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Old 08-26-2011, 01:02 AM   #1
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3 way switch issues.


So I have 2 three way switches that run some exterior lights. The problem is that I can turn on the lights with once switch if the other is in a certain position. If the one is not then the lights don't work. Where do I start to trouble shoot this issue.

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Old 08-26-2011, 02:15 AM   #2
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3 way switch issues.


depends on how its wired.
find which switch is the hot side of circuit,the hot wire will go to the black screw on the switch .
the other 2 wires on the switch are travelers they can go on either of the other screws on switch.
go to other switch and find the 2 same wires you used for travelers on other switch,they go to the same set of screws on this switch.
the black wire going out to the lights is the common which goes to the black screw on this switch.
thats the simplist way i can explain it depending on how it was wired

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Old 08-26-2011, 04:32 AM   #3
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3 way switch issues.


Simplest? Remove the faceplates, pull out the switches and check that the connections are clean and tight (with the power off, of course).

Most likely to work? Swap a known good 3-way switch from elsewhere in the house to where the one is that needs to be in a certain position for the other to work (or buy a new one, they're cheap).

I wouldn't bother with anything more advanced until both of those had been accomplished with no change.
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Old 08-26-2011, 04:33 PM   #4
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3 way switch issues.


IF you can't figure it out, tell us all the connections in the two switch boxes and maybe we can help.
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:37 PM   #5
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3 way switch issues.


So I bought 2 new switches and opened up the wiring. It appeared one of the switches had the power in the wrong location. Whit was on the black screw. When I adjusted the connection still problem. So I swapped out the switch with a brand new one and the switches work. It was a combination of bad wiring and a faulty switch. Thanks for the help and advice.
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Old 08-27-2011, 11:03 AM   #6
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3 way switch issues.


Here's the rub: neutral is never switched. You're not done yet, even if it works perfectly.

Have you determined where power comes in from the line side? Is the light wired between the switches or before/after them? What color wires do you have at each switch box?

If power enters at one switch, passes through another switch, and arrives at the light, there's some serious problems with your wiring if you're switching a white wire.

If power enters at the light, or does not pass through both switches on the way to the light, then it's fine. Be sure to re-mark the white wire with black (electrical) tape to denote that it's not a neutral. It should be this way behind the light fixture as well.

Congratulations on the fix.
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Old 08-27-2011, 06:36 PM   #7
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3 way switch issues.


It depends if it was as switch loop. The white on the common could be the proper connection.
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Old 08-28-2011, 01:18 AM   #8
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3 way switch issues.


Wouldn't that only be the case in a 2-wire switch loop?
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Old 08-28-2011, 01:44 AM   #9
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3 way switch issues.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thadius856 View Post
Wouldn't that only be the case in a 2-wire switch loop?

No. Dead ended three way loop. White is the hot and black and red are travelers.
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Old 08-28-2011, 11:23 AM   #10
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3 way switch issues.


Think we misunderstood each other. I covered that case in my other post. He needs to remark that conductor as hot with black tape.

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