3-function light switch assistance

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Old 01-09-10, 03:06 PM
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3-function light switch assistance

Hello. I am attempting to replace a 3 function light switch (gang box the size of a standard single switch but it actually on its side and has 3 switches in it) and want to make sure I do it correctly. The existing switch and replacement switch have a different number of screws and it’s a little confusing…at least for me. The switch controls 3 different lights.
Existing switches– looks to be 3 small switches attached together. 1 screw on the top of each little switchbox, 2 on the bottom. Left switch has a blue wire on top and 2 reds on the bottom. Center switch has a blue jumper from left switch on top and a yellow on bottom. Right switch has a black on top and 2 reds on bottom. My guess is that the red wires are hot (common) and all others (except for the jumper) are going to the individual lights.
Replacement switches – looks to be more of a single unit as opposed to individual boxes. It has 3 screws on top and a common on the bottom.
So, I was thinking the plan would be to tie all red wires together and attach to the common. Then take the blue, yellow and black wires and attach them to each of the screws on the top.
Please let me know if you think this is the correct way to do it or if you have other ideas. Thanks for your help.
Todd
 
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Old 01-09-10, 03:29 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
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From your description it sounds like you have two 3-ways and one single pole. 3-way on right and left and single pole in the middle. If this is the case your new switch might not work.

Also buy your description it appears that the reds are travelers, the blue is a hot, the black is a hot from another circuit and the yellow is a switch leg.

A meter will confirm, or deny, any of the above statements. With your meter set to 250V check from the bottom wires to ground. These tests will have to be done hot so use caution!
The yellow should be dead with the switch off if that is the switch leg.
The reds on either switch: one will be hot the other will be dead. If you flip the switch, the dead one will now be hot and the other red is dead.
On the top, the blue wire on both left and middle switch will be hot all the time as will the black on the right switch.
You can check if the blue and black are different circuits by taking the two leads from blue to black. You should get something between 208-240 volts.

If you do these tests please post your results and we can see what you have.
 
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Old 01-09-10, 03:38 PM
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Thanks for your input. There are 2 3-ways actually. Sorry, I forgot that part. I will due the tests you suggested.

As for the switch I have, these were all I could find (Menards/HD/Lowes). Any recommendations on where I can find a replacement.
 
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Old 01-09-10, 04:01 PM
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Or better yet, if you could give me the technical name of what type of switch I have, I could just do some searching on-line. Thanks again.
 
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Old 01-09-10, 05:19 PM
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They are called "Despard" switches (or outlets if that is what you need) I believe I have seen them at the Menard's around me but it could be a local thing. You can search them on the net where they are fairly available.

If this is not what you have, then I might need a picture.
 
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Old 01-09-10, 05:37 PM
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Curiosity got me. Try this link. I followed TI's term Despard.
Despard Switch Wall Plates, Interchangeable Light Switches

Bud
 
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