Connecting two 3-way dimmers

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Old 01-16-14, 11:47 AM
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Connecting two 3-way dimmers

Hello,

We recently moved into a new house where the kitchen has recessed lighting that is controlled by two dimmer switches. Last night they both stopped working (which in itself seems like an odd coincidence), so I purchased two new dimmers and I am attempting to install them.

I've attached a diagram of what each electrical box looks like in terms of the wiring. There are also white/neutral wires, but all of them are capped and were not connected to the existing dimmers.

I am able to connect one of the dimmers successfully to Box #1, but have not been able to get anything to work at Box #2. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 01-16-14, 11:54 AM
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If this is cable not conduit there should be a 3-conductor cable between box 1 and box 2 (red black white). I don't see one. Your diagram is also missing the white wires.
 
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Old 01-16-14, 11:59 AM
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If this is a 3-way and cable not conduit there should be a 3-conductor cable between box 1 and box 2 (red black white). I don't see one. Your diagram is also missing the white wires.

Edit: The more times I read your posts the more confused I am. Is this one set of lights operated by two switches or two sets of lights operated by two separate switchers.
 
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Old 01-16-14, 02:09 PM
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Hi - thank you very much for the reply. I am confused too, as far as how this was working before. There are white wires within the boxes as well, but they are all capped and were not connected to anything when I removed the existing dimmer switches - that is why I did not include them. Let me take another look and put together a more complete diagram.

Also - it is one set of lights operated by two switches.
 
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Old 01-16-14, 02:29 PM
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Thank you again for the reply. This diagram should make more sense - I apologize for the confusion caused by my initial post. Note that the blue lines in the diagram are actually the white wires. Please let me know if you need more information.
 
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Old 01-16-14, 02:34 PM
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Normally you need a master and slave. Not sure it will work if you have two masters. The diagram below might work but there should be instructions that came with the dimmers.

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Old 01-16-14, 02:38 PM
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It is a 3-way circuit - there is a group of 5 recessed light fixtures that were all being controlled by 2 dimmers. So you could turn the lights on with one dimmer, adjust the light output, etc., and then walk over to the second dimmer to adjust the output again, turn them off, etc.
 
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Old 01-16-14, 02:59 PM
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See revised post above.

.
 
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Old 01-16-14, 03:55 PM
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That did it, thank you very much!!
 
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Old 01-16-14, 04:41 PM
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No problem. Thanks for letting us know you got it. Forgot to mention the whites of the 3-conductor cable need to be marked some color other then white or gray on both ends.. Use felt tip marker or bands of colored tape.
 
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Old 01-16-14, 07:38 PM
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Will do, thanks again. I actually spoke a little too soon earlier - it is working with the solution that you provided, but only when I use a regular switch on one end. But I am fine with that - there is really no practical need to have two dimmers.

I am still puzzled by how it was working before when the white wires within the 3-wire cable were capped off. The dimmer that was in box #2 also didn't seem like it was meant for a 3-way circuit - it had only 2 wires coming out of it.

At any rate, I am very grateful for your help. This was a new one for me, and it was a really good learning experience.
 
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Old 01-16-14, 08:31 PM
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it is working with the solution that you provided, but only when I use a regular switch on one end.
That was to be expected. As I wrote earlier:
Normally you need a master and slave. Not sure it will work if you have two masters.
I suspect you had a master and slave before. Both didn't really go bad just the master failed.
I am still puzzled by how it was working before when the white wires within the 3-wire cable were capped
That's because it was a slave. Did it have only two connections?
 
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