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Old 05-26-2012, 05:59 PM   #1
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3 way light switch installation problem


Hello. I have installed a new dimmer switch to a preexisting dimmer switch, which was a 3 way connection. I had installed it exactly as the preexisting installation and everything worked fine; the dimmer dimmed and the switched switched on and off. HOWEVER, I was not able to fit the dimmer box into the gang box and decided to unwire, trim and reconnect. BUT, I have forgotten how it was originally connected. Trial and error has not worked for me either so far.

Inside the box there are two (2) power supplies from the panel, each on a separate breaker. Each power supply has Black, White and Bare wires. There is cable to the light, which also has Black, White, and Bare wires. There is also the switch line which has Black, White, Red and Bare wires.

I am trying to connect my Lutron Lumea dimmer which has Black, Red, Red/White and Green wires.

So far, I have assumed that the red wire from the switch is the common wire and per the Lutron instructions needs to connect to the black wire from the dimmer...and that's about as far as I can get.

The most success I have had so far is having the light turn on when the breaker was turned on, but neither the dimmer or the switch would turn the lights off. (there is a series of 4 recessed lights).

To help myself visualize all the connections I have listed the cables and wires they contain like this:

Power 1: Black, White, Bare
Power 2: Black, White, Bare
Light: Black, White, Bare
Switch: Black, White, Red, Bare
Dimmer: Black, Red, Red/White, Green

if you can help by suggestion (a) power 1: white, power 2: white, light: white (b) power 1: black, power 2: black, Light: black etc. etc.... I would be grateful

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Old 05-26-2012, 06:28 PM   #2
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3 way light switch installation problem


Do you have an electric tester---???

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Old 05-26-2012, 06:42 PM   #3
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3 way light switch installation problem


Please don't post the same question in more than one forum---

Did you find your electric tester yet?
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Old 05-26-2012, 08:08 PM   #4
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3 way light switch installation problem


sorry about the double posting.

i have a neon tester.
there are the power supply "cables" that run from the panel. each on their own breaker. when the corresponding breaker is on the wires are 'hot'

there is no power from the cable
running to the light fixture and there is no power running from the other switch.
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Old 05-26-2012, 08:27 PM   #5
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3 way light switch installation problem


Take out the other switch, determine which wire is on the 'common'(usually darker color than the 'traveler' screws) screw and which are on the 'traveler' screws.


The Common wire from the other switch goes to the black that feeds the light.

the two traveler wires go to the red and red/white from the dimmer

The black from the dimmer goes to one of the black 'power feeds'

the white from the lights goes to the white in the cable with the black power feeds you used earlier
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Old 05-26-2012, 09:06 PM   #6
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3 way light switch installation problem


Quote:
Originally Posted by Techy View Post
Take out the other switch, determine which wire is on the 'common'(usually darker color than the 'traveler' screws) screw and which are on the 'traveler' screws.


The Common wire from the other switch goes to the black that feeds the light.

the two traveler wires go to the red and red/white from the dimmer

The black from the dimmer goes to one of the black 'power feeds'

the white from the lights goes to the white in the cable with the black power feeds you used earlier
ok, this is what i tried:

power 1: white; power 2: white; light: white and switch: white

power 1: black and dimmer: black

Light: black and switch: red (common)

power 2: black and dimmer: red

switch: black and dimmer: red/white

power 1: bare; power 2: bare; light: bare; switch: bare and dimmer: green

RESULT: lights did not turn on when breaker was in on position and dimmer and switch were in opposing positions.

there is something missing


CORRECTION - ORIGINALLY MISREAD INSTRUCTIONS

i did incorrectly read the initial instructions. the following is the configuration Techy implied:

Switch: Red (common) and Light: black
Power 1: white, Power 2: white, Light: white
Switch: white and Dimmer: red
Switch: black and Dimmer: red/white
Power 1: black, Power 2: black, Dimmer: black

RESULT - no luck, the lights still do not turn on.
I just want to mention that the dimmer manufacturer's instructions do state to connect the common wire to the black wire on the dimmer.

Thanks,
I will try again

Last edited by Pharand; 05-26-2012 at 09:35 PM. Reason: 2nd attempt...
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Old 05-26-2012, 09:38 PM   #7
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3 way light switch installation problem


White from 'switch' is not a neutral, it is a traveler. You only need one of the two 'power cables' if on seperate sides of the service you may have damaged the dimmer connecting both to the dimmer, have you ever tripped either breaker in your trial and error?


Here is a picture if there are any non ground wires not shown here let me know

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Old 05-26-2012, 10:12 PM   #8
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3 way light switch installation problem


Quote:
Originally Posted by Techy View Post
White from 'switch' is not a neutral, it is a traveler. You only need one of the two 'power cables' if on seperate sides of the service you may have damaged the dimmer connecting both to the dimmer, have you ever tripped either breaker in your trial and error?


Here is a picture if there are any non ground wires not shown here let me know



Techy, thanks a bunch. this whole time I was wondering why there were two power supply cables and each on their own breaker too boot.

during one of the trials, one of the breakers did "break" and turn off.

I actually have 2 dimmers going to a 2 gang box, so I did test your configuration with the other dimmer switch (which I know works, because the other set of lights was working) and VOILA! power to the lights.

So indeed I need to cap off the 2nd power supply. I will also have to call the electrician I paid $3,000 to install a new panel just last year and ask him why there is a power supply in the wall to a breaker with no other purpose. Seems like a waste of space to me...

But, thanks again - a $25.00 lesson learned

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