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Old 03-31-2013, 12:26 PM   #1
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3-way switch question - possible hazard?


I recently moved into a house and found a situation, which I believe is dangerous - a mis-wired 3-way switch. I drew a diagram to understand the wiring and attached it to this post. Can someone please check it out and let me know if this looks correct? If not, how I can fix it? The referenced junction box is in the attic along with the recessed lights. Thanks in advance.

(note: I started investigating the issue after I noticed a popping noise from one of the switches. I replaced the switch and then it sparked. Something is wrong.)
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:31 PM   #2
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3-way switch question - possible hazard?


http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=...electedIndex=0


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Old 03-31-2013, 12:39 PM   #3
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3-way switch question - possible hazard?


Left switch -- Connect power cable black to the common switch terminal (usually dark or labeled C). Connect power cable white to 3 wire cable white. Connect other two wires (from 3 wire cable) to other two switch terminals.

Right switch -- Connect black wire from light to common switch terminal, other two wires to other (lighter colored) switch terminals.

Note that you cannot refer to the switch terminals using words such as "upper right" or "on the side."
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Last edited by AllanJ; 03-31-2013 at 12:42 PM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:48 PM   #4
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3-way switch question - possible hazard?


Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowmister2 View Post
I replaced the switch and then it sparked. Something is wrong.)
Hope you dont have the neutral attached to the switch. see other diagram I had:
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3-way switch question - possible hazard?-photo-20-1-.jpg   3-way switch question - possible hazard?-1-sw-lo-sw.jpg  

Last edited by hammerlane; 03-31-2013 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:48 PM   #5
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3-way switch question - possible hazard?


AllanJ - thanks for the guidance. I attached an updated drawing based on your description. Does this look right?

Hammerlane - no I do not have the neutral connected to the switch - bad drawing. Your drawing really helps. Thanks!
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3-way switch question - possible hazard?-photo-2-.jpg  

Last edited by yellowmister2; 03-31-2013 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:28 PM   #6
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3-way switch question - possible hazard?


Recheck your drawing
Both switches are not right

First switch
Power source BLACK --> Common
Black and red on top 3 way switch #1
Whites pigtailed----->Connected to silver side light bulb
(the way you have it right now...for switch #1 power black and red are your travellers. This is not correct)

Light bulb
Black common from 3 way #2 goes on the brass side of light bulb
White from Switch #1 connects to silver side
Reds get pigtailed
Black pigtails to the new White Traveller
(dont forget to Black tape the white traveller to the 2nd switch which is now a hot conductor)

SWITCH #2
Black from the brass side of light goes to common
BLACK TAPED White and Red travellers go together on switch
(this is where you have it drawn wrong on your diagram)
(the black conductor from switch one, gets pigtailed and turned into the black taped white on switch 2)

good luck

Last edited by jratftcc; 03-31-2013 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:44 PM   #7
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3-way switch question - possible hazard?


The diagram in post #5 will work just fine. No changes needed.
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:49 PM   #8
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3-way switch question - possible hazard?


Hes asking for confirmation for how he interprets the diagram.
Theres something wrong in the way he read it.
Hes smart for double checking.

How anyone would think referring him back to the original diagram he misinterpreted without pointing out what he failed to notice is is beyond me.
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Old 03-31-2013, 05:15 PM   #9
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3-way switch question - possible hazard?


Thanks everyone. Based on the diagram's and descriptions I am confident I now have it wired correctly. These forums are so helpful. Really appreciated it.
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Old 03-31-2013, 05:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jratftcc View Post
Hes asking for confirmation for how he interprets the diagram.
Theres something wrong in the way he read it.
Hes smart for double checking.

How anyone would think referring him back to the original diagram he misinterpreted without pointing out what he failed to notice is is beyond me.
:SHRUGS::
Are you referring to this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by k_buz View Post
The diagram in post #5 will work just fine. No changes needed.
Look at post #5, that drawing is correct and will work as is shown. The original drawing from post #1 was not completely accurate however.
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Old 03-31-2013, 05:30 PM   #11
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3-way switch question - possible hazard?


I don't mean to picky but it should be noted that a white wire needs to be taped with a colored tape if its used as a hot/ switch leg.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:35 PM   #12
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3-way switch question - possible hazard?


Quote:
Originally Posted by deverson View Post
I don't mean to picky but it should be noted that a white wire needs to be taped with a colored tape if its used as a hot/ switch leg.
Why? And Code citation, please?

If you see two white wires on a lighting fixture, you know someone didn't know what the heck they were doing.

If you see a white wire on a switch, I'm pretty darn sure you can take it for granted that it is not the neutral.

Last edited by sirsparksalot; 03-31-2013 at 11:57 PM.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:13 AM   #13
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3-way switch question - possible hazard?


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Originally Posted by sirsparksalot View Post
Why? And Code citation, please?
Because it is required by current NEC , art. 200.7.(C)(2)
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:37 AM   #14
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3-way switch question - possible hazard?


Quote:
Originally Posted by 200.7(C)(2)
Where a cable assembly contains an insulated conductor
for single-pole, 3-way or 4-way switch loops and
the conductor with white or gray insulation or a marking
of three continuous white stripes is used for the
supply to the switch but not as a return conductor from
the switch to the switched outlet.
In these applications,
the conductor with white or gray insulation or with
three continuous white stripes shall be permanently reidentified
to indicate its use by painting or other effective
means at its terminations and at each location
where the conductor is visible and accessible.
Trying to figure out what that means.

So, if the white wire is used as a "return conductor from the switch to the switched outlet", re-identification wouldn't be required?

I don't even know what the heck that means: return conductor? How would it be wired if the white was a "return conductor"?
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:48 AM   #15
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3-way switch question - possible hazard?


It means the conductor coming back(returning) from the switch to the switched device can not be the white even if remarked. You can't have two whites on a switched device.

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