Help with 3 way switches

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Old 12-22-08, 11:50 AM
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Help with 3 way switches

Hi,
The switch plate in my dining room recently broke so I tried to replace the switch. I figured it was a 3 way switch since the light is controlled by two switches on opposite sides of the room.
However, when I disconnected the old plate I noticed 5 wires and 5 terminals on the old switch.
My new three way switch only has 4.

There are 4 black wires and one red ground wire.
Also, when I disconnected the switch, the power in the next room went out.

I know which of the black wires is hot. I also know which one of the black wires goes to the power in the other room (turns on the stuff in the other room when connected to the "hot" wire). I assume the other two wires correspond to the light.

Basically, it seems like a normal three way switch with the extra wire going to the other room. NORMALLY the power in the other room is in no way controlled by this switch.

Is there a special type of switch I need to buy in order to complete the circuit and power the other room? Or should I tie some combination of the black wires above?

If I need to clarify something, just let me know.
 
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Old 12-22-08, 05:42 PM
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The wire that feeds the switch in the other room gets tapped off the terminal that stays hot all the time.
 
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Old 12-22-08, 06:14 PM
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Here's what I did:

I connected the hot wire to the wire that feeds the other room and then to the switch. I then connected the ground as well as the other two black wires to the switch.
The light switch now functions, but not as a 3 way switch. (Only the one switch turns off and on the light. The other switch will turn the light off, not on and while this switch is in the off position, the light won't turn on regardless of what you do to the other switch). I switched the position of the two black wires on the switch and still the same problem persists.

What did I do wrong/should I replace the other switch too?

Thanks.
 
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Old 12-22-08, 06:43 PM
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Sounds as if you have a 4 way switch. Are you sure there are only 2 locations that control the lighting? There must be one more. Can you check and let us know?
 
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Old 12-23-08, 04:59 AM
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I am positive there is not another location with a working switch.
 
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Old 12-23-08, 06:52 AM
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You may have to swap the position of the black wires on the new switch. I've had that happen.
 
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Old 12-23-08, 08:15 AM
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I disconnected the old plate I noticed 5 wires and 5 terminals on the old switch.
By "terminal", do you mean screw? Can you tell us the colors of all five screws? Were there exactly five wires attached to the old switch?

Before we go on, we need to figure out whether the old switch was a 3-way or a 4-way.

There are 4 black wires and one red ground wire.
A red wire is never a grounding wire. Treating it as one can be a fatal mistake.
 
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Old 12-23-08, 05:16 PM
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I was going to mention that I never saw a red wire as a ground either but I thought he must have seen it on the green terminal or something.
 
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Old 12-28-08, 05:27 PM
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I originally saw the red wire on the green terminal of the previous switch I replaced. However, this house was poorly wired by young kids and that could have easily been a mistake. Anyways I could go back and diagnose which wires are which?
 
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Old 12-28-08, 07:03 PM
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If you put one wire from your tester to the hot wire and the other to the red wire, it will light if the red is truly a ground.
 
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