Wiring Issue / 3 way switch

Old 05-21-15, 12:07 AM
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Wiring Issue / 3 way switch

To help better answer my question, I have included a schematic of the wiring. It is more than likely not displayed to the standard an actual electrician might expect, but it will give a good idea.


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My house has a mud room which I use as a workshop. Two of the three outlets were old two prongs when we bought the house and I wanted to change them for a three prong grounded outlet. Once the new outlets were installed, I use a ground tester which showed that not only were the two new outlets "open ground" but the three prong outlet which already existed also did not have a ground. The ground wire on all three outlets was cut and never connected to each other and additionally the ground was never connected to the ground bar in the circuit breaker box. After connecting the ground wire, and subsequently chaining the ground wires together, I still did not have a ground running completely through the circuit. After further investigation, I discovered that the light fixture in the ceiling, which was being used as a junction box, was linked to a three way switch, and had its ground wire being used as a traveler for the 3 Way switch instead of running a proper 4-wire bridge. This more than likely explains why the grounds were never connected at each of the outlets; to possibly help prevent somebody from feeding electrical current into the ground system itself or getting shocked when trying to connect a live ground to a normal ground.

Digging into my walls to lay the proper 4 wire line is not an option at this point. As an alternative, I have decided to use a motion sensor switch that can be activated from either entry point of the room and dismantle the portion of the 3 Way switch that was improperly wired.

I have two questions:

1. Once installed, what wires am I going to connect together so that the circuit will operate correctly?

2. The wire that leads to the single pole switch, and was part of the 3 Way switch, will not be removed. Its wire will still run from the light switch to the light fixture and of course will not be connected to any current. Understanding that no current will be running through the wire, what is the proper way to terminate that wire for storage until such time as it can be connected again?

Thanks for any help

Last edited by ray2047; 05-21-15 at 09:10 AM. Reason: Add image.
Old 05-21-15, 01:50 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

Your diagram is hard to see and understand.
I understand a ground wire was used as a current carrying conductor but where is a little unclear.

Your diagram shows one switch but you mentioned three way switches.
Remove the voltage from the ground and reground it. All unused wires should be wire nutted off.
Old 05-21-15, 02:49 AM
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Hi Pete

The diagram where red lines are displayed is where the light and 3way are listed. The Laundry Room single pole switch has wire running to the light fixture. ..it is then tied to the wire that runs to the 3way switch depicted at the right side of the diagram.

Thanks for the reply

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