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Old 06-19-2013, 11:58 PM   #1
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3-way switch with 2 live wires


Guys - I replaced a 3-way switch and I can't get it working right, it's driving me nuts.

I've replaced both sides of the switch, and have poured over wiring diagrams but can't seem to make it work right. Basically, both switches work, but, if you turn the lights on from one switch, you can't turn it off from the other - and vice-versa.

I took all the wires out of both switches to start again - and checked them all - both 'black' wires on both switches read as live. The other two cables in both instances are not. I find this puzzling - shouldn't only one wire be live at one of the switches?

Any help out there?

thanks,
MAtt

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Old 06-20-2013, 12:24 AM   #2
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3-way switch with 2 live wires


Any chance you have tube et knob in your place ?

The only few funky connections what I know it called Carter three way they are oddball connection.

How did you test for both black conductors ?

I will give you a tip in little bit.

Merci,
Marc

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Old 06-20-2013, 12:38 AM   #3
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3-way switch with 2 live wires


not sure what you mean by a tube et knob?

For the testing, i took all the wires out of both 3-way switches, then I put a voltage tester on each cable, with the other end on the neutral. On the black wire for both switches i got a 110v light, the rest nothing.

-MAtt
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Old 06-20-2013, 01:14 AM   #4
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3-way switch with 2 live wires


Does this help?

3-way switch with 2 live wires-img_20130620_021335.jpg
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Old 06-20-2013, 01:20 AM   #5
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3-way switch with 2 live wires


this is the way i have it hooked up right now, and i get each switch working on either own, but once one switch turns the lights on the other can't turn the lights off. I think the difference in the diagram is my switch on the right also has its own power on it.
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Old 06-20-2013, 01:30 AM   #6
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3-way switch with 2 live wires


So you have 5 wires in each switch vox?
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Old 06-20-2013, 01:33 AM   #7
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3-way switch with 2 live wires


no there's 3 in each, but both blacks are hot..
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Old 06-20-2013, 02:19 AM   #8
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3-way switch with 2 live wires


Matt.,

Is some way you can post the photo what it look like ?

The reason why I say knob et tube mean like very old style conductors ( wires ) due the old K&T do have very instering conferation of three way operation.

If not then you have little more modern than that.

I know you say both black are alive with test light to the netural but is other colour or how many more pairs cable are in the switch box.

I am pretty sure but not 100% yet but ya got either californine three way or Carter three way ( either one is illegal per modern codes )

What about the luminaire itself how many conductors you have in that luminaire junction box?

I know one style of connection is legit but very tricky if not heeded but let me post it so you may get some idea.



There are couple verison of this being used.

But the best answer is take a photo we will go from there.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:41 AM   #9
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3-way switch with 2 live wires


Quote:
Originally Posted by mmhendrie View Post
this is the way i have it hooked up right now
That is the problem, you do not know how you have it hooked up. If you had it hooked up as the diagram show it would work properly. Only one common terminal of one of the 3-ways should have the constant hot attached to it. The common terminal of the other 3-way gets attached to it the supply to the device(light in your case).


Look at one of the four different ways a 3-way switch configuration could be wired. The difference in them are where the power comes into and then how the travelers are routed.

diagram 1 is power into a switch where switches are between the load
diagram 2 is power into a switch and the 2nd switch is before the load
diagram 3 is power into the load where the switches are after the load
diagram 4 is power into the load where the switches are between the load

In diagram #4 pay no attention to the receptacle. It is not switched controlled it is alway HOT. If it confuses you just eliminate its black and white wires and the switches would still properly control the light.

no ground wires are shown for ease of drawing
Attached Thumbnails
3-way switch with 2 live wires-1-sw-lo-sw.jpg   3-way switch with 2 live wires-2-switch-switch-load.jpg   3-way switch with 2 live wires-3-lo-sw-sw.jpg   3-way switch with 2 live wires-4-load-sw-sw.jpg  

Last edited by hammerlane; 06-20-2013 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:27 AM   #10
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3-way switch with 2 live wires


I think it's great work...
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:50 AM   #11
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3-way switch with 2 live wires


Quote:
Originally Posted by mmhendrie View Post
Guys - I replaced a 3-way switch and I can't get it working right, it's driving me nuts.

Basically, both switches work, but, if you turn the lights on from one switch, you can't turn it off from the other - and vice-versa.


thanks,
MAtt
This happens when one of the travellers and the common are swapped in one switch. In the switch that is not being fed from the panel, put the wire that is on the common on to one of the traveler screws and put the traveler wire on to the common screw.
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Old 06-23-2013, 02:05 PM   #12
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3-way switch with 2 live wires


ok, i finally have some pics to share - it was a bit tricky as i'm doing it in the dark. So, in the box you will see a black, blue and red wire, with some neutrals tied up behind them. It is exactly the same at the other box - in BOTH instances, when i disconnect all cables, the black in BOTH boxes is live. I also took pictures of the old switch i'm replacing.
3-way switch with 2 live wires-dsc05866.jpg
3-way switch with 2 live wires-dsc05868.jpg
3-way switch with 2 live wires-dsc05873.jpg
3-way switch with 2 live wires-dsc05874.jpg

Still the best i can get is both switches operating, but once you turn on from one, you can't turn off from the other....
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Old 06-23-2013, 03:05 PM   #13
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3-way switch with 2 live wires


What are you using to test for voltage? A non-contact tester can give false positive results.

Have you also tried new switches?
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Old 06-23-2013, 08:38 PM   #14
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3-way switch with 2 live wires


I betcha that the red et bleu is your traveller connection but before I can confirm this question 100% look at the other three way switch and look the connection ( SVP do not unhook anything ) and look for dark coloured screw or marking say " Common " ou " C " one of three methold of marking.

if that is the same colour as the other switch box location then if you do use the legit voltmeter then next step is take the light bulbs out ( trust me on this one ) and test it again then one of your lead is common or hot not two hot conductors at all.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:58 PM   #15
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3-way switch with 2 live wires


ok - so i removed all of the bulbs for the lights these switches control, and i tested again. Now neither of the two black lines show as hot. I tested again, and checked the other wires - to confirm, with all my breakers ON, with the bulbs removed, none of the cables read as hot.

What does this mean?

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