Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-15-2010, 01:35 PM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: WV
Posts: 277
Rewards Points: 0
Share |
Default

Another 3-way switch problem.


I'm in the process of gradually replacing my old brown colored switched with modern white switches. I have a standard 3-way switch setup that controlls an overhead light. The switches are old "NO-KLIK" style switches and none of the screws are labeled. There however is one darker screw on each swithc I assumed was the common.

When replacing these with modern Leviton switches I hooked them up the same way they came off and now they don't work. I labeled every wire that came off and did not mix anything up. On "switch 1" I had a black, white, and red wire. The black was on the common and the red was also on the same side as the common. White wired was on opposite side by itself. In switch 2 there are 2 black wires and one white. (Obviously theres a junction somewhere). On switch 2 the white wire was on the common and the two blacks where travellers. Before taking the blacks off the old switch I labeled one fo them with silver tape in order to keep them organized.

After hooking them up there way I thought they should be they didn't work. I took all wires off the switches, turned the power back on and tested each wire with a voltage sensor. On switch 1 a black and white wire showed live voltage. WTF? On switch 2 all three wires showed live voltage! So I'm wondering if my voltage sensor is falsly picking up voltage on all the wires because they are bundled together or what the heck is going on? Maybe I'll try a multimeter to read actual voltage.

I've included a diagram of the old switches. I would think directly replacing them with the Levitron switches would've made things work fine.
Attached Thumbnails
Another 3-way switch problem.-switch.jpg  

speedster1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2010, 02:00 PM   #2
Member
 
joed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Welland, Ontario
Posts: 7,564
Rewards Points: 56
Default

Another 3-way switch problem.


The common is the important screw. You must put the same wire on the common screw as was on the old switch. You can not move the wires by postition.

__________________
Do not PM with questions that can be asked in a forum. I will not respond.
joed is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2010, 02:16 PM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: WV
Posts: 277
Rewards Points: 0
Default

Another 3-way switch problem.


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
The common is the important screw. You must put the same wire on the common screw as was on the old switch. You can not move the wires by postition.
I swear that is what I did. I even had them labeled. Now when switch 1 is in the down position the other switch doesn't work. When switch 1 is in the up position, switch 2 works as expected.
speedster1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2010, 05:53 PM   #4
Member
 
joed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Welland, Ontario
Posts: 7,564
Rewards Points: 56
Default

Another 3-way switch problem.


Then it would work properly unless you got a defective switch.
__________________
Do not PM with questions that can be asked in a forum. I will not respond.
joed is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2010, 07:06 PM   #5
A "Handy Husband"
 
rjniles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: South Carolina Low Country
Posts: 4,038
Rewards Points: 16
Default

Another 3-way switch problem.


Quote:
Originally Posted by speedster1 View Post

After hooking them up there way I thought they should be they didn't work. I took all wires off the switches, turned the power back on and tested each wire with a voltage sensor. On switch 1 a black and white wire showed live voltage. WTF? On switch 2 all three wires showed live voltage! So I'm wondering if my voltage sensor is falsly picking up voltage on all the wires because they are bundled together or what the heck is going on? Maybe I'll try a multimeter to read actual voltage.
You must be using a non-contact tester. