3 way switches are driving me nuts

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Old 05-10-10, 04:47 PM
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3 way switches are driving me nuts

ok, just answer me this. I understand that hot goes to common on one switch and light goes to common on the other. as far as the two traveler wires, do the red and black have to be connected to the identical positioned screws on each switch or does it matter?


I've got a gang with two switches, a 3 way and a dimmer.

I have a hot cable coming in, which I wanted to split between the two switches,( the dimmer runs another set of lights, the 3 way runs the other.)

anyone walk me through this?
 
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Old 05-10-10, 05:01 PM
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You have the idea down. Using the wiring scheme of power into SW1-SW2-light the red and black are your travelers. It does not matter if they match position on both switches.

If you need to supply power to two switches just splice two short lengths of wire to the incoming hot. These are commonly called pigtails.

All the whites will splice together. All grounds together and to the switches, and the box if metallic.
 
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Old 05-10-10, 05:23 PM
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just switched the positions of the two travelers and same issue. I have ALL wires connected to the three way switches hot all the time regardless of switch positions.


so, to recap my wiring:

1. hot 14/2 coming to switch number 1
2. 14/3 from switch 1 to switch 2
3. hot 14/2 black wire to common screw switch 1 and whites spliced.
4. red and black 14/3 switch 1 to traveler screws

switch 2:
1. red and black 14/3 to traveler screws switch 2
2. 14/2 from switch 2 to (2) lights (both of which are currently not connected electrically)
3. whites from 14/3 and 14/2 spliced
4. black from 14/2 to common screw switch 2

does it matter that there are no lights physically wired to the circuit? seems it should work anyhow.
 
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Old 05-10-10, 06:39 PM
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Could you describe the issue you are having. Your description sounds correct.
 
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Old 05-11-10, 03:22 AM
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well, using my tester, it appeared that all wires were hot all the time and that regardless of the switch positions, nothing was happening. then , I wired the light into it and bam. works. I guess you've got to have a light in the equation to make it work. the switches still seem like all 3 wires are hot no matter what but it's wired correctly and it works.
 
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Old 05-11-10, 07:54 AM
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If you were using a digital multimeter or non-contact tester they can give false readings. The non-contact tester is especially prone to this.
 
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