3-way Switch Problem

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  #1  
Old 08-26-12, 03:46 PM
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3-way Switch Problem

I've been in the process of replacing very old switches in one area of my home. One of them was (what I should assume to be) a 3-way switch. This switch controls the lights in the garage, along with a switch in the garage itself. (Thus the assumption of it being a 3-way)

I installed a new Cooper 3-way switch, placing the wires in exactly the same positions on the new switch as they were on the old. The only difference is the new switch has a terminal for a ground, which I connected and grounded to the metal box. With the new switch in place and in position A(garage lights off), the switch in the garage works normally, however when I switch the new 3-way to position B, the lights do not turn on and the switch in the garage does not function. (doesn't turn on the lights) With the new switch in position B, it's almost as if it has complete cut off power to the garage switch and lights instead of actually powering the lights on.

I reconnected the old switch in the same configuration and everything works normally. Either switch will turn on or off the garage lights correctly.

Any idea what the problem is? Did I get a bad switch, or the incorrect one?

For the time being, I'm back to using the old switch.

Thank you!
 
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Old 08-26-12, 04:09 PM
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I installed a new Cooper 3-way switch, placing the wires in exactly the same positions on the new switch as they were on the old.
You have three terminals, two travelers, and one common. Different manufacturers put them in different places so you can't go by position on the old switch. You must put the wire that was on the common of the old switch on the common of the new switch regardless of position on the new switch. The common is the dark colored screw. The two travelers go on the remaining brass screws. It doesn't mater which traveler screw just as long as they both go to the traveler screws. Green screw is for ground wire if present.
 
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Old 08-26-12, 04:16 PM
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Thank you Ray, didn't realize they were different. The old one does not have a discolored screw, I'll have to do a bit of research on it to figure out which is which.

Thank you for all of your help on my recent 'projects'! As a new homeowner, I'm learning an astronomical amount from this site and my own reading/research. Your time, and everyone else who has offered advice, is very much appreciated. Next chance I get to mess with it, I'll post the results.
 
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Old 08-26-12, 05:51 PM
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The old one does not have a discolored screw,
If the other two are brass that is probably it. Post pictures of both sides and back of the old one if you can't figure it out. You could also "ohm" it out.
 
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Old 08-26-12, 06:32 PM
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The common terminal may be labeled on the back of the switch.
 
  #6  
Old 09-02-12, 09:27 AM
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Hello everyone, solved the problem! As you said, the hot wire was located on one of the traveler terminals. I switched those and everything works as it should! The old switch did not have any markings or labels on the back or sides, nor did it have a discolored screw. It's an old Leviton 10amp 3-way.

Thank you for the help!
 
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Old 09-02-12, 10:26 AM
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Glad you got it. Thanks for letting us know.
 
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