2 way switches


Old 10-22-07, 06:00 PM
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Question 2 way switches

My neighbor was helping me convert one large room in our basement for a work room for my wife. This room has 2 doors so we want a light switch at each doorway to operate all the overhead lights (5). Yesterday, my neighbor wired the lights in, first tried a regular switch (to make sure his wiring was correct), then he hooked up the 3-way switches.

He said he thought he could figure it out, I should have known then that I was in trouble. Switch #1 (closest to the incoming power) works fine all the time. Switch #2 will only work when #1 is on, and doesn't get any power when #1 is off.

Here is how he has done the work:

On #1 he ran a piece of Romex with the black to the common & white to the screw above it (on the same side). He tied the black from the lites to the screw on the other side. The red from the Romex he tied into the black from the power source and the white from the lites to the power white.

The Romex from #1 goes directly to #2 and ties in on the same screws (black to common, white above it) and the red from the Romex is on the other side.

I took the diagram I drew to work with me today and no one knew for sure how to do it. They all said that I was on my own. One friend told me about this site and that he had good results with it. This room is a surprise for my wife and I would like it done before Friday when she comes home. This was to be a last winter project for me.

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Old 10-22-07, 06:33 PM
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You need to describe your wiring more clearly. You can't simply say 'black from the romex'...you need to say _which_ romex.

From your description, I _think_ that you have all of the necessary conductors.

You have _3_ different cables, 2 switches, and the lights.

You have a 3 conductor cable ( red, black, white, ground) going between the two switches.

You have a 2 conductor cable going from a switch to the lights.

You have a 2 conductor cable with incoming power.

I will call the cables: R_power, R_light, and R_travel

The switches are S1, and S2.

The lights are L

At S1:
You have R_power_white connected to R_light_white
You have R_power_black connected to R_travel_red

You have R_travel_black connected to an S1 terminal
You have R_travel_white connected to an S1 terminal

You have R_travel_black connected to an S2 terminal
You have R_travel_red connected to an S2 terminal
You have R_travel_white connected to an S2 terminal

And finally you have R_light_black connected to an S1 terminal.

If the above is a correct description of your situation, than that is good. As far is it goes, it is exactly what it should be.

The problem is most likely that you are using the _wrong_ terminals on the switches. A three way switch has one 'common' terminal and two ' traveller ' terminals. The position of these terminals is different on switches from different manufacturers, but it is very likely that the common terminal is a different color from the traveller terminals.

The wiring should be:
R_light_black to S1_common terminal
R_travel_black to S1_traveller terminal
R_travel_white to S1_traveller terminal

R_travel_red to S2_common terminal
R_travel_black to S2_traveller terminal
R_travel_white to S2_traveller terminal

Good luck!
Old 10-23-07, 07:45 AM
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Old 10-23-07, 04:57 PM
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Thumbs up 2 way switch

Thanks a million!!!!!!!!!!
Got home from work and wired it correctly!!! She will be so happy with me.

This site is the greatest. I could have done it correctly the first time if I would have contacted this site before I started and I would NOT have had to listen to my neighbor all day!


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