Three way & single pole switch


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Old 02-06-21, 03:20 PM
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Three way & single pole switch

Doing some home remodeling. I decided to replace a couple switches for a hallway light after putting up new drywall.
The switched I took out were (1) three way and (1) single pole. That is what I replaced them with.


However, now they are not operating properly. If I turn the single pole switch to off, then the 3 way switch no longer turns the light on either. I kept the wiring the same, no new wires. Another fact...the new single pole switch is one of those illuminated ones. (Backlit around the switch. If I turn the single pole switch to off with the light fixture on it turns the light off and the backlight turns on. If I then flip the 3 way switch, the light bulb does not turn on, but the backlight lights up to about 1/2 power.
I'm lost. It worked before just fine. Now it doesn't work, but I have not added or removed any wiring. I simply replaced the switches.




The wire nut is there from me. ( I suppose I did add a little wire, but only to extend that white wire a little, it was cut off short by the drywaller when he routed the box opening, so I added a little).





 

Last edited by PJmax; 02-06-21 at 03:51 PM. Reason: resized pics
  #2  
Old 02-06-21, 03:36 PM
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There is only two wires in the single pole. You can't get that wrong. Did you make any changes at the fixture?
It sounds like you only replaced the switches. Is that true or did you do any other changes?
I cannot see anything in those two switches that can cause the issue you describe.
 
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Old 02-06-21, 03:41 PM
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I made no changes in the fixture, I have not touched it.

I only swapped the switches for new ones in this hallway.

I did replace a couple outlets that were loose in the dining room, as well, but I can't see how that would cause this.

Even accounting for my gremlins, which are mean, savage little &*#$@#s.
I cannot see anything in those two switches that can cause the issue you describe.
Neither can I! I called a couple of friends of mine who are more knowledgeable then I about wiring and electrical, and they couldn't identify (over the phone) anything that I had done wrong, either.
A 3 way switch, and a single pole switch, can work like this normally, correct? As in they can both operate the same fixture? Because that's what the original switches did; they both operated the same, single light fixture, one at each end of the hallway.
 
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Old 02-06-21, 03:52 PM
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Because that's what the original switches did; they both operated the same, single light fixture, one at each end of the hallway.
The two switches IN these pictures operated the same light ?
 
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Old 02-06-21, 04:33 PM
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Not these exact switches, these are the new ones. Otherwise, yes, they both operated the same overhead light fixture.
 
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Old 02-06-21, 04:41 PM
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If they both operate the same fixture then you need two three-way switches. You also appear to be missing some wires.
 
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Old 02-06-21, 04:44 PM
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Then how was it working before? That's what I dont understand. The switches I replaced were identical to the new ones in the pictures. With the same wiring.
 
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Old 02-06-21, 05:35 PM
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Post pictures of the switches you removed. The only way it could have been working is if the ground wire was used as a hot.
 
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Old 02-06-21, 06:12 PM
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I could see them both working if they were wired in parallel, but then you could only turn them on and off at the same switch location. You couldn't turn the light on at one switch and off at the other.
 
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Old 02-06-21, 07:27 PM
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They have been discarded in the same bag that dinner scraps and the days trash were in. I'm not going to try and find them. My friends mentioned the same thing, they wanted to see the old switches.
I'm not sure how I'm even going to run a 3 way wire over there; I'm hoping I don't have to get into the ceiling to do it.

That's the only thing I can think to do and have it correct, and safe, is run a 3 way circuit from fixture to both the switches, instead of just one. I was hoping there was some way they did it that I'm unfamiliar with, because it just confounds the hell out of me. It's been working since we moved in here a decade ago flawlessly; I decide to put new switches in because I had to pull them to install drywall (at least to do it safely) and now they don't work.
 
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Old 02-07-21, 05:46 AM
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Did you have a lighted switch at that location before?

Does one switch box only contain a 2 wire cable (not counting the ground)
Does the other switch box only contain a 3 wire cable (not counting the ground)

Please post a picture of the box where the fixture is installed so we can see the wires there.

BTW - the red wire is wrapped around the screw incorrectly. You should always wrap the wire clockwise around the screw.
 
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Old 02-07-21, 06:16 AM
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Did you have a lighted switch at that location before?
No.

Does one switch box only contain a 2 wire cable (not counting the ground)
Does the other switch box only contain a 3 wire cable (not counting the ground)
Yes, and Yes.

Pictures of the fixture:


There's (2) 14/2 wires in the fixture box. I know the ground is not done correctly, that was like that when I took the old light fixture off to see the wires. That was not me. The Red you see is a wire nut, not a wire.
 
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Old 02-07-21, 11:02 AM
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You got me completely stumped.
One switch has a three wire cable. Where is the other end of it? It should be in the other switch box or the light box.
The second switch has to have a three wire cable to make it work properly with the other switch. It doesn't. why?

Did this setup ever work properly?
Do you still have the old switches? Post a picture of them if you do.
 
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Old 02-07-21, 11:24 AM
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Since I don't see a red wire anywhere I suspect there is a junction box someplace else. Perhaps in the attic.

The only way I can see this working is what I posted in post #9.
 
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Old 02-07-21, 12:02 PM
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Did this setup ever work properly?
Yes. Until yesterday, when I swapped out the switches for new ones. I took the old switches out and turned the breaker off for my drywaller, put new switches on following the old wiring pattern. Now they don't work.

Since I don't see a red wire anywhere I suspect there is a junction box someplace else. Perhaps in the attic.
That is my thought as well. Being somewhat older and broken (I have had both hips replaced and an ankle and knee reconstruction because of an auto accident) I was hoping I didn't have to get my dumb ass in the attic. It looks like those hopes have been dashed.

Especially considering the 3 way wire coming into the (1) 3 way switch that is installed currently /does not/ match any of the other existing wiring in either the fixture or the other switch, it has to come from somewhere else. I'm talking about the outer shielding, the "Nomex" :the 3 way outer shielding isn't Nomex, it looks more like that older fabric shielding. That leads me to believe it's fed from a separate junction box somewhere from above. I'm kind of scared of what I'm going to find up there, honestly.
 
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Old 02-07-21, 12:40 PM
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It's called "Romex" just so you know.

Since nothing was changed in the attic before I would recommend messing with the wires on the three-way switch. While it can't operate as a normal three-way perhaps you can get it back to how it was before which was working for you before heading to the attic.
 
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Old 02-07-21, 12:43 PM
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Romex. Right. Nomex is the fireproof stuff.
 
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Old 02-07-21, 12:50 PM
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What is that red right there ?
 
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Old 02-07-21, 01:00 PM
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That is a wire nut. I will see if I can get a better picture of that fixture box soon.
 
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Old 02-12-21, 04:07 PM
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So, after crawling into the attic and seeing the nightmare that was left me in a junction box, I ended up pulling new wire for the bathroom adjacent to the hallway I was working on, the hallway, and the dining room. Added an additional light in the hallway, 2 self contained flush mount LED lamps that look nice. (2) 3 way switches, wired properly (yes, I made sure the wires were curled around the terminal screws clock wise.)

They had power split on (2) 2 way wires into that light fixture box, plus one leg of power into the 3 way switch. I thought I was going crazy when I was working with my meter and checking for continuity and voltage. The white wire in the 3 way switch box I couldn't find in anywhere I could see...it did not come out in the light fixture, or at the other switch (obviously). So the only conclusion is it was up in the ceiling somewhere, which it was. That fire trap is no longer there, and it kind of makes me shudder to think that it's been that way since I bought the house in 2008.

 
 

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