Thought I was replacing a 3-way switch but only two wires on the switches

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Old 02-16-18, 04:09 PM
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Thought I was replacing a 3-way switch but only two wires on the switches

I have two occupancy switches for the hall lights. They both turn off and on the lights. But when I took out the switches they only have two wires. Pictures below.

The red wires are hot in both outlets (I don't know why they used red instead of black). Shouldn't there be two travelers between the switches? How can they both control the lights?
 
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Old 02-16-18, 05:02 PM
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Your first picture looks like a 3 way wiring (not the switch) with the white being the common and the red and black being the travelers.

The 2nd box does not.

Can you post pictures where the switches get their power or the first outlet?
 
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Old 02-16-18, 08:02 PM
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One of the red wires in the bottom picture is the power source. It goes to the outlet in the first picture. So I guess the bottom picture is just a single pole switch. But why are the black and neutral joined in the first picture? And how do both switches operate the lights?

Could this be a "California" 3-way switch?
 
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Old 02-16-18, 08:10 PM
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When you use multiple sensors to control the same circuit..... the switches are wired in parallel. Three way wiring is not required. That was probably a three way circuit originally.

Either switch turns on the light. As long as one is tripped.... the lights stay on. You can't force them off from the opposite switch.
 
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Old 02-17-18, 08:11 AM
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Thanks Pete, that makes sense. Any idea what that white wire is?
 
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Old 02-17-18, 09:31 AM
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Looks like one of the travelers and the common were combined.
Didn't need to be done.
 
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Old 02-17-18, 10:15 AM
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yeah, overall seemed like weird wiring. Thanks for your help!
 
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