3way circuit help

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  #1  
Old 07-29-06, 04:02 PM
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3way circuit help

I have a problem with my 3way circuit in my basement that I am finishing. I will try to describe the wiring lay out. I have made a diagram of both the switch box and the light box. The power comes in from the box with 14/2 wire. At the switch box the black wire from the power is put together with the black wires from the first 3way switch and the second 3way switch. The white wire from the power is connected to the white wire that goes to the lights. The red wire from the wire that goes to the lights is connected to the “common” pole on the 3way switch. The black wire from the wire going to the second 3way is tied in with the other black wires. The white wire from the wire going to the second 3way is attached to the pole under the “common” pole on the 3way switch. The red wire on the wire going to the second 3way is connected to the pole above the ground on the first 3way.

At the light it is another mess. There is a wire that comes in to the light that is from the switch box I just described. That has a red, white and black wire. The light has a white and black. The other lights in the series are powered with 14/2 wire. And finally there is a 14/3 wire that runs to the other lights not on the 3way switch.

My question is how do I connect these wires at the light? They were connected but I had to replace the leg of 14/3 running to the rest of the basement and forgot to mark haw all these wires went together.

I have drawn diagrams if that would be more helpful.
please email me if you wouldlike to see them
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Last edited by mattison; 07-30-06 at 04:42 AM.
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  #2  
Old 07-29-06, 04:18 PM
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So how many wires, total, are there in that first light box? It sounds from your post it could be interpreted to be black, red, and white, with a black and white to the light; or it could also sound like there is an additional 14/2 in there, besides those 5 wires, for a total of 7 (not counting bare copper ground wires). Which is it?
 
  #3  
Old 07-29-06, 04:24 PM
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there are a total of 10 wires not including teh grounds.
a red, black, and white from the switch
a red, black, adn white going out to other lights not on 3way
a black and white for other lights on 3way
a black and white for the light
 
  #4  
Old 07-29-06, 05:20 PM
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I bet after all is said and done, this will be the LAST time you simply start un-nutting wires without making yourself a drawing or numbering wires, eh?

Hopefully an electrician comes on soon to help you.
 
  #5  
Old 07-29-06, 05:37 PM
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next time I will not start a project at 7am
 
  #6  
Old 07-29-06, 05:39 PM
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I do hope somebody helps you. I could try, but I'd have to sit here and think, and I really need to get going soon (from my friends where I use his puter) and do a little shopping before I go home.
 
  #7  
Old 07-29-06, 05:42 PM
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I aprciate any insite you can give. I am stumped. it was working now I can't figger it out
 
  #8  
Old 07-29-06, 06:06 PM
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Describe IN COMPLETE DETAIL all the wires at each and every location.
 
  #9  
Old 07-29-06, 06:07 PM
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The red wire from the switch has to go to the light...for one thing, because that is your common. Therefore, we know that some of the black and white wires were made as traveler wires.

By using your multimeter set to ohms, you could do a continuity check between any black wire in the light box and the black wire screwed to the switch to see if there is full continuity, meaning you have identified the ONE traveler wire. Then do the same with one of the white wires, by testing for full continuity between the white wire in the light box and the white wire screwed to the 3-way switch.

I am doing this as I really should get going! Use a multimeter. With the power on, identify which, or how many, of the 10 wires is hot, and report back. Use the bare ground wire to put the other end of your multimeter probe against. if no bare coper wire in your light box?..use the metal water SUPPLY (not drain, especially if you have pvc) pipe under the sink as your ground, for testing.
 
  #10  
Old 07-29-06, 06:47 PM
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I will try to describe all the wires.

For ease of reading I will label the different wires as follows:
Power from Breaker Box to Light Switch= WR1
Wire to exterior light= WR2
Wire from switch box to first light=WR 4
Wire from switch box to second 3way=WR 5
Wire from first light to other lights to be operated by 3way switches=WR 6
Wire from first light to other lights not to be operated by 3way switches= WR 7

The connections at the switch box are as follows:

The Black wires from WR 1, WR 4, and WR 5 are all connected along with the black from WR 2 which has a switch for the exterior light on it.

