Help replacing a three way switch

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  #1  
Old 06-08-15, 02:10 PM
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Exclamation Help replacing a three way switch

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HELP! We have a 3-way switch in hall, I took photo of the wiring configuration on my (company) iPhone for easy install of new switch but changed jobs & no longer have the image for reference.

The box (image above) has 1 hot black wire, 2 additional black wires, 3 whites (all hooked together with a wire nut), a red and a ground. The extra black wire has really throw us for a loop as all the wiring diagrams & forum threads we can find for review have a more standard installation without the extra black(s).

Can someone tell us what goes where on our replacement 3-way switch (images below)?

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THANK YOU!!!
 
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Old 06-08-15, 02:18 PM
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What is the wiring at the second switch? Do you have a 2-conductor cable at the first switch (pictured) that measures ~120 volts when not connected? (You can't use a non contact tester for testing voltage but you can use a test light if you don't have a multimeter.)
 
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Old 06-08-15, 02:44 PM
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Update - 2nd switch

Thanks for the prompt reply, the second switch only has 1 black, 1 white, 1 red and a ground. Don't have testing equipment on hand. Image of 2nd switch below, also added an image of where the wiring from the 2 switches meet and go to the light in the ceiling for reference (I think there should probably be a box, we just bought house and are fixing it up...).

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Our best guess is that the extra set of wires is feeding a receptacle after the 1st switch but we don't know what configuration to use during install.
 
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Old 06-08-15, 04:06 PM
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In your first picture are all the whites contained in the red B-cap? Not to bust your bubble, but that connection outside the can on the bottom picture won't pass. All wiring connections must be done in a junction box with a cover and must remain accessible after the final wall/ceiling covering. What will be your final ceiling covering? Sheetrock?
 
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Old 06-08-15, 04:21 PM
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White wires at switch #1

Yes, the whites (3 of them) are/were already bound together with the red cap. We figured the way they taped the connection at the can wasn't acceptable, planning to put it in a junction box before finishing the drop ceiling in that part of the basement.
 
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Old 06-08-15, 04:40 PM
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What color wire on the common (dark screw) of the second switch?
 
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Old 06-08-15, 04:49 PM
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There is no dark screw on 2nd switch, all 3 are silver... the black & white are connected to one side and the red to the other. The new switch (#1) does have the dark screw though.
 
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Old 06-08-15, 06:39 PM
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Please show us pictures of the screws on both sides of the switch.
 
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Old 06-08-15, 06:56 PM
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On top of finding out which screw is the common on switch two.... we may need to see that custom splice apart.

The most logical way to wire that is connect the red and black from the three wire cable to the traveler positions on switch 1. Combine the other two black wires with a short piece of black wire (a tail) and connect to the common screw.

Reasoning behind my logic.... all whites are neutral and connected together so the white of the three wire cable from switch 1 to that "splice" is neutral to the lights. The red and black in that cable are travelers. The white coming back from the second switch should be on the common screw. The 2) two wire cables are power in and out and need to be combined.
 
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Old 06-08-15, 08:39 PM
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I believe this is what PJ has described.

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Old 06-08-15, 08:59 PM
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That is indeed what I described.
 
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Old 06-09-15, 05:24 AM
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Good morning, above are images of both sides of switch 2.
In the image, the top screw on the one side does look darker, thanks to former owners things are spattered with paint so it's hard to tell... with the flashlight shining on it there are silver reflective areas on that screw and it doesn't appear flat black like the dark screw on the new switch for #1.

In the diagram you provided, it appears the hot coming in would be pigtailed to the lead going back out to the other receptacle (accounting for 2 black wires) and the 3rd feeding to switch #2. Any (simple) way for us to determine which is traveler and which is heading out to receptacle? Would it hurt anything to try with one black initially to see if it works/ change to other if it doesn't? (Trial & error method of home-wiring?
 
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Old 06-09-15, 05:44 AM
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In the diagram you provided, it appears the hot coming in would be pigtailed to the lead going back out to the other receptacle (accounting for 2 black wires) and the 3rd feeding to switch #2. Any (simple) way for us to determine which is traveler and which is heading out to receptacle?
Yes, the black traveler will be the black of the 3-conductor cable. A careful look at the cables coming in should show you which cable that is.
 
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Old 06-09-15, 07:10 AM
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yet more confusion...

We hooked it up per diagram and the light is always on. We switched the blacks and the light comes on/off with alternate switch use but now the receptacle only works with the light on. Are we doing something wrong or do you think the plug was intended to be on only with the light on? It is in a hallway. Please us know your thoughts.
Thank you!!!
 
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Old 06-09-15, 07:40 AM
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We got it, thanks for your help.
 
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Old 06-09-15, 02:48 PM
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Glad you got it. What was the initial problem when you finished.
 
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