Weird 3-way switch situation

Reply

  #1  
Old 04-01-15, 06:10 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3
Weird 3-way switch situation

I'll do my best to explain this:

recently bought a house, wife wanted a different light int he kitchen so we replaced that no problem. the original switch (switch 1) that controlled the light was wired as a three way switch, across the kitchen is another 3 way switch (switch 2) that did not work.

1st attempt: I replaced both switches thinking that maybe switch number two was dead, broke, something. No change light only works with switch 1.

2nd attempt: learned more about proper wiring, disconnected both switches completely to figure out which was my common terminal (which is switch 1). After that i started looking at both switches more closely. In both switch boxes there is only one romex wire coming into the box, leading me to believe that power is coming in through the light. A red wire was connected to the common screw, black and white wires were connected to traveler screws. I know black is usually hot wire so I moved the black wire to the common screw in both, reconnected everything, turned breaker back on, and have power running to both switches, but still only switch 1 works.

Any ideas on why switch 2 wouldn't be working or what I could try next? Im at a total loss other than re-wiring it
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 04-01-15, 06:50 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,430
Welcome to the forums.

With both switches disconnected.... check for 120v from each wire to ground. You should only find hot on one wire at one end. That hot is the common at that end. The other two are travelers. That switch is done.

At the other end.... try using the same two colored wires as travelers and the remaining wire as common.
 
  #3  
Old 04-01-15, 06:51 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3
update

attempt 3: After connecting switch 1 back up (with hot wire to common screw, and red/white wires to traveler screws) switch 1 can now control switch 2. If switch 1 is on (and light is on) switch 2 has power. If switch 1 is off, switch 2 has no power
 
  #4  
Old 04-01-15, 01:33 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,350
Now try and move a different wire to the common of switch 2. Test and repeat as necessary.
 
  #5  
Old 04-02-15, 05:22 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3
is there anything weird about the switch 1 working if my hot wire wasn't connected to the common screw?
 
  #6  
Old 04-02-15, 08:08 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,632
is there anything weird about the switch 1 working if my hot wire wasn't connected to the common screw?
Not the switch but the wiring would be wrong. In some positions the light might work but the pair of 3-way switches wouldn't work correctly. You did verify hot with a multimeter NOT a non contact tester didn't you?

What was your reason for that question.
 
  #7  
Old 04-02-15, 08:13 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,430
Yes... switch one could have worked in ONLY one position if the hot was not on the common terminal. This is the basic three way circuit. This is the only way it will work properly. What causes confusion is when the power and light are both at one end or power comes in at the light. Always the same basic circuit but the wiring colors change.

Name:  3_way.jpg
Views: 53
Size:  11.0 KB
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'