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Old 10-21-2007, 04:56 PM   #1
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3-way switch mess


Hi there, new to the forums and hoping you guys can help. I am trying to correct some wiring disasters in my garage. I counted at least 5 live stray wires. In removing all the junk and attempting to rewire the 3 way switch I've done something wrong.

I "thought" I followed this diagram well, http://www.the-home-improvement-web....ch-option3.htm but obviously I've made a mistake.

The light works only if "switch1" is on. If on, switch2 can turn the light off and on, but doe NOT if switch1 is off.

What the heck have I done wrong??

Thanks in advance,

R Davis

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Old 10-21-2007, 05:57 PM   #2
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3-way switch mess


switch 1 is in series with the power.. did you notice how one white wire gets striped with black electrical tape and then used as a HOT wire?

anyway, the picture you have is a good one. so, just take your time and double check your work.

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Old 10-21-2007, 06:09 PM   #3
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3-way switch mess


Are you certain THIS diagram is the one that pertains to your situation? You have the travelers crossed, that is to say on one switch you have a traveler on the common screw and either the switch leg or the hot on a traveler screw. DON'T get frustrated, and remember to turn off the power before you switch wires. You only are ONE wire off, so don't go nuts and switch around a bunch of wires. Keep us informed and let us know if you get it right!!
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Old 10-21-2007, 09:27 PM   #4
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3-way switch mess


Thanks for the quick info guys. I'll re-examine tomorrow. My gosh, understanding how the mess that preceeded me ever worked is amazing....accepting that cleaning it up, and not is frustrating. I'll report back soon.
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Old 10-22-2007, 12:03 PM   #5
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3-way switch mess


That is one of the most complicated three way diagrams I have ever seen. That is why I cannot stand to look at a physical wiring diagram. Just confuse the DIY'ers even more.

Throw it out.

Connecting a three way switch:

1) connect the power (hot) to the off colored terminal of either switch.
2) connect the light or lights to the other off colored terminal of the other switch.
3) Connect the two terminals of the switch (same color) to the other switch same terminals (same color). 2 wires from one switch to the other.
3) connect all the neutrals together and make sure one goes up to the light. There may be one up there already (neutral)
4) have a cold beer

Last edited by J. V.; 10-22-2007 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 10-22-2007, 02:44 PM   #6
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3-way switch mess


Sorry to differ JV,but I found those very diagrams to be a huge help in diagnosing a three way nightmare I had in my home just about a year ago.I'm just a DIYer and you i realize are a master sparky but i found that by taking my time,thinking clearly and realizing how my particular three way system worked i was able to correct the problem.(After tearing two small ceilings out)Again,I found those diagrams to the best on the web,and i looked at lots,believe me.
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Old 10-22-2007, 03:27 PM   #7
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3-way switch mess


Quote:
Originally Posted by white29 View Post
Sorry to differ JV,but I found those very diagrams to be a huge help in diagnosing a three way nightmare I had in my home just about a year ago.I'm just a DIYer and you i realize are a master sparky but i found that by taking my time,thinking clearly and realizing how my particular three way system worked i was able to correct the problem.(After tearing two small ceilings out)Again,I found those diagrams to the best on the web,and i looked at lots,believe me.

Realizing how your 3-way is wired is, indeed the key. Keep the faith, based on your post describing how the switches work RIGHT NOW, I'll reiterate- you are only one wire off.
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Old 10-22-2007, 05:25 PM   #8
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3-way switch mess


You have the wrong wire on the common screws of one or both of your switches. Don't attempt to identify the common screw by the position. It will be the screw that is a different colour(usually black).


Here is the wiring presented in a different manner.

http://www.selfhelpandmore.com/switc...waypwswthrufx/


Last edited by joed; 10-22-2007 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 10-22-2007, 08:40 PM   #9
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3-way switch mess


Thanks for the diagram Joed, I'll review ASAP...may not have an answer til wkd.

Thanks again!
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Old 10-23-2007, 04:46 PM   #10
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3-way switch mess


It is the same drawing you had. It is just easier to read without all the grounds cluttering it up.
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Old 10-23-2007, 05:01 PM   #11
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Hmm, I thought the omission meant I didn't need them

Thanks again.
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Old 10-28-2007, 12:51 PM   #12
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3-way switch mess


Okay, update:

It works! -when will I ever heed the lesson learned in "reading" instructions; not just admiring the pretty pictures

Based on the graphics, I took for granted the placement of the common screw. After taking both switches out and "READING", aligning properly; all is well!

Many Thanks to everyone!
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Old 10-28-2007, 01:25 PM   #13
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3-way switch mess


Rob-

you're the man...
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Old 12-28-2007, 03:46 PM   #14
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3-way switch mess


I'm coming back to this post because I have a question on the original diagram.... which actually makes good sense to me. I have 3 lights in a series, with a switch at either end. In this diagram, the neutral wire goes from switch one to the first light, but then white wire is taped off and used for power from switch two. Since I have more than one light, how do I wire this to keep a neutral back to lights two and three?
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Old 12-28-2007, 04:29 PM   #15
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3-way switch mess


I'm still curious as to the "correct" way to wire it; for the time being I ran a single 14guage wire from the first light to the second, and then to the third wire-nutting the neutrals together. Aint pretty but its functional!

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