three way switch


Old 10-23-06, 12:48 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3
three way switch

1970 or so electrical. I have 2 hall lights on 2 3way switches. The 2 3way switches wore out long ago and were removed. Finaly got new switches, but I need to connect them like they once were(doh!)

here is what I am lookin at

first switchbox -14/2 power in (bare copper ground throughout)
3way switch- not hooked up
14/2 to the second switchbox

second switchbox
14/2 from the first switch
3way switch- not hooked up
14/2 to the 2 hallway lights and
14/2 to power a receptical(not switched)

Many thanks for any help.
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Old 10-23-06, 01:05 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 995
Is the power receptacle FEEDING the switch?

Are you sure it's not a 14/3 cable between the switch boxes? You need to carry through the neutral (white wire) and have TWO hot, switched "travelers" to complete the 3-way circuit.

The (usu. black) common screw on the 3-way switch will get either the main circuit power or the leg that goes to the lights, depending on which box you're in.

The traveler cable (between the switches) has the black and red on the other screws, in any order, and the white carries the neutral unswitched.

Or do you have something that doesn't jive with this typical set-up?
Old 10-23-06, 03:09 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3
It isn't wired like any of the diagrams I have seen. I know thats not how it is done now. Everything I have come accross has used 3wire, kind of like putting a square peg in round hole. The wires have not been changed or moved, just the switches. And it did work long ago. I am only 99% sure the original switches were 3way,

Old 10-23-06, 03:44 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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A long way from any code but could they have used the bare ground for neutral? Going to need new wiring if that is true.
Old 10-23-06, 03:58 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: New Bern, NC
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I could draw you a wiring diagram of what they did, but I wont.

It is illegal and unsafe, though common in old homes. You need to pull a three conductor cable between the switches.
Old 10-23-06, 06:14 AM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 5,669
You can't do it with the wires you have. You need a four wire cable + ground to make the second recpetacle always on and the three way work.
You can't even do it using the ground if you want the receptacle unswitched.
Old 10-23-06, 12:44 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3
Thank you all. It will be easy once I get some more wire in there.

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