3 way switch driving me crazy

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Old 04-17-14, 08:47 PM
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3 way switch driving me crazy

I am trying to replace a 3 way switch but I cant seem to get it working right. Its an old house and I am pretty sure the power is coming from the light first. There are only 3 wires in each switch box (and the colors don't match so I assume there is a junction box or two somewhere. I think I have the common (hot) in the first switch coming from the light. I have tried all three wires in the second box as the common but noting seems to be working. Anyone have any ideas? I thought I may have the wrong hot in the first box, but I put up my test light on the black and any other wire and it comes on. The light does not come on with any other wire combo.
 
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Old 04-17-14, 09:22 PM
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I am pretty sure the power is coming from the light first
Guessing won't help. Pull the light and see if you have a cable that measures 120 volts black to white when disconnected.
I think I have the common (hot) in the first switch coming from the light
First you need to determine where power comes in so pull the light and begin there.
I have tried all three wires in the second box as the common but noting seems to be working
To determine if a wire is hot you must disconnect it and measure to a known good ground or neutral*. However keep in mind only one of your two commons have a wire that is hot when disconnected. .
here are only 3 wires in each switch box (and the colors don't match so I assume there is a junction box or two somewhere
Pull out the switches, look in the back of the junction box. Did this ever work? Is this cable or conduit? What are the colors.

*Use ans extension cord as your reference neutral when determining if a wire is hot if there is no ground.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 04-17-14 at 09:41 PM.
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