Troubleshoot 3 way switch

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  #1  
Old 04-27-06, 08:17 PM
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Troubleshoot 3 way switch

Here's the scoop:

All of a sudden a circuit of 4 can lights in our kitched didn't work when we flipped the switch. Wired with 2, 3 way switches.

I made sure that both 3 way's were all the way "on" or "off". Check.

I checked to see if there was power to the switches. First switch - check. Second switch - nothing.

I then pulled the wire from the "dead" switch to directly check for power to the wire (potential bad switch). Nothing. Switch doesn't seem to be the problem.

Our house is 2 years old so everything is new.

Any suggestions for next troubleshooting step?


Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 04-27-06, 09:06 PM
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Welcome.


> First switch - check.

What does this mean? This switch is probably bad.
So explain why you think it is okay.


Each switch has one black screw and two gold screws.

You need to test each screw using a reliable test method.
Tell us what color wire and what color screw has voltage for each switch.
Then we can narrow the problem down for you.
(If the wire isn't under the screw, that's a problem right there.)

"Check" doesn't tell me what you tested or how you tested it.
 
  #3  
Old 04-28-06, 04:30 AM
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Trace the power through the circuit. This means both hot wires and the neutral.

Determine where power enters the circuit. It is probably at one of the switches, but could be at a light.

Determine which switch power goes to first. Verify that you have power into that switch and out to both travelers, one at a time.

Verify power at the second switch on each traveler.

Verify power at the common of the second switch.

Finally, verify power at the first light.
 
  #4  
Old 04-29-06, 11:21 AM
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Thanks for the comments. I'll clarify my first post:

My first check was to make sure that both of the switches were fully off or on.

By saying "check" I just meant that I verified that the first switch was getting power at the common and both travelers. I used a small voltage tester to confirm this. The first switch seemed to be working fine.

I performed the same test to the 2nd switch. There was no power to this switch.

Is my next step to replace the 2nd switch? Is there another troubleshooting step before I make a Lowe's run?


Thanks very much for your time and guidance on this website. I use this resource all the time. Funny how usually someone has asked the same question that I have.
 
  #5  
Old 04-29-06, 12:52 PM
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Nope no need to replace the second switch yet. The power is coming out of first switch on travelers and not getting to second switch then the line is open between the switches. Try flipping the first switch to the other position and test second switch again.

These wires could pass through one of the light fixture boxes. Wires don't go open in mid span on their own. Problem is usually loose connection in a junction box unless you have a rat or squirrel problem that might have chewed the wires.
 
  #6  
Old 04-29-06, 01:02 PM
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> By saying "check" I just meant that I verified that the first switch
> was getting power at the common and both travelers.

Okay.

> I used a small voltage tester to confirm this.
Could be okay based on additional information that follows.
But really you need a wiggy.


> I performed the same test to the 2nd switch.
> There was no power to this switch.
>
> Is my next step to replace the 2nd switch?

No. Why?
There is nothing to indicate a problem with the switch.

Think about this.
Let's say the red traveler has power at the first switch.
Then you go to the second switch.
The red traveler doesn't have power there.

That means that the red traveler is broken.


Or it means that your test(s) is(are) invalid.

It has nothing to do with the second switch.
 
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