Three way light switch

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Old 01-21-12, 11:18 AM
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Three way light switch

I have a three way light switch that I am having a problem with.
There are two switches and two lights in between the switches I have it currently hooked up where only one switch will actually work the light, when I switch the two wires around on the switches right hand side it makes the other switch the one that works and then if I move them back to the original setting neither switch will turn the light off and it stays on all the time.
 
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Old 01-21-12, 12:29 PM
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There are different ways to run the wiring in a 3 way setup. Can you describe the number and colors of the cable and conductors in all the boxes? Does the wiring actually run SW-fixture-Sw or just that the two switches control the same fixture?
 
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Old 01-21-12, 02:00 PM
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At the two switches there are two black and a red and a white, red is attached to the left side of the switch and two blacks are attached to the right hand side of the switch. At the light the reds are connected to each other and the blacks and whites are connected to each other. I connected the light fixture to the blacks and the whites.
 
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Old 01-21-12, 02:03 PM
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sorry the blacks are attached to the blacks and the whites are attached to the whites
 
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Old 01-21-12, 02:28 PM
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Right and left have no meaning in this discussion. What matters is which wire is connected to the odd colored screws.
 
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Old 01-21-12, 03:34 PM
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Ok the light switch has one connector on the left side of the switch and two connectors on the right side as you look at in the wall. Red wire is attached to the left side with the one connector and the I have black attached to the copper screw and black attached to the screw above it on it on the right side of the switch. I'm sorry I dont know how to describe this is laymans terms.
 
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Old 01-21-12, 03:48 PM
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Please describe the connections and include the screw colors. One of the screws is typically a dark color and the other two are brass colored.
 
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Old 01-22-12, 01:52 PM
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Pictures by GBTurner - Photobucket

The first box has the power running into to it. It has three cables running into it and the whites are connected together, two blacks pigtailed and there is a wire that coming off that pigtail to the switch, and there is red and black that come out to the switch from the same cable out of the wall.


Second box has two cables coming into it one two wire and one three wire. Whites connected together, red and black from the same cable from the three wire come out to the switch and black wire from the other cable come out to the switch.



 

Last edited by BrentTurner; 01-22-12 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 01-22-12, 02:28 PM
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Please do not refer to cables as wires. It gets very confusing. A cable is two or more wires in a sheath.

In the top picture was the lower left black connected to the common, dark colored screw? Were the black and red connected to the travelers (brass screws)? If you have a multimeter do you have 120v between lower right black and neutral

In the bottom picture which wire was connected to the common?
 
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Old 01-22-12, 02:49 PM
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The first picture is the box that powers this circuit. The three black wires that are pigtailed together on the bottom are hot. I was not the person that took the switches off so I am not sure about what was connected to what
 

Last edited by BrentTurner; 01-22-12 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 01-22-12, 04:14 PM
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In the top picture The black pigtail goes to the common screw (dark colored). The red and other black go to the travelers (brass).

In the bottom picture far right black to the common. Middle black and red to the travelers.
 
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Old 01-22-12, 04:16 PM
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Cool Three way light switch

Hello Brent Turner

Did the switches / lights ever work right? Is this a NEW project??
Do you have a Multimeter, so you can test what wires are HOT???

If you do I will post some info on how to connect the wires to the switches



Have A Nice Day





Linesman
 
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Old 01-22-12, 04:22 PM
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yes the lights have always worked perfectly, a guy who does some work for me changed out a ceiling fan for a light and was going to replace the switches because they had paint on them. Now he can't remember how to put everything back together. If I could figure which wires to go to the terminals on the switches it would be appreciated. He thinks the red wire was on the single pole side on the switches but he is not 100%.

The power comes into the first outlet via the 3 black wires that are pigtailed on the bottom of the photo
 
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Old 01-22-12, 04:24 PM
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Linesman thanks for the assist. Our posts crossed Check my post above yours. I think I gave him the right answer. If not let us know.

Brent try my way. That should work.
 