The White Wires from WR 1, WR 2, and WR 4 are connected.

The White Wire from WR 5 is connected to the first 3 way light at the pole beneath the “common” pole. (holding the switch with the “common pole up”

The red wire from WR 4 is connected to the “common” pole.

The Red Wire from WR 5 is connected to the pole above the ground.

All ground in the switch box are connected together.

At the light I have: the three wires (red, Black, and white) coming from WR 4, the three wires of WR 7 (red, black, and white), the two wires of the light itself (white and black), and the two wires of WR 6 (Black and white).
 
  #11  
Old 07-29-06, 07:38 PM
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this is daves friend he is on the phone..

is was his understanding that you only disconnected all or some of the wires in the light box
are some of the wires still connected as they were?
if so, identify the wires that you disconnected by colorand what ever else you can tell us aboutt them
 
  #12  
Old 07-29-06, 08:43 PM
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sorry about the delay, the internet went down.

I disconnected all of them at the light. I have not touched anything at the switch box.
if you can think f anything please let me know. in the mean time I think I will go to sleep and worry about it latter
 
  #13  
Old 07-29-06, 08:58 PM
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Start Over

Originally Posted by bclacquer
I will try to describe all the wires.

For ease of reading I will label the different wires as follows:
Power from Breaker Box to Light Switch= WR1
Wire to exterior light= WR2
Wire from switch box to first light=WR 4
Wire from switch box to second 3way=WR 5
Wire from first light to other lights to be operated by 3way switches=WR 6
Wire from first light to other lights not to be operated by 3way switches= WR 7

The connections at the switch box are as follows:

The Black wires from WR 1, WR 4, and WR 5 are all connected along with the black from WR 2 which has a switch for the exterior light on it.

The White Wires from WR 1, WR 2, and WR 4 are connected.

The White Wire from WR 5 is connected to the first 3 way light at the pole beneath the “common” pole. (holding the switch with the “common pole up”

The red wire from WR 4 is connected to the “common” pole.

The Red Wire from WR 5 is connected to the pole above the ground.

All ground in the switch box are connected together.

At the light I have: the three wires (red, Black, and white) coming from WR 4, the three wires of WR 7 (red, black, and white), the two wires of the light itself (white and black), and the two wires of WR 6 (Black and white).
In the double gang switch box that holds the first three way switch and the switch for the outdoor light make the following connections.
Connect the black wire from WR-1 to two short jumper wires and to the black wire of WR4.
Connect the white and the red of WR5 to the two traveler terminals; which are both plain brass in color; of the three way switch. Remark the white wire in WR5 blue with tape or magic marker.
Connect one of the two short jumper wires to the common terminal of the three way switch; which has been painted a darker color by the manufacturer.
Connect the other short jumper wire to the bottom terminal of the single pole switch that controls the outside light.
Connect the black wire of WR2 to the top terminal of the single pole switch that controls the outside light.
Splice the black wire from WR5 in the first switch box to the red wire of cable WR4.
Splice the white wires of WR1, WR4, and WR2 together.

At the other end of WR5 connect the white and the red to the traveler terminals of the second three way switch and the black wire from WR5 to the common terminal of the second three way switch.

At the other end of WR2 connect the two wires from WR2 to the same two color wires of the outside light.

At the first three way controlled lighting outlet box:
Splice the black wire of WR4 to the black wire of WR7.
Splice the red wire of WR4 to the black wire of WR6 and the black wire from that first three way controlled light.
Splice the white wires of all three cables to each other and the white wire of that first three way controlled light.
I have not figured out what the red wire in WR7 is for so for now just fold it back out of the way in the box.

Your three way switches will now turn on and off the light at the first three way lighting outlet box and all lights attached to WR6. Your single pole switch will now turn the outside light served by WR2 on and off. You will have the black from WR1 connected to the black of WR7 so that the black of WR7 is always energized. That connection happens via the black of WR4.

