3-Way Switches

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  #1  
Old 09-11-12, 01:42 PM
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3-Way Switches

HELP!!!

I have a 3-Way switch in my kitchen and I just can't seem to get the wiring right. Here's what my circuit looks like: Power comes from Outlet1 to switch 1 (3-Way switch) and switch 3 (storage room). Then I have the 14-3 connecting switch 1 and switch 2 (the two 3-Way switches). I get confused with all of the "traveler" speak. Can someone tell me "plug the red wire into ___ slot and the black into ___ slot"? I feel like I have tried every combination possible but I just can't get it right. Right now the way it's wired, the 3-Way switch works correctly but the storage room light (switch 3) only works when switch 2 is in the down position. What am I doing wrong?!?
 
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Old 09-11-12, 02:23 PM
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Can someone tell me "plug the red wire into ___ slot and the black into ___ slot"?
General consensus here is never "plug wires" in to back stab terminals the screws are more reliable. Never use a back stab and its associated screw as a splice. Always use a wire nut and a pigtail.

We can't tell you by color code because exact color used depends on the situation and is optional with the installer. I'd suggest you forget travelers and concentrate on identifying the commons. The always hot black will go to the common of one switch and the black of the load (light) to the other switch's common. One thing to look out for is the white is not always used as a neutral. It is supposed to be marked at both ends with a black, red, or blue mark* to indicate it is part of the hot wires but sometimes isn't.

*The wire that is used as an ungrounded conductor (hot) if not factory colored an acceptable color by code must be remarked with tape, marker pen, paint, etc. any color but white, gray, green, or green/yellow.
 
  #3  
Old 09-11-12, 03:20 PM
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What am I doing wrong?!?
Probably, you have one of the wires in the 14-3 connected to the common terminal on one switch and to one of the two traveler terminals on the other switch. Don't worry about what those mean right now. This may just be as simple as moving one or two wires, but we'll need a little more information in order to narrow it down:

When you say
Power comes from Outlet1 to switch 1 (3-Way switch) and switch 3 (storage room),
it sounds like you're saying that you have one 14-2 cable in each switch box, plus one end of the connecting 14-3 cable. If that is correct, we can tell you haw to connect everything to make both switches act as proper 3-ways. So, is that what you have?
 
  #4  
Old 09-11-12, 04:09 PM
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Also include the wiring at the light.
 
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