three way switches bad circuit? help!!!


Old 11-25-05, 10:42 PM
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three way switches bad circuit? help!!!

We recently installed two three way switches for our hallway. It does not work properly because both switches need to be in the on position for the light to turn on. So today I decided to fix it. I added a neutral wire to one of the switches(I did it according to the box instructions). I turned the electricity on, and it tripped immediately. So I turned off the electricity and put the wires back to the original configuration, and now the light/switches doesn't work at all... The problem is only isolated to the hallway. The rest of the receptacles and lights work in the rest of the house. What could the problem be? And what steps should I take to solve it? Thanks for the help. I am a novice as you can tell.
Old 11-26-05, 06:25 AM
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Neutral wires do not get connected to regular switches or three way switches. neutral wires only get connected to SOME special switrches that have a light or a built in timer or something similar.

Your problem is that you did not use the proper wire or that you did not properly identify the traveler connections to the switch.

You need 14-3 or 12-3 between to the switches. Depending on whether this is a switch loop or not, there won;t even be a neutral in the box.

The two travelers get connected to the similar colored screws of the switches and the common wire (bringing power from one end and taking switched power from the other end) gets connected to the common terminals of each switch.
Old 11-26-05, 05:53 PM
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You need to tell us how the switches are connected.
Which box has the power feed?
How did you route and what cables did you use between the boxes?
Old 11-28-05, 03:35 PM
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Get all the kids and animals out of the house, turn off the main breaker and remove the switches. Make sure none of the wires are touching anything and turn the power back on. Take a meter and measure the volage to ground on each wire at both switches. One should have full line voltage on it. This connects to the common terminal on one switch. The other 2 wires will connect to the other 2 terminals. Make these connections after turning off the mains again.
After wiring in one switch turn the mains on again and look for power at the other switch. This time the wire will go to one of the terminals for the travelers , doesnt matter which traveler. now throw the switch that has already been installed and locate the hot wire again. This will be the other traveler, the common for this switch is the one that is left. Turn off the mains and connect the 3 wires as identified.

I didnt explain every little thing on purpose, If you dont have the knowledge to understand what I am talking about you shouldnt be doing it. If things dont work as discribed then the wiring is FUBAR and you need an electrician.

Last edited by JimmieDee; 11-28-05 at 06:48 PM.

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