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Old 12-10-2007, 09:44 PM   #1
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3 way switch help


hi. i just bought a house and im trying to figure out why one of the switches isnt working properly. it is a switch that connects to a whole house fan. the fan is on the second floor as is one of the switches. the other switch is on the main floor. the main floor switch must be on in order for the second floor switch to work. the second floor switch then can turn on the whole house fan. if the main floor switch is off, the second floor switch will not operate the whole house fan. anyone have any idea why this appears to be wired incorrectly? i would like to use it as it was designed...as a 3 way switch...whats the problem with the wiring? thank you in advance for all the replies.

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Old 12-10-2007, 10:08 PM   #2
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3 way switch help


turn breaker off. go to the main floor switch swap the 2 black wires. should solve your problem.if not make sure the black wire from the cable without a red wire is on the dark color screw.

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Old 12-11-2007, 09:45 AM   #3
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3 way switch help


swithc the black wire on witch outlet...the one thats acting as on/off for the other switch or the one that is acting as on/off for the device?

thansk again for the reply
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Old 12-11-2007, 09:52 AM   #4
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3 way switch help


the "main" floor switch the one that has to be on regardless of the 2nd switch.
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Old 12-11-2007, 10:41 AM   #5
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3 way switch help


It is possible that your main floor switch is a master switch as opposed to a 3 way switch.

A 3 way switch setup needs a 3 wire cable (red/white/black) going between the two switches. If you do not have that, you cannot convert to a 3 way setup.

Also check for loose connections. Wires "backstabbed" into switches or receptacles and not clamped internally (preventing among other things, rotation) using exposed screws should be gently undone and reconnected using the screws.

Have you taken apart both switch boxes and looked inside and can describe how the wires were originally connected and which wires are grouped (from respective cables)?

Last edited by AllanJ; 12-11-2007 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 12-11-2007, 05:42 PM   #6
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3 way switch help


You need to tell us how the switches are wired. We can't see what have from here and there is no way to tell what is wrong without looking at what is there.
Don't tell us the wire on the upper right, bottom left etc. That means nothing. Identify the COMMON terminal. It will be the black one or marked COMMON on the switch.
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Old 12-13-2007, 10:47 AM   #7
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3 way switch help


sorry for the delay. i tried swapping hte black wire on the main floor with no succes and swapping the black wires on the upstairs one with no success. the layout of hte two is this... main floor has a red wire, black wire, white wire. second floor has 2 black wires and 1 white wire. sorry for the lack of technical detail..im a newb. any help would be appreciated. btw, when i swapped the main floor black wire nothing at all worked.
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Old 12-13-2007, 02:50 PM   #8
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main floor has a red wire, black wire, white wire. second floor has 2 black wires and 1 white wire.


i am assuming these are the ones on the switches what else is in the boxes not attached to the switches and how r they connected? is there a red wire in second floor swith box? it will help if you identify wires by color & whether they are in a 2 or 3 conductor cable. as allenj suggested this may not be a 3 way setup but it would be unusuall for the master switch and controller/timer to be on seperate floors.
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Old 12-13-2007, 02:54 PM   #9
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I agree with you that it is unusual. i will have to take some pictures and post them. i will also note which wires are cabled together. Thanks for the reply again. ill post tomorrow.

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