3-Way Switch Not Working Properly - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 09-01-2011, 07:07 PM   #1
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3-Way switch not working properly

I am installing lighting in my basement and have installed a pair of 3-way switches (one is a 3-way dimmer switch). I have 14-2 running from the service panel to the first switch. I then have 14-3 running from the first switch to the second switch (the dimmer switch), then 14-2 running to the first light, then to the second light, third, etc.

All the lights appear to be functioning properly and the dimmers are doing what they are supposed to do. However when I turn the power off at the first switch I cannot turn the lights on with the second (dimmer) switch. I MUST have the first switch ON in order to use the dimmer switch.

I was under the impression that if I used 3-way switches at both ends and wired them in this fashion that I would be able to turn the lights on and off at either switch and then use the dimmer to control the brightness. Is this not the case?

I can get more specific as far as how exactly I have each switch wired if need be.

Thanks in advance!


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Old 09-01-2011, 07:19 PM   #2
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I'm not a romex guy but you mixed up the travelers and a power---pull the switched out of the box and take a picture of each and post that.

If you used the back stab holes instead of the screws---the holes aren't in line with the colored screws --so you may think you have it right but the goofy holes messed you up.

Wait for a Romex guy to come on--the electricians are all at a BBQ tonight and left me to man the phones.


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Old 09-01-2011, 07:32 PM   #3
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I think the dimmer black screw has to receive the power from the panel at least that is how it was stated in the directions for the dimmer I installed. Not sure how important that is though.
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Old 09-01-2011, 07:42 PM   #4
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Did a quicky search on Yahoo, and found these http://images.search.yahoo.com/searc...dimmer+diagram
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Old 09-01-2011, 09:29 PM   #5
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As Corsair mentioned, double check the instructions. If it doesn’t specify, double check you have the black of the source on the common of the first switch and the black of the load on the common of the dimmer. Situations like yours are commonly the fault of a traveller and the common being reversed.

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