Light Switch Question

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  #1  
Old 03-23-16, 10:32 AM
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Question Light Switch Question

My basement lights are on two switches, one at the top of the stairs the second at the bottom. The top switch needs to be replaced, it will turn the lights off by itself and to turn them back on you have to come upstairs and use that switch. Should be a simple easy enough job, but electricity and I do not get along very well, in fact I think electricity just plain hates me!

Went out and bought a new switch. Took the old one out, making sure I paid attention to how it was wired. Put in the new switch connecting it exactly like the one I took out. It will not turn the lights on! The switch in the basement works the same but not the upstairs one I replaced. Put the old switch back in and it works, just turns the lights off by itself when you're downstairs. Is there a special switch I need to get because the lights can be turned on/off from two different switches?
 
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Old 03-23-16, 10:36 AM
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I'm guessing the old switch had three wires on it.... not including a ground wire.

Every three way switch has a common screw terminal. It is black or darker than the other two. Whatever wire comes of the C terminal on the old switch MUST go on the C terminal of the new switch.

Where the terminals on the switch are means nothing. Every company puts them in a different order. Having a C terminal is the only constant. The other two are travelers and have no order.
 
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Old 03-23-16, 02:41 PM
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Switch

Went out and bought a new switch
Is it a 3-way switch?...........................
 
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Old 03-25-16, 08:23 AM
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Sorry it took so long to reply, but I've also got a front porch repair I'm trying to get going now that it's warming up.

As I look at the switch, on the right side there are two screws (terminals?). The top screw looks to have two wires connected to it the bottom has one wire. It's hard to tell their colors, the painters, when the house was built, have made them all white! The left side has a single screw (terminal?) with one wire connected to it. I also noticed that on the right side of the switch there is the word "Common."
 
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Old 03-25-16, 09:13 AM
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As I mentioned previously..... discussing left side and right side means nothing.

There are three screw terminals. One is common and two are travelers. Make sure to keep the same wire(s) on the common screw. The travelers are interchangeable.
 
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