3-Way Switch. Help!

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Old 10-10-09, 10:45 AM
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3-Way Switch. Help!

Greetings,

I recently had a contractor in my house doing some minor remodeling and painting. The work required the contractor to move a light switch about a foot on a wall in my kitchen. The lights in my kitchen are controlled from two switches at opposite ends of the room.

Here is the problem. One of the switches MUST be on for either switch to work. If I turn on the lights from that switch the other switch does nothing. If however, it is in the 'correct' position, the other switch works normally.

The contractor tried, to no avail, to fix this and played with both switches. Therefore, we can't assume that the switch which was not moved is fine and that the other one is the only one which is messed up.

On the switch that only works when the 'master' switch is on there are three wires and three terminals. The single terminal on the left side (silver screw) has a red wire connected to it. The right side has two terminals (one black and one gold colored) and they each have a single black wire on them.

The other switch (the master switch that has to be in a certain position for the other switch to work) is the same type of switch and has the same connections with the exception being that the black screw has an additional black wire attached to it (for a total of 4 wires).

I have a multimeter that can check continuity, etc. if that will help. How do I diagnose and fix this problem?

Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 10-10-09, 01:06 PM
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On the switch that only works when the 'master' switch is on there are three wires and three terminals. The single terminal on the left side (silver screw) has a red wire connected to it. The right side has two terminals (one black and one gold colored) and they each have a single black wire on them.
A three way switch normally has two brass colored screws and a dark colored screw. Are you sure this is a three-way switch?
The work required the contractor to move a light switch about a foot on a wall in my kitchen.
Did he have to lengthen the cable. If so did he leave an accessible Jbox at the splice?
The contractor tried, to no avail, to fix this
Then he should hire an electrician at his cost to fix it .
and played with both switches
That indicates a lack of knowledge and may have further confused things.
 
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Old 10-10-09, 01:07 PM
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If the three way worked fine before the person who worked on your house needs to come back out and fix it. Or else he needs to hire an electrician for this aspect of the project and get it fixed. If all else fails then sue.
 
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Old 10-10-09, 02:33 PM
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Thanks for all the input, guys. I was able to figure it out with the help of a youtube video, some trial and error, and a multimeter.

Regarding the contractor, I totally agree. The switches worked fine before he showed up and I told him he needed to get it fixed. He said he wasn't an electrician and I told him (nicely) 'too bad. If you can't do it get somebody who can'. He actually brought a guy out who he said he had to pay for who was supposedly an electrician. Yeah, right! This 'electrician' couldn't fix a malfunctioning 3-way switch? I can fix the problem in a couple of hours using the Internet and a multimeter and an electrician couldn't??? This was one of many issues at the end of a long, painful job. Trust me, when I was through with the guy he was no more anxious to do more work for me than I was to have him back.
 
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Old 10-10-09, 03:02 PM
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Glad you got it working but I'm still wondering if the dip-wad spliced the cable and buried it when he moved it. He certainly doesn't sound very knowledgeable.
 
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