wiring mystery

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  #1  
Old 08-11-10, 01:38 PM
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wiring mystery

I just changed out some older style receptacles and light switches.

The 2 switches that control a hallway light are 3-pole switches. They were working fine until i switched out the receptacle on the left.

The old receptacle on the left never worked (the 2 white wires were connected to the silver screws. The 2 black wires were connected to a wirenut and not attached to the receptacle).

The receptacle is in a living room with no ceiling lights and for convenience I was hoping to finally get the receptacle to work so that i could turn a table lamp on and off via the wall switch. I connected the receptacle as shown in the diagram below. It now works fine and the switch turns the top receptacle on and off. (The bottom is always powered.)

The problem is that now, the 3-way switches for the hallway light do not work properly. If the right switch is on is ON the other switch will turn the light on and off. But if the right switch is off the other switch does nothing.

The 2 switches in the middle share a double box.

Thanks in advance.

 

Last edited by jimyyz; 08-11-10 at 03:17 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-11-10, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by jimyyz View Post
The 3 black wires were connected to a wirenut and not attached to the receptacle).
What happened to them? They are not pictured in the diagram.
 
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Old 08-11-10, 03:19 PM
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My error, there are only 2 black wires in the box. I connected a 3rd black wire from them to the receptacle.
 
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Old 08-11-10, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jimyyz View Post
I just changed out some older style receptacles and light switches.
the problem likely has nothing to do with the receptacle, and just that you connected the wires to the switches wrong when you replaced them. The problem is the switch on the right. You have the power wire connected to one of the 2 "travellers" terminals. You need to find out which one it is and connect it to the "common" terminal. If the switch has 2 blacks and a red wire, you likely need to switch the 2 blacks around.

Wiring a 3-Way Switch
 
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Old 08-11-10, 04:53 PM
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Jim, when you changed out the old recepticle to the new recepticle, did the old one also have the tab broken, or not?
 
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Old 08-11-10, 04:54 PM
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i rechecked the switch on the right. the hot is connected to the black screw. also, the 3-ways worked fine before i switched out the receptacle.
 
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Old 08-11-10, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jimyyz View Post
i rechecked the switch on the right. the hot is connected to the black screw. also, the 3-ways worked fine before i switched out the receptacle.
hmmm, then you should also check the left switch and make sure that the wire powering the light is connected to the black screw and not a gold one, and that the same color wires on the gold screws on the right switch, are connected to the gold screws on the left switch.
 
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Old 08-12-10, 09:51 AM
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i rechecked all my wires; tried switching the travelers... same problem.
could one of the switches be defective?
 
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Old 08-13-10, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by jimyyz View Post
i rechecked the switch on the right. the hot is connected to the black screw. also, the 3-ways worked fine before i switched out the receptacle.
You say 3-way worked til you changed recepticle, yet you did not answer my question.
 
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Old 08-13-10, 04:47 PM
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my apologies ecman. I actually did answer your question. I don't know why it didn't post to the forum... the mystery expands? lol.

I believe the tab was not broken on the old one.
 
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Old 08-13-10, 05:34 PM
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So probably if you put a receticle back in with an unbroken tab, you get your 3-ways to work again probably? If so, then one has to figure out how they configured the recepticle/3-way circuit wrong, from the get go, and how to fix if it can be without somehow running new wire in wall or whatever.
 
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Old 08-14-10, 11:49 AM
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ugh. Obviously I have done something wrong somewhere.

i changed the receptacle and put it back the way it was originally. Only the 2 white wires and the red are connected. The blacks have a wirenut on them. Of course the receptacle now works just fine and the left switch controls the receptacle... go figure. So obviously the red is supplying the power to the receptacle and the old receptacle was just broken which is why it never worked.

The 3-way still does not work properly. I even tried a different 3-pole switch.

*!#%#
 
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Old 08-14-10, 06:42 PM
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I reread your first post, and rereviewed your drawing especially the far left recepticle. You said there were 2 hot wires nutted together. Yet in your drawing you show only one red and one black hooked to the recepticle. What happened to the other black wire?
 
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Old 08-14-10, 08:36 PM
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which way the three way power source come in ?

At the switch box or at the luminaire location ?

and also there is total of 9 tries to get the connection right with three ways.

Merci.
Marc
 
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Old 08-15-10, 10:15 AM
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ecman, the diagram above shows how I wired it the first time... not how it was originally.

here is a diagram of the before and after. At the bottom i've shown the wires exactly as it is in the box NOW. I did omit wires in the first diagram as i was trying to keep it simple. i guess it didn't help much in the end.

marc,

i believe the power comes in from the switch on the right. you can see from the diagram.

yes there are 9 tries to get a 3-way right, however, once you know which wire is hot then it's only 3 isn't it?

thanks so much guys

 
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Old 08-15-10, 10:36 AM
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So in your first post, you decided to wire a black wire to the recepticle and now you left it disconnected, the way you first found it?

But I guess that since they are nutted together, that regardless if they are hooked up at the recepticle or not -whatever the black feeds downstream should still be fed. So this recepticle is no longer the issue.

So now, since you returned the recepticle back to how it was and the 3-ways do not work right, that must mean that indeed you messed up one or both of the switches when you redid those as well. New 3 way switches put the common in a different lcoation from the old 3-way switches, and that can be the fooler. The traveler terminals are the 2 brass ones, and the common is the darker bronze one. Some even stamp "common" at the common terminal. I might be a broken record to some previous posts, but do not have the time to review all that has been said. This SHOULD be an easy fix.
 
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Old 08-15-10, 10:47 AM
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ecman,

once again, the moral of the story is to never assume anything. the red wire was the culprit. and though i switch the travelers at one end switching them at the other did in fact solve the problem.

do you have a favorite charity? i'd like to send a $25 donation on your behalf.
 

Last edited by jimyyz; 08-15-10 at 12:05 PM.
  #18  
Old 08-17-10, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by jimyyz View Post
ecman,

once again, the moral of the story is to never assume anything. the red wire was the culprit. and though i switch the travelers at one end switching them at the other did in fact solve the problem.

do you have a favorite charity? i'd like to send a $25 donation on your behalf.
you may believe you just switched the travelers around, but one of them had to actually be a common.
 
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Old 08-18-10, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jimyyz View Post
ecman,

once again, the moral of the story is to never assume anything. the red wire was the culprit. and though i switch the travelers at one end switching them at the other did in fact solve the problem.

do you have a favorite charity? i'd like to send a $25 donation on your behalf.
So does everything work now? - Like, does even your switched outlet allow you to turn on a light when it is plugged into that recepticle?

There are probably a lot of good charities out there. I give to the biggie that helps people when there are huge earthquakes, tsunamis, and other stuff - in this country, and all over the world.
 
  #20  
Old 08-18-10, 04:01 PM
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Everything works perfectly. I WILL donate the money to the Red Cross. Again, thank you.
 
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Old 08-18-10, 04:23 PM
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