Three-way switches did not work for me!

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  #1  
Old 01-18-13, 09:27 PM
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Three-way switches did not work for me!

Here is what I have happening. The only way power comes on at the light bulb is when the first switch is thrown toward the black traveler wire and the 2nd switch is thrown toward the black traveler wire. All other combos don't turn on the light.

This leads me to believe that the black and whites are backwards somewhere in the house before this circuit? So the power coming in actually has the black and white wires mixed up?

I have triple checked my wiring and I can't think of another reason why this is happening.
 
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Old 01-18-13, 11:05 PM
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For your two 3-way switches to work properly, the hot feed wire from the panel must be connected to the point screw on one of the two switches, the hot switched wire going to the light(s) must be attached to the point screw on the other switch, and the two travelers must be attached to the two traveler screws on each switch. Wire color, position, "toward" and "away from" don't matter.

You have the point wire and one of the travelers swapped on one of the switches. You can figure out what goes where by using a multimeter to identify the panel feed, connecting the three wires to that switch correctly, and using the meter again to identify the two travelers at the second switch.
 
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Old 01-19-13, 07:52 AM
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This leads me to believe that the black and whites are backwards somewhere in the house before this circuit? So the power coming in actually has the black and white wires mixed up?
This would be what is termed as reverse polarity, but it wouldn't affect the operation of a correctly wired 3-way switch system. Nash is correct.
 
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Old 01-19-13, 08:21 AM
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Let's try to figure this out without a voltmeter.

Power comes in at the light and 3 a connector wire set up goes to the first switch. At the light all the blacks are connected together but not to the light. All the whites are connected together with a pigtail going to the light. The red is connected to the other terminal at the light.

Is it the black that would be hot in this settup or could it be the white at the first switch.
 
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Old 01-19-13, 09:04 AM
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Here is what happened! The screws on the switches that I thought were common were in fact travelers. Problem fixed once that was changed.
 
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Old 01-19-13, 09:22 AM
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Great! Glad you solved it, and thanks for the feedback.
 
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