Rewiring a three way switch

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Old 05-22-16, 10:45 AM
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Rewiring a three way switch

I hope this is the correct forum. I've taken down a wall which had 1/2 of a three way switch. All the wiring is done in 12 gauge flex. I moved the switch to a new wall and reconnected the switch. I turned on the power and the breaker immediately reset. I tested the power on the switch that I relocated and the tester indicated that I had two hot wires. I tested the voltage and one wire was 110 volts and the other 10. What's going on here? Is there induction causing the 10 volts? Is the 10 volts causing the breaker to reset?
Further investigation - The other switch also had one wire with no voltage, one with 10 and the other with 110. I connected the 10 volt wire to the wire with no voltage (in the relocated box) and checked continuity in the other box (the one not relocated) and the 10 volt and 0 volt wires are the same, thus verifying that these are the carrier wires. If I flip the switch, the voltage in the relocated box also flips.
Can someone help me?
 
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Old 05-22-16, 10:51 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

I moved you to the proper forum. You were close.

If the breaker is tripping... you have a short to ground or neutral.

Describe the wiring as it was on the switch in the original location. You needed at least three wires for a three way switch. Was there just one cable there or more ?
 
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Old 05-22-16, 11:05 AM
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Only one cable coming into the box. Yes, there are three wires. The red and black wires were connected to the carrier terminals. The white wire was connected to the common. In the case I described above, the red wire had 110, the black 10, and the white 0. If I flip the switch at the other end then red is 10, black 110 and white 0.
 
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Old 05-22-16, 11:49 AM
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Ok.... don't worry about what voltages you are seeing.

You moved the cable to a different location and connected it in the same way. Even if you got the order on the switch wrong.... you wouldn't have the breaker trip.

Did you splice a new piece of cable on to the old one ?
You have created a short where there was none..... either in a splice box, metal armor short or even a staple thru the cable.
 
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Old 05-22-16, 12:07 PM
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Thanks for responding. I didn't do anything other than move the cable and reconnect the switch. I guess it's possible that I nicked one of the wires while pulling it through the sill, but I've checked the wires and I can't find any exposed copper.
I did do one more thing. Since I was getting 10 volts on one of the wires, I suspected one of the switches was bad, so I replace both switches with new Leviton switches.
 
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Old 05-22-16, 02:27 PM
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I was getting 10 volts
I'll bet you were using a digital multimeter. if you had used an analog you would have got a true reading of ~0v.

Here is a test to try. Leave the switches connected but pull them out of the boxes. Let them dangle being sure no wires touching. Does the breaker still trip?
 
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Old 05-22-16, 02:32 PM
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Ray,
I am using an analog meter, and all the testing I'm doing is with the switches and wires out of the box. I've also tried all of the combinations of connection and still the breaker trips. I should have mentioned that in some positions of the switches, the breaker doesn't trip. Just when I flip the switch.
 
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Old 05-22-16, 06:18 PM
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I've also tried all of the combinations of connection and still the breaker trips.
I hope you haven't done that at both ends.

Look at this logically. You HAD a cable going to a switch and it worked correctly. Now you moved the wire to a new location, reconnected and have a short. You have inadvertently created a short. Somehow that cable has a short in it. A nail or staple was put thru it or something similar.

As I mentioned before..... the order of the wires on the switch can be incorrect. The switch may not work correctly but it will NOT cause a short. There are only hot wires on a switch.... no neutrals.

You could turn off the circuit. Remove the relocated three way switch. Set your meter to the OHMS scale and check from each wire.... white, black and red to ground. There should be no resistance or continuity between those three wires and ground.
 
 

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