3way switch replacement aftermath

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  #1  
Old 08-11-01, 09:08 AM
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Wink

My house was built in 1935. It has knob and tube wiring and old porcelain bodied switchs. These two included a pair of push button switches in my stairwell. These two were so loud when used that I decided to replace them with normal 3way switches. So I asked my son-in-law to "switch the switches". Unfortunately he messed up the connections because the don't work like there supposed -in conjunction. Lets say that Switch #1 is at the buttom of the stairs and switch #2 is at the top. With the light off If my wife wants to come upstairs switch #1 won't turn the light on. But if I throw Switch#2 upwards, she can operate the light from switch#1.
 
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  #2  
Old 08-11-01, 09:58 AM
Wgoodrich
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You have miss identified the travelers if you havn't disconnected any other wires escept from the existing switch devices. Try the following and let us know if this helped;

Disconnect all three wires from both switches so the hang out not touching. Take a voltage tester and a long jumper wire for testing purposes. Touch the long jumper to a metal water pipe or ground rod that you know is a good ground. Touch one test lead of your tester to that jumper wire. Touch the other lead of your voltage tester to one wire at a time until you find the one wire that has 120 volts without touching any of the other wires sticking out. This will be you power into that switch system. Connect that hot wire to the screw of the new three way switch that you bought that is of a different color than the other two screws of that three way switch. Then connect the other two wires to the other two screws left unused.

Now go to the second switch location that still has the three wires not touching anything. Touch the unused end of your tester to the three wires separtely one at a time. You will find one wire hot no matter the position of the already installed switch you just installed. Mark that wire for futer reference. Go back to your installed switch and flip that switch to the oppisite position it was in. If it was up then make it down and if it was down then make it up, whichever is oppisite position. Now go back to the second switch box and find the wire that is now hot with 120 volts. Once you find the two wires that become hot through the installed switch in changing positions. Then connect those to wires to the screws of that second switch that is of the same color. You should have one screw left that is of a different color. Connect that last wire to that open screw.

See if your switch system works now.

For a schematic that should be close to your wiring style concerning knob and tube wiring try the following link. This should help you discover how a three way switch works that is close to how you likely have been wire originally.

http://homewiring.tripod.com/3wayfixture.html

Good Luck

Wg
 
  #3  
Old 08-13-01, 01:10 AM
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Wg;
we might have the infamous "Chicago 3-Way" here, the one that switches the noodle....i had a pix of it, but i lost it to a virus recently....
 
  #4  
Old 08-13-01, 03:19 AM
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wirenuts reply

So what's your point? I came here for help not funny comments about my problem!!
 
  #5  
Old 08-13-01, 04:03 AM
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My post is not aimed at levity, there is such a 3-way, and the trade has pet names for a variety of goods. K&T does sometimes incorporate a switching senario that used the nuetral. Hopefully, U have a retrofitted circuit that has more modern wire bettween the switches, and is simply a matter of crossed travelers as Wg mentions. You did not detail the wiring that was in said switch box(s), was it K&T, or older nm ?
 
  #6  
Old 08-13-01, 01:03 PM
Wgoodrich
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Stay calm and we will try to help you. Wirenuts is right in his reply. There is a wiring design although illegal that has been used in the past and sometimes in the present by those that don't know they don't know. Concerning the NEC it is illegal 99% of the time to ever switch a neutral wire. A NOODLE is a common slang word for a neutral wire. This switching the noodle style of wiring has been known to pop up on many occasions in the Chicago area. However the switching the noodle is not limited to that area. I have seen it through the years in my area serveral times. Most commonly found in a three way switch between to detached structures. It is a very hazardous and illegal way of wiring a three way switch by incorporating the use of the neutral. I doubt you have this wiring style but it is a possibility. From what you discribe you have reversed your travelers. Travelers is also a slang word same as a common in this type wiring design. The term common is usually associated to to neutral or grounded leg, yet the term common when used in a three way switch system is the screw that is common to the other two screws of a three way switch. This would be the true way to use the term common but many times the word common is used discribing a neutral that is common between two hot wires. Just a way communication is used in terms of electricity.

Try to keep you patience and show the guys providing you advise on helping you solve your problem all the respect you can. They all deserve it. They do not get paid and they seldom get a thanks, yet they always seem to be there when someone needs help in doing it themselves. Wirenuts is a very productive and knowledgable person performing replies at free gratice or how ever you spell that word.

Just read the link that I gave you that should help you understand what a common is and what a traveler is and then follow the advice I provided in my pervious post and also anything any other person replying to you trying to help. If they are wrong and often we all miss something, one of the others in the forum giving advice will jump in a heed a warning or question that reply. You should get quite capable advice from any one of us.

Stay calm and stick with it you can solve the problem. I suspect all you need to do is properly identify the common wire and connect that common wire to the odd colored screw of your new switch in both switch boxes. Identify the proper common wire and place it on that odd screw and you should have a three way switch system that works right again. Don't see a big hazard on this problem just see it as a puzzle to put back together in the right sequence.

Good Luck

Wg
 
  #7  
Old 08-13-01, 01:51 PM
Guy
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Since we're into 3 way switches and wiring possibilities, I wanted to point out a couple of articles that had been written about these circuits ( in a home automation context ) that showed some pretty good diagrams about all the variations ( both good and bad ) that you could find. It was a two part series, at:

http://www.hometoys.com/htinews/dec9...y/kingery6.htm

and

http://www.hometoys.com/htinews/feb9...y/kingery7.htm

then there is a followup article in which a reader referred to an "illegal" 3 way circuit (fig. 7 in the article) at:

http://www.hometoys.com/htinews/apr9...y/kingery8.htm


so have a look and try to identify your own current setup.
 
  #8  
Old 08-13-01, 02:22 PM
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Wg, thank you
Guy, a pix is worth a 1000 word, fig 7 of your second link shows what they are calling a 'French 3-way' , which i had refered to as a 'Chicago 3-way' either way, it's a hazard.

shall we continue ???
 
  #9  
Old 08-14-01, 09:44 AM
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Hi guys!
Just dropped into this area because the person had a simular problem to my own concerning these switches. The question that I have is what color should the travelers be marked. Red, Blue, etc. The common power should be taped black I assume? Is this correct? I would like to color tape them properly so that they can easily be identified at a later date.
BTW, you guys do a great job here and are a font of information. Some confusing (LOL!!), but great resource.
 
  #10  
Old 08-14-01, 11:38 AM
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As long as it's not green, white, or grey, you can choose any color you'd like. In most of the country, we get by with boring black and red. However in areas like Chicago, they are much more colorful, and consequently it is easier to follow the wiring.
 
  #11  
Old 09-02-13, 07:45 AM
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Here we are about twelve years later. I would normally be golfing but I hurt my wrist so I thought I would tackle this wiring problem of mine using this thread as a guide.

I only hope that wgoodrich is still around since his great description of the step by step to use worked perfectly. I got an attaboy from the wife!

Thanks to all who contributed to this forum and this thread.

Jerry Single
Ohio
 
  #12  
Old 09-02-13, 08:11 AM
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So you were visiting guest that started the thread?
 
  #13  
Old 10-21-13, 08:24 AM
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Yes I was and very happy with the results
 
  #14  
Old 10-21-13, 10:42 AM
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Glad it worked out for you.
 
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