3-way switch troubleshooting

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Old 01-19-18, 01:18 PM
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3-way switch troubleshooting

Recently installed a 3-way switch that serves two light fixtures. When I activate one switch; one light goes on and the other goes off. The opposite happens when activating the other switch. I am sure I need to move two wires but not sure how to determine which ones.

Any assistance would be appreciated.
 
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Old 01-19-18, 01:57 PM
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Is this a 3-way circuit that worked previously? Please describe the wiring and cables at each switch and fixture.
 
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Old 01-20-18, 01:52 PM
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Here is a description and image of the circuit. It is set up so light 1 is between the two switches. Power is connected to the black (common) terminal on switch 1 with the neutral going to light 1. The red wire continues through the junction box at light 1 and continues to the terminal on Switch 2. The black wire from switch one goes to the junction box at light 1 where it is connected to the white wire and continues to its terminal on Switch 2. The black wire from switch 2 is connected to light 1. Light 1 is connected to light 2.
When I activate the switches I get different combinations of on/off that do not make sense.
 
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Old 01-20-18, 01:57 PM
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It is a new circuit. Both lights are cans with light one serving as the junction box between switches one and two.
 
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Old 01-20-18, 02:07 PM
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You need to make sure that at both switches...... the black wire is on the dark/black common screw.
Your wiring is shown as correct. You are connecting the second light directly in parallel to the first light. That will leave you three white wires and three black wires for the light splice.

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Old 01-20-18, 02:21 PM
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Both black wires are under the black (common) screw. The switches are both Leviton but one is a toggle and the other is a panel toggle where the ground terminal and traveler are flipped. This shouldn't make any difference. The connections to the light cans are all push in blocks so I am going to have to look closer at that box to see if something is wrong. Here are some of the errors I see when activating the switches.
1. S2 on and turning S1 on and off turns both L1 and L2 on and off correctly.
2. S1 off and S2 turns L2 on and off, Li stays on.
3, S1 off and L1 on. S2 turns L2 on and off.

Something is screwy and I just can't find it.
 
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Old 01-20-18, 02:28 PM
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Three way switches don't have an on and off. They are up or down and then means little.

If you have the lights connected identically..... then they MUST both work together.
Light 1 white to light 2 white and light 1 black to light 2 black.
 
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Old 01-20-18, 02:35 PM
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I'll have to look at the junction box at L1 since the lights are not responding the same when switched. Its hard to get at so I may have missed something when making the drawing. I'll let you know what I found. THnaks for the advice.

David
 
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Old 01-20-18, 02:57 PM
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Found it. The black wire from L1 was connected to the white wire in the junction box instead of the black wire from S2. Made the switch and it worked fine. I was focused on the switch wiring rather than the wiring to the lights. Once you said that the lights HAVE to work the same if they are wired correctly I knew the problem had to be with the black wires serving L1.

Thanks
 
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Old 01-20-18, 04:50 PM
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Good job. You're welcome.
 
 

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