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# 3 way circuit is perplexing me

#1
08-18-11, 10:39 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 10
3 way circuit is perplexing me

Hello All,
I created a 3-way circuit for my laundry room light yesterday evening and I have a problem. Here's how the circuit looks and how I understood it was supposed to look.

Now here's a little table to explain the problem
SWITCH 1 2
A A ON
A B OFF
B B OFF
B A OFF
If AA is on then by logic BB should be the other on position but currently is not lighting the light. I've checked my lives and travelers are all on the correct terminals. I've even ran a length of wire as the crow flies between the two switch to prove it wasn't the wires. So the only thing I can think of is that I have a bad switch. Or is there something I'm missing. Also don't have a meter of any kind just the only light-up pen tester.
Thanks,
Rich

#2
08-18-11, 10:47 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 10,491
Hi Rich, a quick read and I can assume your problem is the terminals. If power or the light is connected to a traveler, you will get the results you posted.

I don't do a lot of these, but look for a "C" or common designation on one of the terminals. Travelers can be as you posted or both on one side. Unfortunately, the meter would make short work of identifying the connections or problem, but look the switches over carefully as something should be indicating the one odd terminal, the common. Travelers can be interchanged with each other.

Bud

#3
08-18-11, 11:45 AM
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Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
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I agree with Bud -- I think a traveler terminal is misidentified. The common screw is usually brass colored black and the traveler terminals are unmarked brass. They are not always in the same position on different styles of switches.

Just to be clear, you have 14-2 carrying power into the first switch, 14-3 first switch to second switch, and 14-2 second switch to light? The whites are spliced through the switch boxes?

#4
08-18-11, 11:50 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 10
Thanks for the reply, checked both switches. They are identical, the common on both is labeled on the back side of the switch and has a black screw. Hot coming in hits the common, hot going out from the second switch leaves from the common, travelers, although they don't need to be, are connected to the same side on both switches just to help me know I've wired it correctly. At this point I may buy a third switch and replace the switches one at a time and hope for some joy.

#5
08-18-11, 12:01 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
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Sounds like switch replacement is the next step.

#6
08-18-11, 12:08 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 15,028
It sounds like you wired it correctly.

#7
08-18-11, 01:53 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 10
Success!!

Thanks All. Bought a third switch, changed the upstairs one out and voila AA and BB both now light the fixture. So much effort for a defective buck-twenty switch.

#8
08-18-11, 01:57 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 10,491
You beat me, so to avoid confusion I deleted my long explanation. Glad you got it.

Bud

Last edited by Bud9051; 08-18-11 at 01:58 PM. Reason: problem solved
#9
08-18-11, 02:05 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 10
Thanks Bud, I read your next steps and appreciate the post. Lucky for me I didn't need them.

#10
08-18-11, 02:14 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 10,491
I tried to post, but the system timed out and fortunately I had saved my post. But by the time I finally got signed back in you had solved the problem. Glad you read it as it is a way to continue what you were doing and narrow it down to switch or wiring.

Good job
Bud

And thanks to pcboss and ibpooks

Last edited by Bud9051; 08-18-11 at 02:16 PM. Reason: acknowledgement

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