3 way switch with pilot help help


Old 11-27-11, 08:59 AM
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3 way switch with pilot help help

ok normally I'm pretty handy. Neighbor asked for a hand and now we're both stumped. His outdoor garage lights stopped working(before we started) and we're trying to figure out why.

He's got 2 garage light switches, both with power lights. Went to replace a switch for him and ran into a conundrum.

Old switch(inside house), 4 terminal. 1 red, 1 white, 2 black wires. Red goes to brass, white to silver, blacks to brass on other side of switch. Has a 5th terminal brass between 2 right side that had nothing installed. This one controls outside garage lights. Has 3 way switch on a wall near garage door that turns light on/off as well. Has a second light switch in box for a pole light at end of driveway. 4 black wires in box, red's tied together, whites tied together.

The one next(inside house) to it controls inside garage lights, also a pilot light. Other 3 way switch is near entry door.

So I disconnected both light switches at garage door(not inside house), Still no garage lights but has power. So I tried putting back the way everything was(or so I thought).

So now pilot light for outside light never turns on/off anymore from inside house. Inside garage light pilot light works normal but 2nd light switch near entry door can no longer turn off internal garage lights. When I flip switch it, actual lights flicker quickly but gets power again and turns lights back on.

So somehow I jumbled up some hots/travelers that I shouldn't have.

Long one here but here's a quick synapses of everything I said.

2 three way switches with pilot lights.

other end of 3 way switches are on different walls. Or outside garage light pilot light switch in house(2 black hots). Depending where I put one of the blacks it'll always turn on pilot light so I wire nutted for now to keep off(older incandescent bulb in pilot light)

1 pilot light is always on with both black hots.

1 turns on normally at switches in house. Garage one that should be 3way is now only on and never turns off(I never removed wall plate) so screwed up wiring is in house or at outside garage switch.

I hope I make a little sense here, I need to figure out the 4 black hots in the garage that feed back to the house pilots and the screwed up pilot light.

I think I need to figure out the proper order of the hot/travelers.

Any suggestions on a quick easy way to find the proper sequence of the hots in/out so I can at least get back to where we started from?
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Old 11-27-11, 11:51 AM
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1 red, 1 white, 2 black wires.
So is this conduit or were there multiple cables and you aren't telling us all the wires? A 3way switch should have a common that is NOT brass, silver, or green. Usually the common is a dark colored screw and/or the terminal is marked with a C. Do the switches have that?

I think I need to figure out the proper order of the hot/travelers.
Key is the commons. There is only one switch hot. It goes to one of the common terminals. The other common terminal goes to the light. Because of the pilot light there may be wires for the pilot light not part of the switching function' My suggestion is lets first get the 3-way switch function working correctly. Any other wires are for the pilot light and can be handled separately.

Last edited by ray2047; 11-27-11 at 12:08 PM.
Old 11-27-11, 02:56 PM
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thanks for the response but I figured out what was going on(after the homeowner)revealed more information to me.

Ended up being a bad switch on garage inside lights that was feeding power to the second pilot light/switch that it shouldn't have been.

Also a white(normally) neutral was being used as out source to another connection at a remote location.

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