3-way wiring problem

Reply

  #1  
Old 02-12-13, 06:28 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 2
3-way wiring problem

I have an issue with a two 3-way switches controlling an overhead light. The switches were going bad, only worked part of the time, so I changed them out. Both boxes have 2 black and 1 red wire to the switch. The light works now, but one switch seems to control the other- the one must be "on" for the other switch to work. I tried changing some of the wire positions on the new switches and now the situation is the same, but the second switch now controls the first. In other words, both switches operate the light, but only if one of the switches is in a certain position. How can I fix this so they work regardless of the position of the other switch?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 02-12-13, 07:31 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,643
Did you connect the correct wire to the common of the new switch? Position of the common terminal varies with the manufacturer so you must use screw color (usually dark gray) not screw position when swapping out.

Do you have a two conductor cable in each box. Is one of those cables hot when checked with a multimeter (but not a non contact tester).

If I had to guess I'd say the red is common and the two blacks are your travelers (brass screws). You might try making that assumption and testing.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 02-12-13 at 01:33 PM.
  #3  
Old 02-12-13, 11:06 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 2
Let me make sure I understand. Check each wire with one probe of multi-meter while other probe is touching ground wire. Wire that is hot gets connected to non-brass terminal on new switch. Is that correct?
 
  #4  
Old 02-12-13, 11:23 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,643
Correction on my post you responded to. Do you have a two conductor cable in one of the boxes that is hot and a two conductor cable that isn't in the other box?
 

Last edited by ray2047; 02-12-13 at 01:31 PM.
  #5  
Old 02-12-13, 03:39 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
How can I fix this so they work regardless of the position of the other switch?
By connecting the power to the common terminal on one of the switches, the load to the common on the other switch, and the two travelers on each switch with straight wiring from switch to switch.

Both boxes have 2 black and 1 red wire to the switch.
Do you have cables or conduit? Are there any white wires or any ground wires in the boxes, or just red and black?

Check each wire with one probe of multi-meter while other probe is touching ground wire. Wire that is hot gets connected to non-brass terminal on new switch. Is that correct?\
Yes, and there should be only one hot wire out of all six, if you took everything apart to test.

Connect the other two wires in that box to the two (brass, usually) traveler terminals.

In the other box, connect the two traveler wires to the traveler terminals and connect the wire going to the light to the common terminal.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'