How to wire smart 3 way switch with only one traveler

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Old 12-08-19, 03:49 PM
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How to wire smart 3 way switch with only one traveler

Hello, I have two exterior lights that are controlled by 2 different light switches. I bought a 3 way and a single pole light switch. I accidentally installed the smart single pole switch instead of the 3 way. After realizing it about 30 minutes later I swapped it for the correct smart 3-way switch.

To original dumb switch had 4 wires running into it. A ground(copper), neutral(white), red(traveler ?), and a common(black) - at least I think they are what I think they are based on the colors.

The smart single-pole smart switch has two black lines(labeled live), a neutral, and a ground. I connected both red/black coming out of the wall into the 2 blacks on the smart switch and then the neutral and ground accordingly. As expected, my exterior lights didn't power on.

Fast forward to when I realized I had installed the wrong switch. I proceed to install the correct switch - 3-way smart switch. The smart 3-way has a ground, neutral, common/live/black screw, and two traveler screws.

I installed the black wire out of the wall to the black screw on the switch, the neutral to the white, ground to ground and the red(traveler ?) to one of the traveler screws leaving an empty traveler screw on the switch.

The results: only one of my exterior lights turns on and its dimmed. You can bare tell it's on even at night. It looks like a dimmed night light rather than a 60w bulb.

My question/s:
-Did I cause permanent damage when I accidentally connected the single pole light switch on a 3-way setup?
-Am I missing a wire somewhere or have a bad config that is causing my end result?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

Rob
 

Last edited by tobe1424; 12-08-19 at 06:01 PM. Reason: corrected terminology - changed cable to wires
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Old 12-08-19, 04:45 PM
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4 cables running into it. A ground(copper), neutral(white), red(traveler ?), and a common(black) - at least I think they are what I think they are based on the colors.
That is not four cables..... that is four wires.
A cable has multiple wires in it. Usually a black, white and ground. Sometimes a red too.

In order to help you we need to know what colors you had at both switches and what color was on the dark/common screw terminal at each switch.
 
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Old 12-08-19, 04:56 PM
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Not counting grounds.
If your 3 way switch only had one cable with three wires then you did not have a neutral. The white was being used as a hot wire. Not all whites are neutrals.
 
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Old 12-08-19, 08:44 PM
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Thank you all for your input and prompt replies. The smart tplink/kasa switches require a neutral wire so if the white is hot am I stuck? Perhaps the 4th cable drop carries the neutral? Please see my observation below.

joed - yes the 3-way switch I replaced only has 3 wires; red/white/black. The switch box has 3 switches in it. However, I am only trying to replace one of them - this one we are talking about here. I took a closer look inside the box and it looks like there are 4 cables/drops(I now know thanks to Pete the different between wires/cables) that carry only black and white cables with the exception of one cable that has a red wire which ties into the switch we are referencing.

pete - I would need to check the other 3-way switch and get back to you regarding its configuration.

As you can all probably gather I am a new homeowner and have very little knowledge about electricity. I very much appreciate your time and patience.

Thank you.

Rob
 
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Old 12-08-19, 09:45 PM
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None of the documents actually show how to install it. It might still be possible but I'm not going to watch their videos.
 
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Old 12-11-19, 11:37 AM
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I finally found sometime to inspect the other switch. The other switch has 2 black wires going into it, a red wire, and a ground connection.

Now I am confused. I do see white wires in the switch box. However, I do not see a white connected to this particular switch. Although, there is a white connected to the other(original) 3-way switch I was replacing.

Any thoughts?
 
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Old 12-11-19, 03:54 PM
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deleted replied to wrong post
 
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Old 12-12-19, 09:11 AM
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Are there any other details I should provide to help decipher my setup? Thank you.
 
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Old 12-12-19, 10:44 AM
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If you have any documentation (other than watching youtube videos) on how to install them it would be useful to see.
 
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