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Old 01-26-2011, 05:35 PM   #1
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3 way switch mystery


I need some help determining the problem with two three-way switches and the light they operate. I have pulling my hair out with this one. O.K. the light will work when i flip switch #1 when switch #2 is flip to the right position. After flipping #1 with the light coming on, I can go to switch #2 and turn the light off, flipping #2 again, the light will come on. O.k. if I turn the light off with switch #2 and then go to switch #1 the light will not come on. can anyone give me any idea what is wrong and what might need to be replaced. Thanks in advance. john

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Old 01-26-2011, 05:44 PM   #2
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3 way switch mystery


You have the wrong wires on the common screws of the switches. Tell us the whole story.
Did they ever work properly?
Is this a new install?
How many fixtures on the circuit?
Tell us all the cabling and wires in the two switch boxes and the fixture.

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Old 01-26-2011, 07:46 PM   #3
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3 way switch mystery


thanks for input. No, to my knowledge is has always operated in this manner. not new either. it was my Mom's home and I've had it since '97. it was built in '84. Not sure about how many are on this circuit or anything about the cabling at this time. will try and open it up tomorrow and see what I can determine. thanks again.
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Old 01-26-2011, 08:22 PM   #4
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3 way switch mystery


I misstated the one question. How many fixtures are controlled by the switches not on whole the circuit. when you post the wires in the switches and the fixture we have a beginning of how to help you.
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:03 AM   #5
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3 way switch mystery


joed,

there are actually two lights that the switches control. both are in a breezeway between the garage and house. one switch in the garage, the other just inside the kitchen door. once again, i appreciate your input. john
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:33 AM   #6
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3 way switch mystery


Still need to know the wires etc in each box if you want any help.
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:46 AM   #7
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3 way switch mystery


thanks anyway
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:56 AM   #8
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3 way switch mystery


Hey John
Don't get frustrated
3 ways are one of the most confusing dilemas of the "which wire goes where" problems
These guys are just trying to help.

This is wonderful diagram from another poster

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Old 01-27-2011, 10:25 AM   #9
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3 way switch mystery


Also important is knowing which wire comes from where.

There could be a loose connection somewhere.

Continuity measurements usually require that wires be separated and tested one at a time. Before undoing any wires, label them so you could put them back the same way if needed.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 01-27-2011 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 01-27-2011, 11:59 AM   #10
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3 way switch mystery


don't be discouraged, I had the same issue, athough my home was built in 1914, and I decided today to change a light switch ,3 way mind you, my problem was determining which wire was the Common wire or Black, the other two wires are travelers, you must look at the switch that your replacing and mark them prior to removal then reinstall new switch with Black wire or Common going to black screw or terminal, the other two go to either side of switch one on each side, my biggest issue was dealing with old Knob/Tube wire

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