Two light-switches, one light

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  #1  
Old 01-17-20, 03:06 PM
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Lightbulb Two light-switches, one light

Hi, I'm new to these parts, but today I need some advice and hence:

I live in a home built around 1970 in California, we purchased it about 10 years ago and haven't done major renovations. The issue at hand is that our hallway has two light switches at both ends of the hallway, and it takes both switches being in the ON position for there to be light.

My idea for a quick fix is that I replace one light switch with just a cover plate and splice the necessary wires together. (I've only just heard about the light switch tamper-cover, but it's too late for that now).

There are 3 wires behind the backing plate, with one leading up to the light bulb. Do I need to splice all 3 together? I do have a bag of wire connectors.
 
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Old 01-17-20, 04:04 PM
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You just need to fix the wire connections at the switches. Then the light switches will work properly.
Do you have any way to measure voltage?
Tell us about all the wires,except ground, in the switch boxes and we should be able to assist you.
 
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Old 01-17-20, 04:20 PM
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A light bulb requires at least 2 wires to operate, a hot and a neutral. You state 1 wire going from a switch box to the light. There has to be another wire going to the light from somewhere. Are you confusing a wire and cable (multiple wires)? Usually a hall light has 3 way switches at either end such that either switch can turn the hall light om or off. Is there a 3 wire cable between the 2 switches?
 
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Old 01-18-20, 04:08 PM
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Thanks, guys. So there was in fact another wire. I took a picture and this is what the setup looks like up to this point.

 
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Old 01-18-20, 06:10 PM
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The black wire that comes from the cable with the black and white goes on the COMMON(black) screw.
The other black and red go on the other two screws.
 
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Old 01-18-20, 06:40 PM
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And to build on joed's reply...... we can see the travelers are red and black. If you look into the box you will see the red and black travelers going into a three wire cable. The white wire is the neutral.

At the other switch..... the travelers should also be red and black and will come from the same three wire cable. So at the other switch....the red and black from the same cable go to the traveler screws and the remaining wire will go to the black/dark common screw.
 
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Old 01-18-20, 08:53 PM
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I'm headed off to Home Depot to pick up a light switch. Here's the other switch in the wall, let me know if there is an issue with how this is wired together.

Btw, behind the switch's wires, all the way in the back, there's another wire that has a wire-nut (red). It's a little hard to see in the picture.

There's a total of three wires connected to the switch.
 
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Old 01-18-20, 09:28 PM
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The other switch is a single pole switch with one of the travellers wires on the ground screw. Pick up a proper three way switch and your setup will likely work properly. Lucky you have a plastic box or the breaker would have been tripping when the switch was flipped. Also dangerous as the screws on the face plate would have been live in certain switch configurations.
Same setup as the other switch. The black from the 2 wire cable goes on the COMMON screw.

On closer look the switch looks blown apart. Likely because of the wire on the ground screw.
 
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Old 01-19-20, 01:16 AM
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My goal is to have one light switch turn on both hallway lights and no other switch. I suppose that would mean wiring the wires correctly for the removed light switch and keeping the single pole light switch. Could you explain how that should be done?
 
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Old 01-19-20, 05:37 AM
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Although it is your choice but why would you not want the two switches to work as they should. Having only one light switch controlling the hallway light means that in one direction you will be walking in the dark to turn on the light. The goal would normally be to be able to control the light/s from either switch to turn them on or off as needed in the dark without stumbling in the dark; this would be a convenience for most home owners.
 
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Old 01-19-20, 07:19 AM
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Caution, hopefullyot too late.n -- Label the wires before unhooking them, at least with enough detail to put them back the way they were.
 
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Old 01-19-20, 07:42 AM
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The way the cabling is run the box will have to remain if you take a switch out.
Unless you have some specific reason that one switch has to be gone I would just install the proper three way switch at the second location and it will function properly from both switches.
 
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Old 01-19-20, 06:58 PM
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@AFJES, it's just not a convenience for our home, but I see how it would be for others.
@AllanJ, will do. Thanks for the advice. I intend on starting only when I feel confident I can get rid of one switch without killing anybody.

@joed when you say that the box will have to remain, are you referring to the hole in the wall and the associated cover? Is that the "box"?
 
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Old 01-19-20, 07:22 PM
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The wiring will need to remain. That means you can remove a switch but the box and wiring must remain there. You would need to put an electrical blank plate over the box.

To eliminate one switch. Disconnect the red wire at both ends and cap off all by itself.
Where you want to lose the switch..... combine the two black wires and wire nut off.
That will leave you with two black wires to go on a single pole switch.
 
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Old 02-01-20, 06:45 PM
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OK. I think I understand what I was missing.

So I haven't touched anything yet. But something just occurred to me when I was looking at diagrams of 3-way switches. I thought power only went through when both switches were up. Meaning I would sometimes have to walk to the other switch. NOW I GET IT. You can use EITHER switch, and only one of them, to complete the circuit and turn the lights on or off. Genius. (Not me.)

Now that makes my plan the following: Correctly setup the 3-way lighting. I purchased two 3-way switches and two cover plates just now from Home Depot. I know the wiring on the single-pole switch was done incorrectly (thanks to you guys).

I'm planning to set this up tomorrow, but if you have any advice, I would appreciate it. I attached pictures of the single-pole switch.

 
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Old 02-01-20, 06:54 PM
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For the switch in the picture.
That red wire on the green ground screw is wrong.
On the new three way switch
The black wire from the bundle of blacks goes the black(COMMON) screw of the three way switch.
The black and red from the same cable go to the other two screws of the three way switch.
The bare ground wire goes to the green screw.
 
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Old 02-11-20, 03:23 PM
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Thanks, everyone, for the help. I have a friend in the business, and he came over and helped with the project. (He basically did everything). He said all of the same things you guys did. And since he knew what he was doing, it was a relief letting him show me the ropes.

I appreciate all of your guys' input and advice. I have a working 3-way lighting setup that is not going to electrocute anyone anymore.

Cheers
 
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Old 02-11-20, 07:20 PM
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Good job. Thanks for letting us know how you made out.
 
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