3 way lamp switch - lamp has 3 sockets

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Old 01-19-08, 03:36 PM
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3 way lamp switch - lamp has 3 sockets

I have an antique lamp that has a 3-way switch that controls 3 bulbs. First click, bulb 1 goes on, second click, bulbs 2 & 3 go on, 1 is off, third click, all 3 bulbs are on. The original switch had 2 wires. The only new switch I could find has 3 wires - blue & red from the top, black out the bottom. I have tried all kinds of permutations, and the best I can get is that when bulb 1 is on, the other 2 bulbs are on, but barely...very, very dim. The worst I get is I blow a circuit breaker.

Any ideas?
 
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Old 01-19-08, 05:46 PM
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Are all the bulbs equal wattages? Sounds like when the two are very dim and one is bright that you have it wired in series?!
 
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Old 01-20-08, 08:42 AM
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3-way lamp switch - lamp has 3 sockets

Yes, all bulbs are the same wattage.

Your question about wiring in a series triggered a thought...I have paid no attention to + or - wires (aren't you supposed to alternate those in a series?) I have regular brown lamp wire in it (since I had to replace the switch, I rewired all the sockets at the same time) so how would I know the difference?

And then I wonder if there is a difference in the wires on the switch. I know the black wire is the line, and the red and blue ones are the load, but how do I know which - red or blue - goes where?

I'm only a small step above a total novice on this stuff, but my handyman was here and I asked him to have a look and he didn't do any better than I had, so it's back in my lap.

Thanks for any help.
 
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Old 01-20-08, 10:26 AM
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You should have paid attention to how it was wired before you di anything.

I think you may have to go to lighting store and have someone wire this for you. They can also get you the correct parts.
 
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Old 01-20-08, 10:50 AM
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3 way lamp switch

I did pay attention...I even drew a diagram. The problem is that the old switch had only 2 wires, and the new one has 3. Can't buy a 2 wire one.

I think you're right...time to find someone who knows what they're doing!

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

PK
Montrose, PA
 
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Old 01-20-08, 10:57 AM
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I have paid no attention to + or - wires (aren't you supposed to alternate those in a series?)
This is an AC circuit. The terms positive and negative don't apply.
First click, bulb 1 goes on, second click, bulbs 2 & 3 go on, 1 is off, third click, all 3 bulbs are on. The original switch had 2 wires.
That makes no sense. It couldn't have worked as described with only two wires. You would probably have needed 4 (maybe 3) wires. 1 wire for power in and a wire for each of the three lamp holders (or two lamp holders on the same wire). Can you post your diagram to a hosting service such as Http://imageshack.us or photobucket and provide us with a URL.
 
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Old 01-20-08, 01:16 PM
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3 way lamp switch

Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
This is an AC circuit. The terms positive and negative don't apply.
OK, at least I didn't screw that up.

Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
That makes no sense. It couldn't have worked as described with only two wires. You would probably have needed 4 (maybe 3) wires. 1 wire for power in and a wire for each of the three lamp holders (or two lamp holders on the same wire).
Welcome to my world.

Can you post your diagram to a hosting service such as Http://imageshack.us or photobucket and provide us with a URL.
OK, everything I can possibly show you is here:
http://www.epix.net/~pkp/lamp.htm

I really appreciate your taking so much time to help. Especially because this thing may have you pulling your hair out like it has me!

PK
 

Last edited by angelmutt; 01-20-08 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 01-20-08, 01:53 PM
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Lightbulb

Here is my attempt. The lamp cord has a ribbed or striped side and a smooth side. Make sure the ribbed side is on the outside part of the socket not the center prong.
Now wire all the ribbed wires to the white from your powre source. Wire the black from the switch to the black from the power source.
If the plug in is wired with the same lamp cord the ribbed is the white and the larger of the prongs of the plug. Wire the blue on the switch to 1 light bulb and the red to the remaining 2 lights. This will mean at 1st click the 1 light bulb comes on. At the 2nd click the 1st goes off and the other 2 light. At the 3rd click all bulbs light and the 4th click all lights off. The ribbed wire is always the nuetral. If not ribbed it will have some sort of distinction from the other. Maybe it has print on it and the other does not. If you cannot find a marking the put one on yourself with a marker or paint or fingernail polish. It is important that the hot is on the center prong in the socket. This could be why the bulbs are dim. The current is having to go through the bulb backwards. Yes I know AC has no plus or minus persay but it does make a difference safety and flow wise.
 
