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Old 04-10-2011, 06:11 PM   #1
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3 way switch help


I tried to replace the 3-way switches in my stairway. Nothing new except the switches. But, the wiring in the house is pretty old--not color coded--& I didn't pay enough attention to which wires went where. Now I can't get it to work, with the new switches or the old ones.

From my research, I think my biggest problem is that there are only 2 wires in one of the boxes, 3 wires in the other.

How is it that this worked before, but now it doesn't?
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Old 04-10-2011, 06:26 PM   #2
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3 way switch help


It could not have worked before with only two wires in one of the boxes unless this is a relay system and not standard three way switches. Tell us about the switches you removed.
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Old 04-11-2011, 04:50 PM   #3
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3 way switch help


I figured it out, at least for now. The 3rd wire was green, which I assumed was the ground but I guess not. From what I've read here, using the ground wire for the 3-way isn't a good idea. The house is 60 years old, needs a wiring overhaul anyway...so that will be taken care of soon.
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Old 04-11-2011, 06:36 PM   #4
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3 way switch help


Green is a ground wire. Green wire can only be used for ground. Is this house wired with conduit? House wiring cables don't have green ground wires in them. They are bare. Extension cords have green wires.
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:48 PM   #5
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3 way switch help


yes, this area has conduit. The wires are old--not knob & tube old, the stuff that came after that. The green wire is only in one of the boxes--the other box has 3 wires that all look the same.
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:54 PM   #6
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3 way switch help


Use the green wire to pull in a new green and white wire.
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