Lights are backwards in 3-way switch!

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Old 11-07-09, 04:11 PM
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Lightbulb Lights are backwards in 3-way switch!

I have existing can lights in my kitchen and I wanted to add some under-cabinet lighting (xenon, 120V) to the same switch. That way, when I turn on the lights, both the kitchen lights and under-cabinet lights will turn on.

What has happened, though, is when my kitchen lights are on, my under-cabinet lights are off, and vice versa...

I put one wire to the "hot" red wire and I tried both of the other terminals, but either way, it seems to be doing the same thing.

Is there any way I can have it connected to the same switch without having to drag wire from all over the house, or am I missing something here?

TIA!
 
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Old 11-07-09, 04:36 PM
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Welcome to the forums! You are connecting your lighting to one of the travelers on the three way switches. You need to determine which switch is line and which one is load. Where does your power come in? To the lights first, to one of the switches first? If the switches, then once you determine which switch the power is connected to (black screw), then the other switch black scrw is where you can hook the hot wire to your lights. Much easier to connect the wiring for the under cabinet lights to the overhead lights.
 
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Old 11-07-09, 11:17 PM
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How many conductors you have in that switch box and is there is a legit netural in there ? if you have only three conductor that is a switch loop that will get ya if not carefull.

But if you have a real netural in the switch box then it will be far much easier to hook up but all it depending on which end the conductor or cables go to the luminaries.

Merci.
Marc
 
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Old 11-08-09, 01:31 PM
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Smile

Duh! Stupid me... I totally didn't think of using the ground because it's an exposed wire. It works perfectly now. Thanks, guys!
 
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Old 11-08-09, 02:43 PM
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I hope you check back in. You are using the bare grounding wire as a ground and not a neutral, right??? You can't use it as a neutral even though it "works". You are carrying return amperage back on that wire, and it is very dangerous to use it as a neutral.
 
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Old 11-08-09, 04:01 PM
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Oh... I think I'm using the ground as the neutral. There are four screws on the switch - 3 with covered wires and one bare (I'm assuming it's ground).

The lights I'm using only use two wires (standard lamp wire). When I connect it up with any other combination, nothing else seems to work. It either doesn't work at all or it's reverse (xenon on when the pot lights are off). It seems to only work with the two black screws (one of which is ground and the other being a black wire). Is there an alternative to trying to drag a wire from the pot lights? I have an electrical outlet close to this switch. Would it be possible to connect the return to the outlet's return instead?
 
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Old 11-08-09, 04:47 PM
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All of the circuit conductors need to be in the same cable or raceway. You cannot grab your needed neutral from another location.

You also cannot have lighting on the small appliance countertop circuits.

Unless you can answer some of the qustions already asked it will be hard to make much progress toward a solution.

I will also suggest you try a read a book like "Wiring Simplified" so you will have a better idea of what you are trying to deal with.
 
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Old 11-08-09, 06:26 PM
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You don't have a neutral in the switch boxes. You have to pull your circuit from the pot lights down to the countertop. Just wire them as if you were adding another pot.....white to white, black to black and green/bare to bare.
 
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Old 11-08-09, 06:41 PM
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I'm pretty sure the configuration is similar to this one here:

How To Install a 3-way Switch Option #2 :: Home Improvement Web

I just noticed that there are a bunch of white wires that are connected together in the box, but not on the switch. Could this be the neutral that I'm looking for?
 
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Old 11-08-09, 06:43 PM
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Bingo that is the key word a bunch of white conductor wirenutted that is netural.

Merci,
Marc
 
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Old 11-08-09, 06:51 PM
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That's it!!! Connect your neutral to the remaining white wires and get it off the grounding wire. Let us know what happens.
 
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Old 11-08-09, 07:27 PM
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That did it! Now, it works and I don't have to be afraid that my house is going to burn down to the ground. Thanks a lot of your help, everybody!
 
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