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Old 01-20-08, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by badeyeben View Post
Here is my attempt. The lamp cord has a ribbed or striped side and a smooth side. Make sure the ribbed side is on the outside part of the socket not the center prong.
Now wire all the ribbed wires to the white from your powre source. Wire the black from the switch to the black from the power source.
If the plug in is wired with the same lamp cord the ribbed is the white and the larger of the prongs of the plug. Wire the blue on the switch to 1 light bulb and the red to the remaining 2 lights. This will mean at 1st click the 1 light bulb comes on. At the 2nd click the 1st goes off and the other 2 light. At the 3rd click all bulbs light and the 4th click all lights off. The ribbed wire is always the nuetral. If not ribbed it will have some sort of distinction from the other. Maybe it has print on it and the other does not. If you cannot find a marking the put one on yourself with a marker or paint or fingernail polish. It is important that the hot is on the center prong in the socket. This could be why the bulbs are dim. The current is having to go through the bulb backwards. Yes I know AC has no plus or minus persay but it does make a difference safety and flow wise.
Yes, this is the correct way to wire it. But I'm not sure that is the question, as this is trivial.
 
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Old 01-20-08, 03:09 PM
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3 way lamp switch - I think we're getting closer!

Originally Posted by badeyeben View Post
Here is my attempt. The lamp cord has a ribbed or striped side and a smooth side. Make sure the ribbed side is on the outside part of the socket not the center prong.
OK badeyeben...your answer has me fired up...I think you are on the right track...especially when you explained the sequence of the switch...that is exactly right on.

I have just one more question about the socket - the outside vs the center prong. If you wouldn't mind going back to my "lamp page" http://www.epix.net~pkp/lamp.htm and scrolling to the bottom to look at the photos I just added of the socket. Where, on this socket, would the ribbed (white) wire go? There is no center. Is it white on bright (sliver), or white on brass?

racraft...I think trivial is what I needed.

PK
 
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Old 01-20-08, 03:13 PM
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Look very carefully at the socket. One screw connects to the base of the socket, the other connects to the outer ring. It should be obvious by looking which is which. Or you can use a meter and figure it out. The silver is for the neutral, the brass is for the hot wire.
 
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Old 01-20-08, 03:17 PM
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OK, gotcha...thanks. I'll let you know how I do.
 
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Old 01-20-08, 05:32 PM
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It Works!

It works! I can't thank you enough. When I think that I paid a handyman $45 with no results! Grrr. Thanks so much for your patience with a novice. This has been a great learning experience.

No longer in the dark,
PK
 
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Old 01-20-08, 10:27 PM
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I'm glad you got it to work but I am totally in the dark how the two wire switch could have worked based on your diagram. Oh well it works that's what counts.

I also don't see how correct connection of neutral could have made it work. On older lamps with non polarized plugs it is meaningless. (Neutral is a safety issue not a functional issue as far as I know.)
 
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Old 01-21-08, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
I'm glad you got it to work but I am totally in the dark
No pun intended? <g>

how the two wire switch could have worked based on your diagram.
This is a REALLY old lamp. It was an antique when I got it and I've had it over 30 years. Somehow it worked. There is also the possibility that my diagram was not correct. No way of knowing that now.

I also don't see how correct connection of neutral could have made it work. On older lamps with non polarized plugs it is meaningless. (Neutral is a safety issue not a functional issue as far as I know.)
I think the significant thing was connecting all the sockets together in one connection...all the white wires together. Reviewing my own wiring diagram, I see that I did a "round robin". Socket 1 was connected to 2 which was connected to 3 which was connected to 1. That's how I interpreted the original wiring, and that may be what I drew/did wrong.

There's no better learning experience than having to solve a problem. I'm a pretty "handy" gal, but electricity often baffles me. So I learned a lot on this one!

Thanks again,
PK
 
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