Confused: Home wiring - 3 way switch connected differently ?


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Old 03-23-18, 07:30 PM
J
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Confused: Home wiring - 3 way switch connected differently ?

I have a room that has 1 working light switch and a second spot for another light switch to be installed to control the 1 ceiling light.

1 wall has a light switch (original switch) and the other is just the box with 3 wires inside: RED, BLACK , BROWN.
I checked the original switch and it has the same color wires as the 3 wires in the box.


I want to install a New switch on the other side where there currently is just the box with the 3 wires in it.

To try it out, I used a single pole light switch to see if it would control the ceiling light in the room, which it does.

Back to the other side.
On the original switch, it is wired with the RED wire on the black screw and the BLACK wire is connected below it. (see picture)
On the other side of the switch is the BROWN wire which is connected to the only screw on that side (single screw side)

My question is this: Is this wired correctly?
I thought the BLACK wire should be connected to the black screw, not the RED wire connected to the black screw. OR is this ok ?

<img src="https://i.imgur.com/SLuluh2.jpg" width="2976" height="3968"/>
 
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Old 03-23-18, 07:53 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

A little vague..... we need to clarify.

In the picture is a 3 way switch. Red is common, black and brown are travelers. Since you have a brown wire there.... that tells us you have a conduit system. With a conduit system.... many different colors can be used for switching. You won't make any changes to this switch.

Can you post a picture of the other switch wiring or just the wiring splices pulled out of the box. Don't open any splices yet. If you do.... document what you've done.

The thing I'm a little unclear on is if the wiring is there for a 2nd three way switch... why wasn't it installed previously ?
 
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Old 03-23-18, 09:11 PM
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PJmax thanks for reply.
When my wife and I bought the house, there never was a switch on the opposite wall, only a cover plate.
plate.

Here's a picture of the wires that are coming out of the box that does not have a light switch. The red & black wires are in a red twist cap together.
The brown wire has its own twist cap on.



Here's what IS connected to a 3 way light switch on the opposite wall.


Hope this helps.
 

Last edited by Janders286; 03-23-18 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 03-23-18, 10:31 PM
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Not conduit. Brown wire is actually white from what I see. There should be a black also.
 
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Old 03-23-18, 10:42 PM
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The black is there Ray. That is some old BX cable. The brown is old tired white wire.

At the covered box..... the red is the common and the black and white are travelers.
The connections are identical at both ends. Both of those switches are spliced together.... probably at the light.
 
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Old 03-24-18, 06:36 AM
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I appreciate the help.
So if I hook up a second 3 way switch, do I connect it in the same order as the preexisting 3 way switch?
Red wire on the black screw, black wire below it, and white wire connected on the opposite side?
 

Last edited by Janders286; 03-24-18 at 06:52 AM.
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Old 03-24-18, 09:27 AM
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Yes that should work, if you were to connect the Red and White together in that box then the existing 3 Way should turn the light on when it is flipped the other direction. Cap the black instead of the white and try it.
Geo
 
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Old 03-24-18, 12:36 PM
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Every switch manufacturer uses a different screw location.

With a three way switch.... the only important wire to connect is the common/black screw terminal. The other two wires can go on either side.
 
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Old 03-25-18, 08:07 PM
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Thank you for the help with this, it was a learning experience.
I ended up getting the switches working properly and what I found out was on the pre-existing 3 way switch, it was wired incorrectly.
After reading, PJ, your last post, that got me thinking of pulling everything apart, starting from scratch, and testing all the wires individually.
What I found out was the RED wire was not the common wire and was connected to the wrong screw.
The BLACK wire ended up being the common wire and the RED and WHITE were the travelers.Once I flipped the RED and Black wire, then copied that configuration on the new 3 way switch, both switches worked the way should.

Again thank you everyone for your help!
 
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Old 03-25-18, 08:09 PM
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Ahhhh......success.

Someone before you was confused there.
 
 

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