You have not mentioned the location of the switch that controls the inside non three way lights.
--
Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous for general use." Thomas Alva Edison
 
  #14  
Old 07-30-06, 05:37 AM
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i did not think the location of the lights not on the 3way was an issue. the first light after the four on the 3way is in the bathrom. the next one is in the laundry room. This all came about becasue I wanted t install the light in the bathroom and needed a longer wire running from the light at which I made the disonnections.
 
  #15  
Old 07-30-06, 07:46 AM
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i'm Daves friend posting for him he said he likes puzzles.

to hve 10 wires in a light box. is pretty rare unless that boxis serving a dual purposeof being a hot feed junction box and lightbox, all in one.

that is why i wanted you to identify which of those 10 wires is hot.

its possible that one red wire in the light box goes to the common of one of the switches and the other red wire in the sitch box is the return common wire from the other 3 way switch.

with the power off,you can continuity test between one red wire end that is in the light box to the red wire in the switch box.test every red wire endin the light boxand every red wire in both switch boxes that way we will know something about the red wiresin the light box, and how the may be serving both switches.

but as i said earlier you have to tell us which wires in the light boxare hot.
 
  #16  
Old 07-30-06, 09:06 AM
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didn't work

I treid to hook everything up like Hornetd said. it still does not work. I am reconecting everything the way it was and then will run a conitity check. the only thing that did not work in horetd's suggestion was the four ligths on the 3way switchs, the other lights further on the ciruit not controled by those switches worked
 
  #17  
Old 07-30-06, 09:23 AM
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with the original setup the continity checks turn out as follows:

at switch one: nothing

at switch 2: the black

At the Light: the White and Black wires from the switch
 
  #18  
Old 07-30-06, 09:41 AM
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just for fun I check the voltage at the switchs in its origninal configeration. at no point do I get 120 vots on any of the three wires on switch 1 and only the black wire on switch 2 registers 120 volts
 
  #19  
Old 07-30-06, 11:06 AM
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Making continuity checks is not a good idea unless you know what you are doing. Loads on the circuit (such as light bulbs or certain devices plugged in) will give readings that only confuse you.

Measuring for voltage at a switch means nothing unless you have a good ground or a neutral at the switch, and you know what you are doing.
 
  #20  
Old 07-30-06, 11:26 AM
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i figgered it couldn't hurt, especailly if people were asking for them. as it stands right now i am lost and ready to throw away the entire three way circuit and just have one switch.
 
  #21  
Old 07-30-06, 11:40 AM
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Tell us all the wiring at every location in complete detail and we can sort it out. It's not difficult.
 
  #22  
Old 07-30-06, 11:47 AM
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I will try to describe all the wires.

For ease of reading I will label the different wires as follows:
Power from Breaker Box to Light Switch= WR1
Wire to exterior light= WR2
Wire from switch box to first light=WR 4
Wire from switch box to second 3way=WR 5
Wire from first light to other lights to be operated by 3way switches=WR 6
Wire from first light to other lights not to be operated by 3way switches= WR 7

The connections at the switch box are as follows:

The Black wires from WR 1, WR 4, and WR 5 are all connected along with the black from WR 2 which has a switch for the exterior light on it.

The White Wires from WR 1, WR 2, and WR 4 are connected.

The White Wire from WR 5 is connected to the first 3 way light at the pole beneath the “common” pole. (holding the switch with the “common pole up”

The red wire from WR 4 is connected to the “common” pole.

The Red Wire from WR 5 is connected to the pole above the ground.

All ground in the switch box are connected together.


At the second switch I have a Red, Black, and White wire from WR 5. the switch has a black and two reds coming off if it. (it is a dimmer switch). The three wires on the back of the switch are in a line. It goes Black, open space, red wire, red wire. Currently the black wire from WR 5 is hooked to black on the back of the switch. The Red from WR 5 is hooked to the middle red on the back of switch, and the White from WR 5 is hooked to the last red wire on the back of the switch.


At the light I have: the three wires (red, Black, and white) coming from WR 4, the three wires of WR 7 (red, black, and white), the two wires of the light itself (white and black), and the two wires of WR 6 (Black and white).
 
