Crazy 3-way switch

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Old 10-07-12, 09:04 PM
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Crazy 3-way switch

I have this weird 3-way switch problem at the barn. This is how it's designed.

I have a 14-2 feed into the switch. I have 2 14-2 wires going to two different lights (why it was designed that way instead of using a junction, i'm not sure). I have a 14-3 wire going to the other three way.

The main feed is attached to the black screw. The travelers are on the brass and silver screw. I hooked up all neutrals together (main switch).

Secondary switch I have neutral, hot, and red-wire (14-3) hooked up the same way, except the neutral is hooked onto the switch.

It pops the breaker.

I've swapped the wires out continuously trying to find why it's happening. When i disconnect the neutrals at the "main' switch and stick the neutral on the switch itself it doesn't pop the breaker however it does not work as a 3-way.

I'm baffled.
 
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Old 10-07-12, 09:29 PM
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The main power (black wire) goes to the black or odd screw on the local switch. Connnect the main neutral (white wire) to the 2 white wires going to the lights. In your case I would be using the red and white wires of the 3 wire as your travelers. Meaning on your local and remote switches the red and white wires would be connected to the like colored screws. At the remote switch the black wire of the 3 wire cable should go to black or odd colored screw. At the local switch end the black wire of the 3 wire cable would go to your 2 black wires that go to your fixtures.
 
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Old 10-08-12, 04:57 AM
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Remember, neutrals are not figured in with switching, period. Make sure you didn't inadvertently place a neutral on one of your traveler screws. It is wise to code the white wire in the 3 wire cable with a piece of black tape, indicating it is current carrying. Let us know if that is the case.
 
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Old 10-08-12, 07:40 AM
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I have this weird 3-way switch problem at the barn. This is how it's designed.

I have a 14-2 feed into the switch. I have 2 14-2 wires going to two different lights (why it was designed that way instead of using a junction, i'm not sure). I have a 14-3 wire going to the other three way.

The main feed is attached to the black screw. The travelers are on the brass and silver screw. I hooked up all neutrals together (main switch).

Secondary switch I have neutral, hot, and red-wire (14-3) hooked up the same way, except the neutral is hooked onto the switch.
You have a dead-end 3-way setup with a double load feed. The unusual part of that is the double load.

The problem is that you've wired it to create a dead short. What you need to do is splice the white wire in the 3-conductor cable to the black wires going to the two lights, and splice the other three white wires together. The white wire in the 3-conductor cable needs to be marked with black or red electrical tape or permanent marker at each end to show that it is carrying ungrounded current.
 
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Old 10-08-12, 08:25 AM
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I realize it created a dead short I just couldn't figure out what in the flying horse crap was going on and why it did that. I had my white/red as travelers. I will see if ti works! Thanks guys!

this old barn has been a night man. I found one switch with 5 different loads. I'm not sure if Junction boxes were used in the 70s or not, lol. I've been cleaning up a lot it's just this one particular three way -- kill me.
 
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Old 10-08-12, 11:08 AM
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I had my white/red as travelers.
Oops! I somehow got it that you were using the black and red as the travelers and the white as the point wire.

Do that.

At the remote switch, tag the white wire and terminate it to the point screw. Terminate the red and black to the traveler screws. Then you can close and cover it.

At the feed-and-load switch, tag the white wire coming from the remote switch and splice it to the two black wires going to the two lights. Leave the main feed terminated to the black point screw. Terminate the two travelers to the two traveler screws. Splice the neutral from the panel to the neutrals for the two lights.

That should do it.
 
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Old 10-10-12, 09:35 PM
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3-way switch issue still

Ok this the exact problem taht I am having.

I have 1- 3-way switch with the power feed coming from the panel. From there, I have a 14-2 going to the light.

How it's hooked up:

Neutral to Neutral, ground to ground. The feed attached to the black screw, and the 14-2 going to the light attached to the brass screw. The switch works great

Now this is where it gets stupid:

Secondary switch:

I have a 14-3 wire leading straight to another switch.

it is wired the same except the neutral has no where to go on the secondary switch. No wires to tie the Neutral in but the switch itself. So really I only have one traveler which is the Red wire

So imagine my secondary switch only has a 14-3 wire going to it. That's the only feed in/out.

Is it feasible to make it operate as a 3-way switch or do I need to run a wire from the switch to a light in order to make the 3-way work?

Do I need to re-run the secondary switch wire to a light in order to coordinate the on/off function?
 
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Old 10-10-12, 09:42 PM
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So it should look like this instead of what I have? I am dealing with someone who didn't know how to run electrical and ran the barn electrical ass backwards so I'm tryign to consolidate and fix everything accordingly.

How To Install a 3-way Switch Option #5 :: Home Improvement Web
 
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Old 10-10-12, 09:45 PM
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In order to help yourself......buy a roll of blue tape and tape that white wire blue because it is NOT a neutral. Forget it's white. You now have three wires.....one is a point wire and 2 are travelers, Did you read my previous post ?
 
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Old 10-10-12, 09:48 PM
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That circuit shows lights at "end of run" You have lights and power at one end...right?
 
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Old 10-11-12, 04:43 PM
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So it should look like this instead of what I have?
It could, if you wanted to move the light feed to the second switch box and have a neutral in each box.

If you just want to connect the wiring you have now so that both switches control the lights, follow the instructions in post #6.
 
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Old 10-12-12, 06:59 PM
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I ended up running another wire into the remote box, removed the feed out from the main box, and put a light feed in the remote box. It works now. I know there's an easier way but I said screw it instead. It works -- thanks guys!
 
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Old 10-12-12, 09:08 PM
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Sometimes replace is better than fix. Been there done that. Glad you got it. Thanks for letting us know.
 
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Old 10-12-12, 10:46 PM
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I know there's an easier way but I said screw it instead. It works
It better! The way you did it is the only way to do it that's fully compliant with modern codes. Congratulations!
 
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