3-way switch - lights always on

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  #1  
Old 01-29-06, 03:46 PM
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Unhappy 3-way switch - lights always on

Hello,

I wired a light between 2 3-way switches as follows:

source - switch1 - light - switch2

The black wire from the source is wired to the common terminal of switch1

The white wire from the source is tied to the white wire from a 3-wire extension to the light fixture and also to the white wires of 2 lights NOT controlled by this 3-way switch (these lights are controlled by a separate switch)

The traveler terminals on switch1 are connected to the red and black wires from the 3-wire extension to the light fixture.

The red wire here ties to the red wire for a 3-wire extension to switch2, traveler terminal.

The black wire here ties to the white wire (taped black) for the 3-wire extension to switch2, traveler terminal.

The black wire from the light fixture goes to the black wire in the 3-wire extension to switch2, common terminal.

When I throw the breaker, the lights stay on all the time, no matter which position I put either switch in.

Is the problem that I have other lights, not on these switches, connected to the source white wire the problem here? If so, is there anything I can do to fix this using this configuration?

Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-29-06, 03:54 PM
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Location: Central New York State
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What you have described sounds correct. But then you didn't describe everything. You didn't talk about your connections at switch 2, and you didn't talk about your neutral connection to the light.

Check your connections at both switch 1 and switch 2. Make sure that what you think are the travelers and the common wire really are. The location of the terminals on the switch means nothing.

The fact that you are supplying other lights is not important, as they will not effect the the operation of your three way setup if they are wired properly. By wired properly I mean that they need to be to the neutral wires, and on the common side of switch 1, which you say is where power comes in.
 
  #3  
Old 01-29-06, 04:11 PM
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What you described sounds correct.
So something must not be as you described.

Take apart the travelers and common at the light and put a wire nut on each.
Energize the circuit.
Remove the wirenuts one at a time and test for voltage (preferably with a wiggy or by using a low wattage lamp it the light socket itself).

Verify that switch 1 alternates voltage the travelers from switch 1 and that the travelers and common from switch 2 are dead.

If all is well, then connect through red to red traveller to switch 2 and repeat by testing the common black from switch 2.

If all is well, then connect through the black-to-white traveler to switch 2 and repeat by testing the common black from switch 2.
 
  #4  
Old 01-29-06, 04:42 PM
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Location: welland ontario
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Your description is correct. However even if you had the common screw wrong the light should go off with some combination of the switches. Please review your connections and post the rest of the wires in the sw1 box. You told us about the white to other lights but not the hots or switches to the other lights.
 
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