3-way question with dimmer and toggle

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Old 04-01-17, 09:06 AM
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3-way question with dimmer and toggle

I have two 3-way switch arrangements. Both have a 3-way dimmer in one wall box and a 3-way toggle switch in the other wall box and together they control a ceiling fixture.

On one of them (staircase), you can dim the ceiling fixture with the dimmer and also turn the ceiling fixture on and off from the switch in the wall box. The dimmer will control the light regardless of whether the switch is in the up or down position. But it will not have the dimming feature if the switch is in one of the positions; it will only work as all-on or off. Still, this is satisfactory.

On the other arrangement (dining room), the switch will not do this; it has to be in one position before the dimmer can turn on the light, but the switch serves no other function. Either the dimmer has power or it does not.

Of course, I want both arrangements to work like the first. Does the problem have to do with where the current enters, or did I miswire or use the wrong parts or what?

Thanks for any input.
 
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Old 04-01-17, 09:12 AM
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It appears the switches are not wired correctly. Can you remove the power from the circuit, pull the switches and post pictures of the switches on both sides so we can see what you see?
 
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Old 04-02-17, 12:38 PM
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photos

Here are both sides of the toggle and the back of the dimmer.
Attachment 79084Attachment 79085Attachment 79087

The box where the dimmer is located is very crowded and has 2 switches. If I need to go in there, would you let me know what to be looking for. Thanks.
 
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Old 04-02-17, 12:45 PM
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Try this first.... there are two blacks and a white on the switch. Not a typical three way color setup. There is a black wire on the dark colored screw and white and black on the brass colored screws.

ID the black wire on the switch that goes to the dark screw. Now switch the two black wires and see if that fixes the problem. Since you've id'ed the black wire you can always return it to original.

You can't hurt anything by reversing the two black wires.
 
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Old 04-02-17, 12:58 PM
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moved the black wires

The only difference I can determine is the position of the toggle for the dimmer to work. I still can only turn on the light at the dimmer, and only when the toggle is in a particular position. I can't turn on the light at the toggle if it is off at the dimmer.
 
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Old 04-02-17, 01:24 PM
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Usually there is a red wire used as a traveler and we can tell you what to change.
With only white and black being used our help will be limited.

What is the make and model of that dimmer. Usually a dimmer of that type is four wires.
line, load, neutral, traveler.
 
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Old 04-02-17, 01:32 PM
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brand

It says Power Controls Corp. Made in USA
 
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Old 04-02-17, 01:48 PM
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need to be used in pairs?

Now I'm wondering if this is a design that has to be used in pairs. There is a patent online that suggests this.

<https://www.google.com/patents/US4259619>
 
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Old 04-02-17, 03:47 PM
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Changed the dimmer and now OK

I bought and installed a new 3-way dimmer and now it is working correctly.

Thanks as usual for your terrific advice.
 
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