--- red leading to Box 2

Box 2 contains:
- a red, black and white coming in from Box 1
- a black and white coming in from power source.
- a black and white coming from Light-2
- a black, white and red coming from Box 3

Box 3 contains:
- Switch B:
--- red, black and white going to Box 2

Hope all of that seems clear. Any idea on how it should be properly wired?
 
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  #2  
Old 09-05-05, 03:32 PM
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So, I take it box 1 and 3 is a switch only, with a single R/W/B cable, and box 2 is the light, with the R/W/B from the switches, and a B/W from the supply, and aB/W to another ligt to be controlled by the same switch.

If so, then in box 1:

Connect the reds together.
Mark the whites in the 3 wire cables with a marker or tape (and in the switch box also, and connect together.
Connect the black from the supply to one of the blacks fron the 3 wire cables.
Connect the whites from the supply, the other light and the white or ribbed wire from the fixture together.
Connect the other black from a 3 wire to the black to the other light, and the black or smooth wore from the fixture.

At each switch, connect the red and marked white to the traveller terminals of the switch, and the black to the common.
 
  #3  
Old 09-05-05, 03:32 PM
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Your description is too confusing for me to figure out what you have. Try again.

Describe each cable, and the wires in the cable. Describe each switch and the light in detail. Describe each connection, even items not connected to a switch or the light.

This should not be too hard to figure out, with a good description.
 
  #4  
Old 09-05-05, 06:34 PM
honestzed
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Continued

Okay, I'll give it my best shot at trying to make this more detailed and less confusing.

Box 1, is a switch box, (Switch-A).
- running through the switch box is a white that is not connected to the switch, but rather runs to Light-1.
- attached to Switch-A, is 2 blacks and 1 red. One of the blacks runs with the previously mentioned white going to Light-1. The other black runs into Box 2.
- the red also runs to Box 2.

Box 2 has wires from 3 sources coming in. I currently have disconnected all the wires.
- coming from Box 1 into Box 2, I have:
-- a red coming from Switch-A
-- a black coming from Switch-A
-- a white coming from Light-1

- coming from the electrical source, I have a black and white (and ground, but I am omitting reference to grounds for now), coming into Box 2.

- coming from Box 3 into Box 2, I have a red, white and black, all coming from Switch-B, which is in Box 3.

- in addition to the wires coming from the 3 "sources" listed above, I also have a light (Light-2) which enters into this Box-2 via a black and white.

Box 3 is a switch box, containing Switch-B
- Switch B has 3 wires attached to it, a red, black and white all going into Box 2.
 
  #5  
Old 09-05-05, 07:26 PM
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Location: Central New York State
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At box 1:

Connect the two white wires together with a wire nut.
Connect the black wire that goes to the light to the common terminal of the switch.
Connect the black and red wires from box 2 to the travelers of the switch.

At Box 2:

Connect the white power wire to the white wire that goes to box 1.
Connect the black power wire to the white wire that runs to box 3. Mark the white wire with black marker.
Connect the black wire from box 2 to the black wire from box 3.
Connect the red wire from box 2 to the red wire from box 3.

At Box 3:

Connect the black and red wire to the travelers of the switch.
Connect the white wire to the common terminal of the switch. Mark the white wire with black marker.

At all locations, connect the ground wires together, to the switches, to the light, and to the metal boxes.
 
  #6  
Old 09-05-05, 07:35 PM
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Note that if you follow Racraft's instructions, then Light 1 will work, but Light 2 will not be connected.

However it appears that one or the other of the lights was added after the fact, and an attempt to make them both work failed. With your current wiring, there is no way to control both lights from both switches. You could make one or the other of the lights work off of the switches, or you could make Light 1 work with the switches, and make Light 2 always on. The simplest approach is to do exactly what Racraft described.

-Jon
 
  #7  
Old 09-06-05, 05:22 AM
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Well I just noticed that there is a light 2. That seems to be the source of the confusion. My apologies for not seeing that sooner. Now you know why I wanted to see clear and concise listings of the entire setup.
 
  #8  
Old 09-06-05, 09:27 AM
honestzed
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Fixing..

What would be the easiest way to fix this set-up? I should, for the most part, be able to run new wires as needed.
 
  #9  
Old 09-06-05, 10:04 AM
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Location: Oregon
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There are about a million different ways that you could reconnect this.

What I would recommend is that you disconnect the cable between Box 2 and Light 2, and connect up the switches as Racraft described. Then put in a new cable between Light 1 and Light 2, and connect Light 2 in parallel with Light 1 (join all whites together, all blacks together, and all grounds together.)

-Jon
 
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