3-Way Switch Issue(s)


Old 07-26-07, 07:55 PM
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Smile 3-Way Switch Issue(s)

History: New home (1.5 years old). Kitchen has flourscent light with two three way switches on each end of kitchen. One switch has crackled a few times when turning it on but the 4 tube flourscent has always come on. Today, I walked into the kitchen, turned on the one three way switch and the fixture momentarily flickered. After that no matter which switch I threw - no light. I checked the breaker and that was on. I tried replacing ALL the light tubes, no luck. I checked the the 120v wires to the light with each switch and got 120V. Funny, but when I had my wife switching the switches on/off, on the off position as got a current leakage reading of 20.7 volts. That lead me to believe one or more of the switches were bad. Also, from the people I have talked to they say one or both of the 3 way switches are bad, so I guess I will replace them both. I am on the right track? I don't mind replacing the two 3-way switches but if that is not the problem, I don't want to start replacing fixtures, ballasts etc to try and make it work. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Old 07-26-07, 09:01 PM
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Turn off power to the circuit. Remove the switch that you most suspect. Don't immediately remove the wires. Two should go to a screws that have the same color. The third to a different colored screw. Mark that with a bit of tape. Remove that wire (common) and one of the others (travelers). Wire nut the two wires together, make sure any bare connections aren't touching, and restore power. The other switch should now turn the light on then off if that switch was bad.
Old 07-27-07, 05:09 AM
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Ignore the voltage reading of 20.7 volts. It is phantom voltage and means nothing.

If you measured 120 volts at the light, then the light is bad. Try using a simple fixture containing a light bulb and you will probably find that it works.

The crackling at the one switch may indeed mean that switch is going bad, but it does not sound like it has anything to do with the problem.

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