three-way traveller wired to neutral???


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Old 03-22-14, 01:00 PM
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three-way traveller wired to neutral???

My wife and I purchased a 100-year old house. In the kitchen, the overhead light is controlled by a three-way switch setup. I started having a problem, whereas turning on other lights on the same circuit will make that light flicker, or brown-out. Fridge kicking on will do the same thing. First I checked the other outlets and the fridge, they're fine. When I pulled apart the switches, I found something that is confusing the heck out of me. In the first box, I have one common coming in, and 14-2 running to the other box (two wire, not three). In the other box, I have the 14-2 coming in, and what I am pretty sure is one of the travellers is pigtailed to the neutrals in the switch box. How does THAT work??? Has anybody seen anything like this?
 
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Old 03-22-14, 01:13 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Is there also knob and tube wiring in that house ?

They may have picked up just the feed at the first box, used the 14-2 just for the travelers and then picked up the neutral at the second switch. If this was done 100 years ago it was probably "anything goes."
 
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Old 03-22-14, 01:22 PM
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well, I haven't seen anything THAT old, but close. I have found cloth-covered wiring in some spots, etc. Definitely anything goes. Is there any way to fix it, short of tearing out the wall/ceiling? I would not even mind going back to a single pole. Problem is, I can't seem to find the feed going up to the light to do so.
 
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Old 03-22-14, 01:27 PM
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It sounds like this light is just one issue there. The fridge on the same circuit is a bigger issue. That should definitely be moved to its own circuit.

You'll have to remove the light and the second switch to see what you have for wiring. Don't disconnect anything until you have it ID'ed. It may not be an easy circuit to rewire.
 
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Old 03-22-14, 06:28 PM
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They may have picked up just the feed at the first box, used the 14-2 just for the travelers and then picked up the neutral at the second switch.

Below are some ancient now non-complying 3 way switch setups.
 
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Last edited by PJmax; 03-22-14 at 07:13 PM. Reason: added quotes and removed board added link
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Old 03-23-14, 08:48 AM
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thanks very much for the replies and the pics, they help it make sense. Nothing left to do but rip into the ceiling and wall and make it right. And, yes, I realize that a total re-wire is in order.
 
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Old 03-23-14, 11:21 AM
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Normally a rewire can be done with little or no ripping out of wall and ceilings.
 
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Old 03-30-14, 06:08 PM
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yessir, I don't think that most of the re-wire will require tearing into too much. But in the case of this ceiling light, the existing wiring seems to run to an un-related receptacle that is behind my wall oven (gas oven, receptacle is to control lcd display and ignitor). All power to the light is now disconnected, but I haven't pulled the oven receptacle yet to see if I'm right. I suspect that I'll find wire coming in from the light, and the hot and neutral wires will be crossed, so that the neutral would feed voltage to light when the switch was thrown. I MAY be able to splice those wires to fresh cable and fish it through the basement up to the switch on the other wall, but I'm not really crazy about the idea of doing that.
 
 

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