3 way switch what did I do wrong?


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Old 01-27-05, 09:07 AM
K
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3 way switch what did I do wrong?

HI I recently had to move a switch a few feet & decided to put a new box around it (as old one was difficult to connect to 2x4) fortunately I had enough wiring that all I needed to do was disconnect wiring and run it throught the new "box". I wrote down which wire went to which screw on the switch - now that its back together I find it doesn't work (it will turn the light on & off Only if the other switch is left in the on position) - I checked my initial notes for wiring and I did put it back the way it was originally. Now what?
 
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Old 01-27-05, 09:56 AM
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Did you put the exact same switch back, or did you put a new one in? Did you record which wire went to which screw by noting which wire went to the "lower left" and "upper right" screw? If you put in a new switch, do you still have the old one?

Different manufacturers put the "common" screw in different places on the switch. You have to move wires by screw function, not screw position.
 
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Old 01-27-05, 11:38 AM
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What John said.
It is simple to fix. It will take two tries at the most. Look on your new switch for the screw marked common or the one that is different color from other two. Try a different wire on that screw. If it doesn't work then try the last wire and it should work. This assumes you have not made any change to the other switch.
 
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Old 01-27-05, 07:08 PM
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3 way switch

I was very specific about the wiring (because I didn't want to screw it up!)

I remember putting down which color went to screw above ground, which color went to "gold" screw & which to silver..... Same switch.....

I'll try the second suggestion. Thanks
 
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Old 01-28-05, 07:07 AM
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Well, I don't know what to say. Your symptoms exactly match what would happen if you didn't get the wires back where they belong. Follow Joe's advice and just try the other two combinations.

One other possibility: you would also get this behavior if one of the three wires wasn't connected at all. Perhaps you didn't make a good connection on one of the wires.
 
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Old 01-29-05, 11:52 AM
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No good news

Okay figuring I must have wired incorrectly - I took the advice to try differnt wire on odd color screw.

It worked sort of - while the light is operational regardless of position of other switch (so it works as it should) the switch is "humming" and I'm sure I smelled it burning.

Shut it off at breaker - taped that breaker in off position and headed back to this computer for suggestions.

Wiring is as follows (although it probably doesn't help because I forgot to write down mfg.)

Bare wire on green screw
Black wire underneath green on gold screw

red wire on top (gold screw) other side
White wire on black screw underneath.

-----

the difference between this configuration and the one where the switch only worked if other switch was in on position is

White wire was on top (gold crew)
Red was on bottom (black screw)

I'll call an electrician if I need to - but he'll charge me $50.00 just to come out.......
 
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Old 01-29-05, 06:18 PM
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The switch should not be humming, even if wired wrong unless it was a dimmer. Even then dimmers don't normally hum either.
 
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Old 01-30-05, 06:18 AM
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I suggest you replace the switch.Generally the configuration is red=dark screw,white=silver screw,black=gold screw,green or bare=green screw but obviously this wasn't working for you so again you might try different combinations.The ground(green or bare) though would always be on the green screw regardless of the others.Also I suggest you purchase a switch in a box or on a card instead of bulk as the package usually gives help and has diagrams on it.
 
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Old 01-30-05, 07:00 AM
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3 way switch

THanks for all the suggestions, I've purchased another switch & have come u with an idea (uh oh) - the same electrician wired both the upsatairs & downstairs switch - I'm hoping he used the same configuration on both - I'll print out the emails sent so far and take them with me to compare.....I'll let you know how I make out.

Thanks all
 
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Old 01-30-05, 10:29 PM
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3 way switch - Done!!

I checked out the other switch for this light (since I had hoped electrician wired both the same) and found that the way I had it wired was the same as he had - I put a new switch in and it works!

I don't know if I burned out the switch in my initial rewiring attempts - but if it hadn't been suggested that I try another switch - I probably would have given up and called electrician!

While I was at it I decided to change lighting fixture - all went smoothly and I must admit I got a measure of satisfaction walking up and down stairs and seeing new light working! Thank you all.
 
 

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