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# Stair light switches

#1
10-11-11, 10:28 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 2
Stair light switches

Our house is about 30 years old. We can turn our light switch on to go up the stairs to the second floor or to our living room fan. The problem is that if we turn the light on to go down to the basement, it turns the light and fan off. However, if if we turn the light on to the basement from the switch in the basement, the fan and light to upstairs stay on. We dont know what the issue is.

#2
10-11-11, 11:24 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,677
Has it ever worked correctly? If it has worked correctly in the past was the problem noticed after one or more switches or lights or fan was changed out?

#3
10-17-11, 08:44 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 2
No, i dont ever remember it working correctly.

#4
10-17-11, 10:57 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,677
First I'd open all ceiling and switch boxes and look for mistakes but that is hard to define.

For me the quickest and simplest would be to start from scratch as detailed below. Hopefully the pros will have a better suggestion.

To do it from scratch you are going to have to identify all the cables in each box and the determine which cable goes where. This will mean first making a record of all connections in the switch boxes and ceiling boxes. so that they can easily be redone as they were if needed.

Turn off the power and undo all connections.

Make sure no wires are touching each other or the boxes and turn power on.

Measuring from white to black (and red if present) determine which cable is ~120v. There should only be one and it will almost certainly be a 2-wire (+ground) cable.

Now turn off the power and choose a cable. Twist all of its wires except ground together. Using a multimeter set for ohms check for continuity at each of the other boxes. Label both ends then proceed on to the next cable till all are labeled. Obviously if it is a 2 wire cable only other 2-wire cables (+ ground) need to be checked and if it is a 3-wire (+ground) cable only other 3-wire cables need to be checked.

Above assumes cable not conduit.

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