3 Way Switch Frustrations


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Old 04-22-15, 07:03 PM
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3 Way Switch Frustrations

Hello all,

I'm new here and have a frustrating problem with a three way switch. I'm attempting to install two three way switches to control one light in a room. One of the boxes that contains a three way switch also has a single pole switch that controls a separate light in the room. For everything I do, I cannot get the switches to cooperate. If I have the light turned on from the main switch (the one with the other switch in the same box), the single three way switch will turn the light on and off. However, if the power to the light is turned off from the main switch, the other switch will not power on the light. This obviously defeats the purpose of the three way switches. I've been trying to figure this out for three nights now, and I'm getting no where! Any tips or tricks I should be trying out?

Thanks,
Nick
 
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Old 04-22-15, 07:25 PM
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(Assuming power comes in to the box with two switches.) In the box with the second switch the power in black needs to go to both the other switch and common of the three way switch. Common will be the odd colored screw (usually dark gray).

Basic 3-way principles:
  • Power in connects to common of one switch.
  • Power out to fixture connects to the common of the other switch.
  • Travelers are interchangeable.
 
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Old 04-22-15, 08:05 PM
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Yep that's exactly how the power wires are connected. They're split coming out of the wall, one end going to the single pole switch and the other end going to the common terminal on the 3 way switch.

Right now, if the power to the light is off from the main 3 way switch, the other switch does nothing. If the power to the light from the main 3 way switch is on, the other switch will turn the light on and off. It's a mystery to me so far, but I'm just a beginner at this stuff.

Thanks,
Nick
 
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Old 04-22-15, 08:32 PM
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Tell us about the other switch box. Does it have just a 3-conductor cable or does it also have a 2-conductor cable?
 
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Old 04-22-15, 08:42 PM
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The switch box with the single switch in it has a three cable wire coming in to it, black/white/red. There is also a ground that is attached to the switch box itself.
 
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Old 04-22-15, 09:52 PM
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Do you have two 2-conductor cables in the box with two switches? If so what color wire is connected to the common in the single switch box?

You may have something like this.

Name:  Gray.jpg
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Last edited by ray2047; 04-22-15 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 04-23-15, 08:48 AM
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It sounds like you are not replacing 3-way switches, but are installing a new 3-way set up.

If so, what was the 2nd box for, or did you add the 2nd box?

You might want to post pictures of the 2 switch boxes wiring and the ceiling box wiring.
 
 

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