  #23  
Old 07-30-06, 11:53 AM
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switch number does not make any sence. you said that the red wire goes to the common terminal on each switch. yet you show no power at either of the red wires in the switch boxes.with the common terminal one of those common wires should be suppling the power. if the red wires are hooked to the "common"that means the black and white wires are hooked up to the other 2 screws in each switchas travler wires.
travler wires cant be hotunless one of the common wires is hot,
which you claim are red.
therefore something is amiss. did you chsnge the wires around for either switch or change out a switch?
you havr to be sure which is the common terminal.the commonm terminal is often a different color.. brass bronze and or it should say common on the back of the switch.

now let me aslkyou this when you got the 120 black wire in switch number 2 did you,try to flip the switch to see if 120 showed up at the terminals of switch one or any of the 8 wires in the light box.

when testing for the voltage at the switches do not volt meter test the white wire presuming it is a neutral wire.
only go between any switch wire and a known ground sourse
i drew a drawing in an envelope and thought i had it figured out

untill you suprised me when you said 120v only on switch 2black wire an no where else.in my experience it has been the black wire hooked to the common screwthats why i need to know if you did anything to the switch wiring.because its impossible to have 120von a travler connection screw on a switch with out a common wire feeding it thats 120v also.
 
  #24  
Old 07-30-06, 12:02 PM
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Fine. You have described the wiring. Not in compete detail, but in enough to make sense of it.

What is your question?

You haven't described the wiring at the light. Is that your problem?
 
  #25  
Old 07-30-06, 12:34 PM
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On switch 1 (the one that is in the switch box that the power wire comes into) the red from the wire to the lights is on the common pole. The red from the wire going to the other 3 way is on a traveler. The white from the same wire is on the other traveler. On switch 2 there are 3 wires, but they are not label which is which. There is a black, red, and another red. The black from the first switch is hooked to the black on the switch two, the red is hooked to the center red, and the white is hooked to the other red. This wiring setup now how it was when I started.

In the light box, no matter what the position either switch is in the Black from the first switch reads 120 volts. At most the red will read 38. this is when one switch is on and the other off. It does not matter which switch is on.

The voltage readings are as follows:

For switch 1 (the one with the power coming into the same switch box)

With switch 1 on/switch 2 off: common 120, traveler over ground (T1) 68, traveler under common (T2) 120

With switch 1 off/switch 2 off: Common 120. T1 120, T2 120

With switch 1 off/switch 2 on: common 120, T1=120, T2=72

With switch 1 on/switch 2 on: common 120, T1=68, T2=120

For Switch 2

With switch 1 on/switch 2 on: Black 120, Center Red Wire (R1) 69, outside red wire (R2) 120

With Switch 1 on/Switch 2 off: Black 120, R1=70, R2=120

With Switch 1 off/switch 2 off: Black 120, R1=120, R2=72

With Switch 1 off/switch 2 on: Black 120, R1=120, R2=70



At the light the black wire always reads 120, the red reads either 17 or 38 depending on if a switch is on or not. The white reads 0
 
  #26  
Old 07-30-06, 12:37 PM
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Racraft
My problem is that my switchs will not turn the lights on or off. at the light I have the wire from the switch box coming in that has a red, black, white and ground. I also have a wire runnnig out to three other lights that I want to run in series, that has a black, white and ground, I have the black, white and ground from the light, and I have a 14/3 wire running out to other lights that I do nto want to be opperated by the 3way switchs. one light in the bathroom, and another two in my laundry
 
  #27  
Old 07-30-06, 12:41 PM
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At the first light the red wire is switched. The black wire is always hot. Connect the red wire to what you want to be switched and the black wire to what you want to be always hot. Naturally the white wire is the connected as the return.

As for the three way switches, your description is unclear.

At the first three way switch connect the red wire from WR4 to the common terminal. Connect the red and white from WR5 to the travelers. At the second three way switch connect the red and white to the travelers and connect the black to the common.
 
