3 way switch not working

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  #1  
Old 05-04-15, 02:18 PM
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3 way switch not working

I have a 23 year old home with a 3 way switch at the top and bottom of the stairs. These switches operate a light at the bottom of the steps. All was working correctly until 2 days ago. No configuration of the switches will turn the light on. I turned off the power, pulled the switches out of the wall (but left the wires connected) and used an ohm meter to test connectivity between the common screw and the traveler screws. I had connectivity to only 1 traveler screw with the switch in 1 position, then in the other traveler screw with the switch in the other position. Both switches functioned this way which I believe is correct. With power back on, I then tested for power where the wiring connects to the fixture. I tried throwing the one switch, and no power.

Do I need to disconnect the wiring from the switches before I test them with the ohm meter? What am I missing, any ideas?
 
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  #2  
Old 05-04-15, 02:47 PM
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3=way Switches

Did you disconnect any of the wires? Have you reset the circuit breaker?
 
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Old 05-04-15, 02:48 PM
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I would disconnect the light first & test the juice again there. If there is still no power, disconnect the travelers on the switch, that isn't directly connected to the breaker box. Test the travelers again. If both travelers work in their respective positions, replace that switch. If not, replace the switch that's connected, to the panel box.
 
  #4  
Old 05-04-15, 03:26 PM
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Replacing the switches one at a time is usually the easiest wayto troubleshoot. It seems you are aware of the importance of getting the common wire on the correct terminal of the new switch so I will only add the common may not be in the same postion on a new switch.

Just to verify you are using the screws not the backstab terminals?
 
  #5  
Old 05-04-15, 04:10 PM
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Hi guys thanks for all the quick replies and suggestions. I don't use the basement much and had forgotten that there is actually another switch which controls this light down a hallway by a bedroom in the basement. I just happened to walk by and noticed that this 3rd switch was half way between up and down! Not sure who did that or how it got that way, but I pushed it down and all works again. Very strange. Thanks again for your quick guidance.
 
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Old 05-04-15, 04:24 PM
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That is a favorite past time of pranksters.... putting the three switch in the middle.
 
  #7  
Old 05-04-15, 04:24 PM
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Tricky little problem. Your letting us know the solution may help someone else. Thanks for posting back.
 
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