3 Way Wiring not Working Properly after Changing Switches

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  #1  
Old 08-12-15, 07:09 PM
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3 Way Wiring not Working Properly after Changing Switches

Hello everyone,

I recently replaced two 3 way switches for someone and after installing the new switches they do not behave properly. One switch is in the house entrance and one is in the garage. The switch in the house will not work unless the switch in the garage is on. Before the switch in the garage could turn the lights on and off and so could the one inside the house regardless of what position the other switch is on. It behaved like a 3 way before and now it doesn't.

There are three wires in each box with the colors being red, black, and white. My tester stated that the white wire in the garage is live while the red wire inside the house is live. I connect the live wire to the common terminal on each switch and then the the other two wires to remaining terminals but neither setup seems to work properly. I'm not sure how to proceed.

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  #2  
Old 08-12-15, 07:12 PM
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You needed to keep the same color wire on the common/dark screw terminal.
In your box I see three cable coming into the top of the box. One is power in, one is the light and the other is the three way to the switch.

Which one is the power to that box ?
 
  #3  
Old 08-12-15, 07:15 PM
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You mean the same wire that was on each common terminal from the original 3 way switches? I used the same wire that was on common for the switch inside the house but in the garage common was not labeled. None of the screws were colored black or copper and the word common wasn't embossed anywhere on the switch so I didn't know for sure which wire went to common in the garage.
 
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Old 08-12-15, 07:16 PM
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No problem.... easy to fix. Which cable was the hot cable ?
If you don't know....say that and we'll go from there.
 
  #5  
Old 08-12-15, 07:21 PM
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My tester told me the hot wire inside the house is the red one while the one in the garage is the white one. I don't have much confidence in my tester though because for a minute it told me all three wires in the house were live. I sent that tester on it's way and will be replacing it.
 
  #6  
Old 08-12-15, 07:21 PM
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Actually since the wiring is basic it's easy to start again.

At the box with three cables....
Connect the black hot wire to the common of that switch.
Connect the red and white from the three wire cable to the traveler positions on that switch.
Connect the black wire from the three wire cable to the light's black wire.

At the other end....
Connect red and white as travelers
Connect black to common screw.
 
  #7  
Old 08-12-15, 07:22 PM
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If you know the one end is correct, you only need to.try two combinations at the other end.
 
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Old 08-12-15, 07:31 PM
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I sent that tester on it's way and will be replacing it.
But don't get another non contact tester. They can't be used for real testing. You need a cheap analog (not digital) multimeter.
 
  #9  
Old 08-15-15, 07:17 AM
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I was able to use a multimeter to test each wire in each box and the white wire was live. I put the white wire on the common terminal and the red wire on the the terminal below it and the black wire on the other side's terminal. It works perfectly now. However, when I using the multimeter to test I found that the live wire in one box tested fine but the other box I barely had a reading though it is in fact live. I don't understand why it wouldn't give a clear and accurate reading like the other box.
 
  #10  
Old 08-15-15, 02:39 PM
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Based on your pictures.... with NO devices connected...... there should not be a hot white wire.
 
  #11  
Old 08-15-15, 03:45 PM
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I barely had a reading though it is in fact live.
How do you know it is "live". You can't really use a non contact tester for testing voltage despite what package labeling might claim. If you were using a digital multimeter the slight reading was probably spurious. An analog multimeter would have probably read 0v. What did you measure to to get the multimeter reading?
 
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