  #28  
Old 07-30-06, 12:49 PM
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I am confused about the light. If I want the light to be switched I hook the black from the switch to the black and then what do I hook to the white? If I hook the red to it nothing happens, if I hook the white to it the switch does not work.

the only change I had to make to the switchs was the black and red on switch number 2
 
  #29  
Old 07-30-06, 12:55 PM
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I just called lutron, on switch 2 the black is the common and the reds are travelers
 
  #30  
Old 07-30-06, 01:42 PM
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At the lights the red wire from the switch is switched. Connect it to anything you want switched.
 
  #31  
Old 07-30-06, 03:46 PM
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how many wires are they in switch box 1?.
here is why i ask: you said you have a red wire going to the common andalso have a red and white wire s travlers. but in switch number 2 you say you have a .red red and a black.but there should bea white wire as a tracler from switch1 where is it? how many total wires are in switch box 2?

you never answered me if you tampered with the switch wires.
also, did this entire 3 way switch menagarie,did the lights ever work?

*IF* you never changed around wiresin the 2 switch boxes then all *ANY* of us just need to be concerned with withthe 7 wires pkus 2 white wires that have all been disconnected inside your light box. correct?
 
  #32  
Old 07-30-06, 04:04 PM
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I have good news and a quesiton. I appreaite all the help you al have given me. I got it to work, kind of. I rewired the ciruit. now instead of power coming into the first switch and going to the lights, with a leg off to the second switch, I put the power into the first switch then into the second then to the lights. I then pulled out my dimmer switch and put the old toggle back in. it works. I rut the dimmer in again and it doesn't work. the new dimmer is bad. now my question is do I have a wire that is always hot now? if so, which is it? if not how do I get one. I still have to run a current onto my other lights not on the 3ways.


DaVeBoy,before I started this post everything worked just fine. all I was trying to do was put another, longer, wire out to my other lights so that I had some wire for splicing.
 
  #33  
Old 07-30-06, 04:07 PM
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a thought just occured to me. I used 14/3 wire to run from the second switch to the lights, it is what i had extra of. right now, the red wire is not working. could I use the red wire to have an always hot wire to run to the other lights? I am thinking I could connect the red to the black in the wire that runs from the light box to the other lights not on the 3way
 
  #34  
Old 07-30-06, 07:30 PM
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the good news is im glad your getting somewhere with this problem the bad news is thati decided to bail on this thread.

i thought i would be able to solve this a i have never been stumoed by a wiring or a mis-wiring problem a while backsomeone ran intro a simular problem in a basement like you,ad he un-untted various lights and switches and forgot where he was at. i was able to tell him over the telephone how to fix it. but,he answered every question i asked him, so i could figure out where the current was coming from and where it was going. but you havent done that.:mask:

before either myself racraft was able to figut out what every wire and switch did and all those wires in the light box,you have thrown us a curve ball by changing around wires and even a switch from dimmer back to toggle,which now sounds to melike the switcheshad been changed out,with one of my questions from a few posts back. you make it sound like . by you saying you went back to a oggle switch sounds like there was a toggle swith in there to begain with/
i've tried to help,buts becoming increasingly time consuming we are trying to figure out the existing wires. of how they *were* hooked up, but now have to deal with how you have themits like we are starting over from scratch. i wish you the best,because with 3way circuits you can almost think you have it resolved, when in actuslitythere maybeconsiderable wire transfers that have to be made.
 
  #35  
Old 07-30-06, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by bclacquer
a thought just occured to me. I used 14/3 wire to run from the second switch to the lights, it is what i had extra of. right now, the red wire is not working. could I use the red wire to have an always hot wire to run to the other lights? I am thinking I could connect the red to the black in the wire that runs from the light box to the other lights not on the 3way
Have you now added another cable to your first light box from the second switch box? Why did you use three wire cable from the first light box to the laundry and bath lights? Is it just because that is what you had?
 
  #36  
Old 07-31-06, 04:33 AM
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I used 14/3 to rewire the ciruit because that is what I had. 14/3 goes to the Bath and laundry becasue that is what the electricitan used when the house was built
 
  #37  
Old 07-31-06, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by bclacquer
I used 14/3 to rewire the ciruit because that is what I had.
This is a poor reason to use 14-3.

Please call an electrician. You have been told numerous times how to solve your problem, and yet you persist in not following the advice.
 
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