Fixing 3-Way Switch

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Old 12-06-14, 06:25 PM
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Question Fixing 3-Way Switch

Hello Everyone,

Our home was remodeled a few years ago and during that time, the contractor somehow messed up the previous 3-way switch we had on our stairs. For a few years now, we've had to deal with it and I finally decided to purchase proper 3-way switches and try and fix it.

Both switches (at the top and bottom of stairs) have 4 wires (2 black, 1 red, and a ground) and all are used. If the light switch at the top of the stairs is turned "on", then the bottom switch functions normally. If the top is turned "off", the bottom switch ceases to function.

On the new switches I purchased (GE 45614 Z-Wave 3-way Switches) one has Load, Line, Ground, Neutral & Traveler cables, an the second has Traveler and Ground.

I've tried various different ways of wiring them up to no avail, and I am about to rip my hair out. I've replaced numerous regular switches before, but these are eluding me.

Anyone have any ideas?

Thank you!
 
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Old 12-06-14, 06:44 PM
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Both switches (at the top and bottom of stairs) have 4 wires (2 black, 1 red, and a ground) and all are used.
For purpose of discussion three wires. The ground isn't relevant to making it work.
On the new switches I purchased (GE 45614 Z-Wave 3-way Switches) one has Load, Line, Ground, Neutral & Traveler cables, an the second has Traveler and Ground.
If you don't have a neutral in either switch box they won't work.
  • Tell us how many 2-conductor cables (black and white) and how many three conductor cables (black, white, red) are in switch box "A".
  • Tell us how many 2-conductor cables (black and white) and how many three conductor cables (black, white, red) are in switch box "B".
Tell us how the wires of those cables are connected.

It may be easier to get the switches you have to work first so we know which wire is which at each switch. The key connection at the old switch is the common. Tell us which wire by color and whether 2-conductor cable or 3-conducr cable is on the common.. Common is the odd colored screw, usually charcoal gray.
 
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Old 12-06-14, 06:45 PM
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All you would have had to do with the original switches was switch the position of the travelers at one swicth.
 
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Old 12-06-14, 08:24 PM
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Thank you guys for your responses.

@Ray2047 - It looks like there are 2 black, 2 white, 1 Red and 1 Ground in both switch boxes.

I took picture to (hopefully) better illustrate how they are currently set up:

Switch "A" - http://imgur.com/a/j89Dr
Switch "B" - http://imgur.com/a/ZjGAZ

Both switches have the "Common" as one of the black wires, another black for either the load or line and Red for load/line.

Thank you!
 
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Old 12-06-14, 09:28 PM
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Your answers need to specify which black you are describing. Is it the balack of a 3-conductor cable or a two conductor cable. Do you have one box with just a 3-conductor cable and one with both a 3-conductor cable and a 3-conductor cable?
 

Last edited by ray2047; 12-07-14 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 12-06-14, 09:44 PM
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@Ray2047 - Sorry, I don't normally delve too much into the electrical world, but I was able to determine what it was you were asking.

Both boxes have two sleeves of cables, one with 3 conductors (black, red & white) and another with 2 (black & white).

On Switch A, the Black cable from the 3-conductor sleeve plugs into the screw on the switch that's by itself, the black from the 2-conductor sleeve plugs at the opposite end next to the screw that's Red.

Switch B has the same setup as above.

It does appear that neutral is present in the box, just need to tap into it?

Thank you.
 
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Old 12-06-14, 09:46 PM
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I don't know what is going on with switch B but there should only be one dark/black screw.

Your wiring there is very basic and easy to understand. You do have neutral at both switches.
At each switch.....the black wire from the two wire cable gets connected to the common screw.

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Old 12-07-14, 07:33 AM
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Please ignore my referenced other thread in my last post. Because you have a 2-conductor cable at each box it doesn't apply.
 
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Old 12-11-14, 07:28 AM
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Hi Everyone,

Thank you for your feedback.

I got to reading online and really looking at everything and was able to get the switches to work.

Each switch box had a bundle of neutral cables that I tapped into and I designated one of the switch boxes as "primary". Then designated a traveler cable to the secondary switch box, in which I made it always "hot", since that seemed to be what was impeding the 3-way functionality. Once I properly wired everything up, the switch indicator light came on (thanks to neutral) and the switches now work as intended!

Thank you again.
 
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