dual switch 3-way wiring help needed

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Old 01-28-10, 09:47 AM
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dual switch 3-way wiring help needed

I'm replacing old switches in a 50 year old house... the switches may be that old who knows.... Everything worked before i began to work...

The Kitchen light is controlled from two switches. Switch A is a single 3-way switch. It has 3 wires. Switch B is a dual switch. The dual switch top controls the kitchen light and the bottom controls an outside light.

First, did I buy the right switch? It's a leviton Combination switch & 3-way switch.

Second, the diagrams for it show a "common feed" configuration and a "separate feed" configuration . I went with the separate feed because it uses 5 wires. The other way I believe only uses four wires.

I tried maybe 5 - 10 cominations and the best I could do was make the dual switch work perfectly... but the single 3-way switch wouldn't do anything. At that point I thought the single switch was broken, but I tried to connect the wires to each other and still nothing happened.

So those are the facts. Here is my opinion of some things (remember I am not a pro).

First the outlet with 5 wires has 2 wires coming from one place and 3 wires coming from another place. So I figure the 2 wires is for outside and the 3 wires are for inside 3-way. The 2 wires for outside, 1 is white and it is Live and the other is black an it is not live. I confirmed this by touching the white to the wire which I believe goes to the indoor light.

Second, the 3 wires on the dual outlet for the inside light consist of 1 solid red, 1 white with red stripe and 1 black. You'd think the colors coincide with the other 3-way single switch but they don't. The single 3-way switch has 2 black wires and one white with red stripe. And more importantly they don't all come from the same place.

One black comes from somewhere else, so that means that is the live one.. that's okay. But that means that only 2 of the three wires go to the dual switch. So 1 black and 1 white with red stripe must be the traveling wires that go to the dual switch.

So on the dual switch, I think I should pace the white with red stripe and black on the travelers (A2, A1). So that leaves red as the live wire?

So my configuration should be:
A2 = white with red strip
A1 = black
B1 = black from outside light

Live top right = Red from 3 wires
Live bottom right = white from outside light

How does that sound? I am pretty sure I tried that and it didn't work. But I'll try it again if I can get some confidence in my logic. Attached are some pics from my camera phone. Couldn't do any better :/


 
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Old 01-28-10, 11:16 AM
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As best as can be determined from the "images", the wires appear to be very worn and in a very poor , and "near-failure" condition.

Two suggestions; hire a "pro" to correct the problem, and place the device in a "deep" Wiremold "extension box" which is set over the existing flush outlet-box(OB).

With this approach, the "pro" can splice device-leads to the old and fragile wires using the flush OB as a "splice-box". Also , the device leads can be a color-coded to simplify the device connections inside the WM extension-box. Obviously this is done only after the old wires have been positively identified as to how they "fit" into the circuit, which is best performed by someone experienced in this task.

Good Luck !!!
 
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Old 01-29-10, 04:47 AM
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That sounds expensive, I may look into that later.

Right now I have a simpler question to ask. On the dual switch there are two live connections on the right side of it. Are those two connections connected? For instance if I put a live wire in the bottom connection and a load on the top connection, the light comes on. Shouldn't these two connections be separate? If so then that means my dual switch is broken and the reason why I am having a hard time.
 
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Old 01-29-10, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by sddiy View Post
That sounds expensive, I may look into that later.

Right now I have a simpler question to ask. On the dual switch there are two live connections on the right side of it. Are those two connections connected? For instance if I put a live wire in the bottom connection and a load on the top connection, the light comes on. Shouldn't these two connections be separate? If so then that means my dual switch is broken and the reason why I am having a hard time.
Am I asking the question incorrectly? I'm about to go to home depot and buy another combination switch since I am hoping the current one is broken.
 
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Old 01-29-10, 09:24 AM
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My intial thought is your switch is not broken. I just think you have not gotten the correct wiring combination to work.

With the common feed on the switch there should be a tab you can remove so that it becomes two independant feeds. One of these would be for the inside light, the other for the kitchen lights.

Try to only hook up the wires you believe are for the outside light. Can you get it to work properly? If yes, remove them from the switch temporarily and cap. Now get the 3 way portion to work.

Try to remember which wires were connected to the old 3 way switch and which screw they went to. Look for an odd colored screw.
 
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Old 02-01-10, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
My intial thought is your switch is not broken. I just think you have not gotten the correct wiring combination to work.

With the common feed on the switch there should be a tab you can remove so that it becomes two independant feeds. One of these would be for the inside light, the other for the kitchen lights.

Try to only hook up the wires you believe are for the outside light. Can you get it to work properly? If yes, remove them from the switch temporarily and cap. Now get the 3 way portion to work.

Try to remember which wires were connected to the old 3 way switch and which screw they went to. Look for an odd colored screw.
thanks you were right! I didn't know about the removable tab. The directions on the boxed mentioned it very briefly and I overlooked it. All that for nothing :/ Oh well at least my wiring logic was right to begin with.
 
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