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Old 01-22-12, 04:27 PM
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Thank's Ray, I will try it out on Monday and let you know. Thanks for everyones help.
 
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Old 01-22-12, 05:53 PM
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Ok went to the house and wired it up. Two new switches. The second switch works on and off, the first switch which is the first picture , stays on will not turn off. At the light I have three sets of wires white, red and black. I have the light wired white to white and black to black. Should the white or black go to the red at the light.
 
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Old 01-22-12, 05:59 PM
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Cool Three way light switch

Hello Ray 2047

Ray, yes that is the way I would wire up the switches.
In the top picture the Pigtail wire is the common Hot wire
and it looks like it is also wired to another cable - the lower left,
that cable looks always hot, maybe for an outlet.. Any way that is
the wire that goes to the DARK screw---just like you said..
In the bottom picture, the upper left (white cable) The black wire is the
common load that goes to the light(s) and should be connected to
the DARK screw on the second switch - just like you said..


Here is another thought, maybe the Pigtail is for the two lights and the power is in the second box!!! But either way your info will work..


I would feel better if we could get some readings with a multimeter, instead of guessing.


Hope this helps ---



Have A Nice Day





Linesman
 
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Old 01-22-12, 06:07 PM
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I assumed you had a single 2-conductor cable at the light. So you are saying you have two 3-conductor cables at the light? Do you have a multimeter. We need to determine if the 3-conductor cable goes between the switches directly or to the light first..

He thinks the red wire was on the single pole side on the switches but he is not 100%.
No such thing. Sides are not relevant and single pole is gibberish in that context. You have two travelers and a common. That is what is important. Can you provide a picture of the wiring at the light?
 
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Old 01-22-12, 06:20 PM
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Linesman wrote:
Here is another thought, maybe the Pigtail is for the two lights and the power is in the second box!!! But either way your info will work..


I would feel better if we could get some readings with a multimeter, instead of guessing.
I really shouldn't make snap judgments. Your first answer was probably a better approach then mine. I'm suspecting now they used a 3-conductor to the fan to provide separate switching for fan and light since he wrote only a red white and black at the ceiling but that makes no sense if it is a three way.
 
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Old 01-22-12, 06:30 PM
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I dont know if this makes any difference but these two switches are at the top and bottom of a set of stairs. The circuit is powered by the first picture which is upstairs and there is a light at the top of the stairs and a light in the hallway going up the stairs that work off of these two switches. The light I am replacing has white, black, and red wires in the light box. I currently have the light hooked up white to white and black to black. I wired the switches like you said and the switch at the bottom of the stairs works correctly but the top switch will not turn off the light and when the bottom switch is off the switch at the top of the stairs does nothing
 
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Old 01-22-12, 07:40 PM
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I dont know if this makes any difference but these two switches are at the top and bottom of a set of stairs. The circuit is powered by the first picture which is upstairs and there is a light at the top of the stairs and a light in the hallway going up the stairs that work off of these two switches.
I'm confused are you saying the switches don't power the light you are trying to get to work?
 
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Old 01-22-12, 08:21 PM
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I'm not a layman here. These two three way switches control the two lights, one in the stairway and another at the top of the stairs. I am replacing the light at the top of the stairs. I think this has gotten overly complicated may just give in and call an electrician.
 
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Old 01-22-12, 08:34 PM
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I thought you were replacing a ceiling fan? Did the switch control both the fan and the light on the fan or was the fan and light always on and you used the pull switches to control it?
 
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Old 01-22-12, 08:41 PM
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Yes I am replacing a ceiling fan with a light. It shouldnt make a difference.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 05:42 AM
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Yes, an electrician may be your best bet.

Yes I am replacing a ceiling fan with a light. It shouldnt make a difference.
Multiple ways actually which could give a clue as to how to wire this plus need to know how the second light receives switched power or if switched power goes there first.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 07:51 AM
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Try moving the fixture black to the ceiling red and test the switches.
 
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