Troubleshooting 3 way switch


Old 12-26-14, 08:30 AM
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Troubleshooting 3 way switch

My basement light has two 3 way switches, one at the top of the steps and one at the bottom. It worked fine for a decade. Without warning, the light would not turn off. My hypothesis was that one of the switches went, so I replaced both, but can't seem to get it wired properly so that each switch works independently.

The bottom box has a white wire which is hot that I attached to the common on the new switch. There are also a red wire and a black wire.

The top box has a white which is hot and a white which is not hot that are attached together by a wire nut and not connected to the switch. There is a black that is hot that I attached to the common. Another black that is not hot and a red that is not hot.

I've tried every combination for the travellers, but can't seem to get it working properly. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-26-14, 09:02 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

You are describing a three way circuit tied to a switch loop.

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Old 12-26-14, 09:06 AM
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Disconnect all the wires on both switches & determine which wire, in which switch box, is hot from the circuit breaker. The other two wires are the travelers. Once you know that, you'll be able to wire the first switch correctly. Then go to the second switch box & determine what's hot when the first switch is in each position.
Old 12-26-14, 09:10 AM
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This can be a little confusing if you're not familiar with a switch loop.
The top box white that is hot is actually your hot feed wire in. The black from that same cable will go to the common terminal of the top switch.
The white (hot feed that is at top box) will be connected with wire nut to the bottom switch common terminal. The other wires are travelers.
Old 12-26-14, 02:23 PM
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Got it working. Thank you!
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