3 way problem with two Leviton 3 way dimmers

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Old 11-10-13, 08:51 PM
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3 way problem with two Leviton 3 way dimmers

I have as far as I know a 3 way application. One set of Lights in my hallway and one light switch at each end works fine. I can turn on at one end and turn off at the other end or vice vera... Today I bought 2 Leviton 6633PL 3 Way Dimmers hoping to put one at each end of the hallway. I shut off the breaker and opened each switch up. Both switches had the identical wiring. On the black lug of both of the old switches was a white wire. The other 2 gold lugs was 1 red and 1 black. I was lead to believe that the black lug on the switch is common. It said common also on the switches. I connected as per the instructions on my Leviton 6633PL Step 5C 3 Way wiring application. Said to connect Common to the Black wire on dimmer, Green to Ground on the metal box. The other 2 red wires from the dimmer (one with a tag) to the remaining 2 black and red wires from the wall. Now one switch has to be on for the other to work. Then I can dim either side. But if that switch is off I can not then turn on the light from the other side. What am I doing wrong? Can this work? It worked fine with the single 3 way switches it had before. Does one switch need to be hooked up backwards? It seems like either switch can cut off the hot form the other depending which state it is in. I am not an electrician just a telecom guy. Any info/help appreciated.. THX
 
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Old 11-10-13, 08:55 PM
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That condition normally happens when one of the travelers is transposed with the common. Check your connections again. You could try to switch out one of the switches for the old switch to see if it works properly.
 

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Old 11-10-13, 09:03 PM
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The original switches were wired identically though with the White wire on each connecting to the labeled common with the black lug. I know this because I cut them off and the wires are still sticking out of them.
 
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Old 11-10-13, 09:14 PM
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Are you sure you can use two dimmers together. Most electronic dimmers require a standard three way switch or a companion three way controller switch.

I looked at the Leviton site for your wiring and it only shows using a single dimmer with a standard three way switch.

Leviton wiring PDF
 
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Old 11-10-13, 09:14 PM
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Hold on I may have figured it out. I was looking at the proximity of the lugs on the original switches instead of using my continuity tester.. and it looked like the black lug was closest to the white wire but now that I used my continuity tester the BLACK wire is in continuity with the black lug even though from looking at the back the white wire is beside it. damn.. Black mut be common, not white. The way they design them and where the wire goes in the original Leeviton switches in is confusing. Will post pics but first I am going to go swap them.
 
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Old 11-10-13, 09:19 PM
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Yet another reason why we say never use the back stabs. Let us know how it works out.
 
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Old 11-10-13, 09:22 PM
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Also a good find. They came in a set of 2?? If they are not suppose to be used together I wonder why they would come in a set... I will ask Leviton on Mon. Your right about the schematic.
 
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Old 11-10-13, 09:57 PM
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now that I used my continuity tester the BLACK wire is in continuity with the black lug even though from looking at the back the white wire is beside it. damn.. Black must be common, not white. [...] Will post pics but first I am going to go swap them.
Good catch and good idea. White is sometimes usable on one of the common terminals but almost never on both.
 
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Old 11-10-13, 09:58 PM
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Old 11-10-13, 10:02 PM
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Works fine now. I know I am a novice with electrical but does that not look like it might lead someone to believe that the white wire is common?? The writing is right beside the wire... Sheesh.. Lesson learned,, use continuity tester to make sure.. Thanx guys for making me go back and look!! Could have burned the house down LOL.. Thanx Leviton... Under that black wire on the lower side there is a gold terminal screw closer to it than the black lug.. So I thought the black wire was to the gold lug on opposite side to the black lug which I knew was common but thought it was to the white wire...
 
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Old 11-11-13, 12:52 AM
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does that not look like it might lead someone to believe that the white wire is common?? [...] Under that black wire on the lower side there is a gold terminal screw closer to it than the black lug.. So I thought the black wire was to the gold lug on opposite side to the black lug which I knew was common but thought it was to the white wire...
Well, no. Besides knowing that a white wire is only connected to common when the power or the load is being sent to or returned from the "away" switch, there's the fact that the stab-in terminals are internally connected to the screw terminals on the same side of the device - any device. That said, and given that
I know I am a novice with electrical
yes, I can see how someone unfamiliar with devices could easily come to that conclusion.

Works fine now.
Hear, hear!

Well done. Particularly in reaching for your continuity tester. Are you sure you're a novice at this?
 
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Old 11-11-13, 05:38 PM
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Well novice at Electrical. Certified Telecom/Network and Electronic. Don't work with the Electrical stuff but that is why I knew to grab the continuity tester.

Also the double dimmer thing works fine as long as you leave the dimmer that you use at the top position when done with the light. Otherwise I see why they only use one dimmer and one switch. I just wanted both for versatility and as long as you remember to put the fader up it can be controlled form either end fine I see no reason why not to have both as dimers..
 
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