Wiring a three-way wall switch


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Old 08-11-21, 09:29 AM
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Question Wiring a three-way wall switch

Hello all- I recently replaced a three-way switch in my kitchen that controls all the ceiling fixtures in that room; I took careful notes on how the old switch was wired (and watched several YT vids), took pictures, and then made sure the one I bought had matching terminals (Leviton 15 Amp 120-Volt/277-Volt Decora LED Illuminated Rocker 3-Way AC Quiet Switch Residential Grade Grounding). I wired it up just as the old on was, but I should note that the green ground wire was attached to the box, not the old switch; I left the setup this way, unsure if I should wire up the switch instead. In any case, only one switch works at a time now, i.e., only the switch that turns on the lights will turn them off, but the other that used to work in any case only works now if it turned on the lights. I cannot figure out what would cause this, but the utility of having two wall switches, either of which could be use to control the lights is now gone. I would appreciate any help a qualified user of this forum could provide. Many thanks.
 
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Old 08-11-21, 09:50 AM
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ALL three way switches have a common terminal and two traveler terminals.
It makes absolutely no difference where the terminals are located on the switch.
What is important is the the common screw is always marked as common or is darker in color.
The other two screw terminals will be travelers and will be brass colored.

The common wire must end up on the common terminal.

If you've messed up the traveler wires..... follow the wires into the box. The two traveler wires will always go into the same jacket. The common may or may not. Do not let colors fool you. They mean nothing in a three way circuit.
 
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Old 08-11-21, 11:41 AM
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You got the wrong wire on one or both common terminals. The common terminal may not be in the same location on the new switch as the old switch, so if you swapped wires by position they will be wrong. Ground is irrelevant. It goes on the green screw and has no effect on operation.
Post the before pictures you took.
 
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Old 08-11-21, 06:09 PM
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Thanks for both replies. I won't be able to post pics until this weekend and will try to see what I did wrong when I pull the switch back out. Stay tuned.
 
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Old 08-12-21, 05:58 PM
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Exclamation Diagram and text

Hello all-
Attached is a PDF of a diagram and explanation of a 3-way switch hookup. Please let me know if you find this to be good info. I have yet to compare it with my setup; that will happen over the weekend, and I would like to use this as a guide, along with the info posted. Again, many thanks.
 
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3-Way diagram and text.pdf (1.02 MB, 40 views)
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Old 08-12-21, 06:30 PM
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There is some additional helpful info there,.
 
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Old 08-14-21, 10:28 AM
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Smile

Sorry, no pics to show. I exchanged the connections of the red wires on the switch and that did it. I'll likely never know why it made a difference, but now both switches control the lights equally. Thanks again for the help.

I love this site!
 
 

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