3 way switch confusion...

Old 03-05-14, 02:55 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
3 way switch confusion...

I am a new home owner, trying to finish an enclosed car port on my house that was built in the 50s.

-The majority of the wiring in the house in un-grounded (just white and black) so I know that this is not 100% correct, but i do plan on rewiring the rest as soon as I can.-

I am trying to add (2) 3 way switches to work (1) light fixture.
I can not get it to function properly. I have tried a few different ways and this is what i have:

Hooked up this way it KIND OF works, by this I mean that both switches have to be flipped up and the other will turn off/on.

If this confused anyone i will try to clarify.
thanks for your time!
Old 03-05-14, 03:27 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 36,607
Upvotes: 0
Received 9 Upvotes on 8 Posts
Welcome to the forums! I can't tell if you are switching the neutral from the fixture or not. Here is a diagram to show how the switching should be along with the input wiring.

Name:  three way switch.jpg
Views: 1274
Size:  5.4 KB

Here's one that more matches your situation.

Name:  three way switch light.jpg
Views: 3222
Size:  19.1 KB
Old 03-05-14, 04:00 PM
Mr.Awesome's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Canada
Posts: 511
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
You are missing a traveler on the left switch. I don't understand how this can work, it seems to me that if you flip the right hand switch one way, the switch would be double fed and pop the breaker.

You have power to your fixture box?
Neutral goes straight to fixture. Your hot gets jointed to the white on the two wire leaving the box. I also believe americans need to recolor the white to black.
At first switch: The 2 wire white gets jointed to the 3 wire black. The 2 wire black goes to the common screw. The 3 wire red and white go to the brass screws as travelers.
At second switch: The black goes to the common screw, and the red and white go to the brass screws.
3 way switching used to boggle me until one of my jman put it simply:
"You have two travelers in between on brass. Then you power one switch, switch leg the other." and it all made perfect sense after hearing that.
Old 03-05-14, 06:14 PM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 1,499
Received 92 Upvotes on 84 Posts
This might better match what you are doing. It assumes that power comes into the light fixture.
Attached Images  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: