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Old 04-20-2013, 11:11 AM   #1
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3-way dillemma


I've got a PITA three-way problem.

The 3-ways on the right are working for the light on the bottom.

The light on the top is controlled by the 3-way on top, but not the 3-way on bottom.

The top light has only a RED and WHITE (why no BLACK?)

The two BLACKS in the first two cables in the bottom picture are unconnected; don't know where they go.

I can't figure out how to make this work, so I come to my friends for help.

Can you approximate the connections on this?
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:19 AM   #2
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3-way dillemma


If you know how to wire a three way switch, than just identify all the existing wires, and make the splices up accordingly with what you have to work with. If you are looking for a specific operation in which the existing wiring will not allow you, than you have to re-wire.

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Old 04-20-2013, 11:21 AM   #3
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3-way dillemma


I have not seen a cable without a black. Was it cut off? Did this ever work properly?
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Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:21 AM   #4
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3-way dillemma




Redraw your graphic to exactly what you have....
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:23 AM   #5
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3-way dillemma


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Redraw your graphic to exactly what you have....
WHAT?? DO you know how long that will take me??? Off I go to redraw.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:24 AM   #6
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3-way dillemma


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I have not seen a cable without a black. Was it cut off? Did this ever work properly?
Nor have I.

It is the way I found it.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:27 AM   #7
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3-way dillemma


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WHAT?? DO you know how long that will take me??? Off I go to redraw.
Just draw it on paper and take a picture of it with a digital camera... thats all I ever do...
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:33 AM   #8
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3-way dillemma


Wait a min, stick, what do you mean as to "what I actually have"? The above IS what I have. Not sure what you mean.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:35 AM   #9
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3-way dillemma


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Wait a min, stick, what do you mean as to "what I actually have"? The above IS what I have. Not sure what you mean.
I'm having a hard time following which wires go where in your diagram, draw them from box to box and how they are spliced through...


Here is an example..

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Old 04-20-2013, 11:39 AM   #10
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3-way dillemma


the top box is a 2-gang, the bottom is, as well. I don't know how they connect together, and I know only that the wires on the commons are hot.

My problem is with the set of 3-ways on the left.

ALSO-- the top light having no BLACK wire confuses me.

As I recall, in the top box, the switch on the left was a SP with a jumper to the common on the 3-way on the top right.

Now you're totally confused
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:39 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by sirsparksalot View Post
the top box is a 2-gang, the bottom is, as well. I don't know how they connect together, and I know only that the wires on the commons are hot.

My problem is with the set of 3-ways on the left.

ALSO-- the top light having no BLACK wire confuses me.

As I recall, in the top box, the switch on the left was a SP with a jumper to the common on the 3-way on the top right.

Now you're totally confused
This is WHY you must draw it out... If you don't know, how the heck would we know?


At least, identify what you actually have run between boxes, then we can draw you up some diagrams with options for you. But without knowing what you actually have to work with, we can't really tell you much.

Last edited by stickboy1375; 04-20-2013 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:57 AM   #12
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3-way dillemma


The four things I know about 3-way switching are:

  • White from the source goes directly to the load.
  • Black from the source goes to the common terminal of one of the 3 way switches.
  • Black of the load goes to the common terminal of the other 3 way switch.
  • The travelers get hooked to the remaining terminals.
But I think whoever wired this done it wrong, cause originally, there was a SP switch w/ a jumper from the common of one of the 3-ways.


I'm trying to figure out why the bottom 3-way doesn't control the top light. I've tried putting the RED in that box together with a known hot, but it didn't light.


Oh well, I'll be back later to let you know how it goes. Guess I need to get an extension cord to feed the light.


Thanks Stickboy, and Jim.
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Old 04-20-2013, 12:03 PM   #13
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3-way dillemma


with a simple continuity tester you can identify each cable in each box and once that is done, you will know what your options are...
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Old 04-20-2013, 07:47 PM   #14
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3-way dillemma


Well, one of the "3-ways" wasn't serving what I thought it was - it served a switched outlet in the Dining Room.

Sure looked like it should control the kitchen lights to me.
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Old 04-20-2013, 07:48 PM   #15
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Thanks for the indulgence.

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