Old 04-14-07, 12:32 PM
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Talking Switches

This is an easy one, I have 2 switches ganged, both are 3way. There are 3, 3wire cables entering the box. After testing, 1 hot black wire. I know I should pigtail the hot black wire and connect one to each switch, but once again the red wires confuse me and can someone explain why is there a red wire? I assumed in the beginning that it was the fixture wire, but obviously not the case and is there a difference between a common wire and a traveling wire?
Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-14-07, 01:20 PM
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We cannot tell you how to wire this without knowing where those wires go.

We need to know the wiring at each of the other switches and at the loads these switches control.

There is a big difference between a common and a traveler. If you get them mixed up then the light (or whatever the load is) will not work properly from each switch.

A three way switch works by internally connecting the common to one traveler or to the other traveler, depending on whether the switch is up or down.

I urge you to buy and read a book on electrical wiring, as a book will include pictures of typical 3 way switch setups.
Old 04-14-07, 08:28 PM
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There are many different ways that this might be wired. Can you tell us some history of your project? Did you run these cables? Are your replacing the switches? What did you start with and what are you trying to accomplish?

Three 3-wire cables (black/red/white/ground) is somewhat unusual for a two-gang box containing two 3-way switches. I can think of no logical explantion unless somebody had a bunch of 3-wire cable laying around and used it instead of 2-wire cable for one of the cables. Even then, it's fairly unusual.

Examining the wiring at the other switch of each pair, and at the fixtures controlled, will provide more clues.
Old 04-15-07, 06:07 AM
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One explanation for the wiring could be two switch loops for three way switches from a common source, such as a light and fan. They send power to a switch box on one wire, and bring switched power back on two wires. The other three conductor cables go to the the other three way switches.

However, we need more information to make any definitive statements.
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