3 Way switch, bizarre temporary failure

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  #1  
Old 09-02-13, 03:22 PM
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3 Way switch, bizarre temporary failure

Picture this... you go to flip the switch for the basement steps and, no light. You instinctively put a new bulb in... still no light. You jiggle the switch in frustration. Confused, you check the circuit breakers... none are tripped. Fearing the worst, but still curious, you go to the other switch for the light... and it works!!!
You run back to the first switch... and it works!!!

How unusual is it for 3 way switches to fail or develop problems? These are approximately 25 year old USA made Eagles.
 
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  #2  
Old 09-02-13, 03:30 PM
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It's not really common but it does happen. One half of the three way switch is intermittent.
 
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Old 09-02-13, 03:43 PM
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Have you ever really used the second switch? Sometimes they are wired incorrectly (making it seem like one switch needs to be in a particular position for the lights to work) and if you rarely use that switch, you may not even notice.
 
  #4  
Old 09-02-13, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by "Zorfdt
ave you ever really used the second switch? Sometimes they are wired incorrectly
Both aren't used equally, but it's a case of one only slightly less than the other.
The switches are not wired incorrectly or improperly. Connections (screwed) are tight and there is no electrical noise or smell when actuating either switch.
This is the first of ANY kind of electrical trouble in this house, other than one dimmer switch failing a few years ago.
 
  #5  
Old 09-02-13, 04:35 PM
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You know that the problem is with the second switch you flipped, right?
 
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Old 09-02-13, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Nashkat1
You know that the problem is with the second switch you flipped, right?
Yes... that's a logical deduction that can be made even with zero electrical knowledge.
 
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Old 09-02-13, 11:59 PM
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Maybe the internal contacts didn't quite meet because the switch is/was a bit "stiff" so the switch didn't quite go all the way. Loosened it up testing (displaced some dirt/debris) and now it works.
 
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