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Relpacing a faulty light switch, Red wire, NEWBIE Help Please.

Relpacing a faulty light switch, Red wire, NEWBIE Help Please.


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Old 02-25-11, 08:45 AM
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Relpacing a faulty light switch, Red wire, NEWBIE Help Please.

I believe I have a faulty switch. It controls 2 ceiling lamps in my garage. It just stopped working suddenly. The lights are wired to 2 switches. one on one end of the garage, and one on the other end in the house. The house one is faulty, while the other one still works. I figured it would just be a simple matter of taking out the old switch and replacing it with a new one and hooking up the wires just like the old one. When I opened it up though, I saw a red wire. What is a red wire for? never heard of a red one, only white, black and ground. (there is no ground wire BTW). This probably gives away my ignorance. Anyway, hooking the new one up the same way won't work because that would mean the white wire would be on the ground screw in the new switch and that makes no sense. Do I need a different switch or what or am I going to have to combine two wires together? I have included a diagram of the old wiring configuration, and what the new switch looks like. The color of the paired screws are all brass on both switches , and the new switch has the green ground screw. The single screw on the bottom right side of the old one is black. Please tell me how to hook this up. House was built in 1963 in Central Illinois if that helps any.

Thanks

 
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Old 02-25-11, 09:00 AM
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I could be wrong (I usually am), but if you remove the cover to the garage switch you should also see a red wire.

That red wire is connected to both light switches. That's what allows the garage lights to be turned on/off by either switch.

You might need to buy a light switch that is designed for that type of "dual light" setup.
 
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Old 02-25-11, 09:09 AM
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3 way switch

What you have there is a three way switch. You'll have to buy a three way to replace the old one and wire the three way exactly like the old one.
 
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Old 02-25-11, 09:25 AM
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Butch,

Yes, that's it! My brain knows what they are called, but the word never seems to make it to my vocal cords (or, in this case my fingers).
 
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Old 02-25-11, 09:30 AM
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Just a note on a 3-way switch it isn't the posistion of the screw it is the color of the screw that determines what goes where. There should be one odd colred screw on the old one, usually a dark color, the wire on that one must go to the odd colored screw on the new one. The other two wires go to the brass colored screws. Which to which doesn't matter.

If the old switch is marked on/off or has a silver screw Stop and post back.
 
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Old 02-25-11, 10:37 AM
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thanks. I'll go get a 3-way switch. I didn't know there was such a thing. I though a switch is a switch is a switch. Again, ignorant, but thought replacing a switch is easy enough for a novice. I have replaced outlets before.
BTW The Old switch does have 2 brass and one black screw, i mentioned that in the post, although perhaps a little ambiguously. The white wire is attached to the black one.
 
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Old 02-25-11, 02:20 PM
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Welcom to the forums!

You would also want to buy a switch marked "specification grade", they last longer.
 
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Old 02-25-11, 02:53 PM
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You would also want to buy a switch marked "specification grade",
No need to buy a specification grade usually. Just don't buy the cheapest.
 
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Old 02-25-11, 06:40 PM
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It's not rocket science. I always found it easier to buy two new 3-way switches and replace them both at the same time and wire them both the same way while following ray's advice on the odd colored screws.
 
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Old 02-26-11, 02:29 AM
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I have done the same way most case I useally replace in pairs for the three ways most case that useally slove majorty of the issue if you replace one now and the other one will go bad in short time later then you have to do other one anyway.

Follow Ray's advise that is clear shot instruction.

Merci.
Marc
 
 

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