3-Way Switch Confusion


Old 04-02-00, 11:36 PM
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I tried to replace my 3-way switch, which controls 2 recessed incandesent lights, with X10 (home automation) switches. After trying several ways of wiring and not able to turn on the lights, I put back the original switches. Now I can't get the lights to turn on. I thought I wrote down the wiring diagram correctly but now I'm not sure. On both switches there's 2 black wires and one red.
How do I go about seeing which wire supplies the power using a voltage tester (neon lights) or a multitester? I touch the red probe to one wire but where do I touch the black probe?
Would I hurt anything (shorting, fires, etc.) by trying different combinations on the wall switches? Is there a possibility that I burned out the light fixtures?
So, right now I don't know 1) if the switch wiring is correct 2) the light fixtures were damaged (no smoke, smell, etc.) or 3) there's actual electricity coming in. The breaker is OK, the other outlets, and another room's lights on the same circuit works.
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Old 04-03-00, 08:45 PM
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hello nlee0223,
ok here is what u have in the boxs in 1 box u will have a hot(black)and 2 travelers(red and black)in other box u will have switch leg (black) and 2 travelers(red and black) there will also be be white wires tied together and bare wires tied together in the boxes. normaly the black that is in same cabel as the red will be your traveler. u will have to test with a meter or test light to determin the hot. place 1 leg of meter on the black and other leg of meter on the bare if u get 120V then this is hot. wireing the switches is as follows hot and switch leg to common screw on switchs (odd colored screw), travelers to other 2 screws. if after wireing switches this way if u still have no light then u may have messed up the lights.
Old 04-04-00, 10:47 AM
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Thanks Sprky,

I assume a bare wire is the twisted white wires? How do I check for damaged fixtures? They were working before I started. How could they have been damaged when I was trying to install the new switches?

Old 04-04-00, 01:39 PM
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If you want to use X-10 try this.
Pop the breaker off and connect the black wires in the first box together and the black wires in the second box together. Turn the breaker back on and the lights should come on. If the lights do not come on you have one of the white wires disconnected in one of the boxes. This white wires goes to ground. with the whites connected the light will come on. To wire for X-10 disconnect the black wires in one of the boxes (pop off breaker first). Look in the box and trace each black wire to see the bundle it comes from. One will be blk/wht/red/bare the other will be blk/wht/bare. Connect the black wire from blk/wht/bare to the red wire. Now any place you put a switch between red and black wires the lights will turn on. [email protected]

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