3-way switch problems

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  #1  
Old 07-17-07, 10:45 AM
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3-way switch problems

I have the typical hallway with two lights controlled by two 3-way switches. I decided to replace the switches after painting the hallway but now they don't work properly.

Switch 1 has white and black with the black coming into the common. Then the white is connected to a black wire that then runs out with a red and white wire, which are connected to the switch. The second switch has a red, white and black wire. The black runs to the common and the red and whtie to the other terminals on the switch. This is how they were hooked up on the old switches too. But if power is on in switch1 then the lights are on and I can use switch 2 to turn the lights on and off. But in this case if switch 2 is turned off then I can't use switch 1 to turn the lights back on. So I turn switch 2 on and I can toggle the lights on and off with Switch1. If switch 1 has power off then switch 2 doesn't work. The switches were wired the exact same way they came off. I hooked up the old switches again and they work properly, either switch controls the light irregardless of the position of the otehr switch.

Now the only difference between the new and old switches is that the new ones have a ground terminal. Of course there's no ground wire in the romex so they aren't hooked up. But is this the reason why the switches don't work properly?
 
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  #2  
Old 07-17-07, 10:52 AM
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The lack of the ground wire has nothing to do with your problem.

When you hooked up the old switches you need to verify the wires connected to the common or odd colored terminals. Make sure that those go on the odd colored terminals on the new switches. Do not depend on the layout of the terminals to guide you. You need to go by color.

Try to change only one switch and see if it works correctly. If it does continue to the second switch.
 
  #3  
Old 07-17-07, 10:54 AM
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You didn't hook the wires up properly.

Try again. There are only three (electrically) different possibilities per switch.
 
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Old 07-17-07, 11:21 AM
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Ok, thanks for the help guys. I tried using the old switch and found out that switch 1 was the problem. Used anotehr new switch for switch 1 and now it works fine. Guess the new one was defective. I jsut tried it in switch 2 and same problem so now I know that the problem was with the switch. Thanks again for all your help and the suggestions. I didn't expect new hardware to be defective but it was.
 
  #5  
Old 07-17-07, 11:26 AM
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Are you sure the problem was the switch? How did you determine the common terminal and the traveler terminals?
 
  #6  
Old 07-17-07, 12:07 PM
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The Common terminal is marked COMM so the other two must be travelers. It's the push style terminal so I think it's not making solid contact as it also seems easy to pull out wire on one of the traveler terminals.
 
  #7  
Old 07-17-07, 12:13 PM
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Never use the back stabs. They fail over time. Always use the screw terminals. Redo your connections if you used the back stabs.
 
  #8  
Old 07-17-07, 12:20 PM
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Unfortunately these are cheapos so they don't have any screw terminals.
 
  #9  
Old 07-17-07, 12:22 PM
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Get rid of them and buy better quality. Take the hit as a lesson learned. You get what you pay for.
 
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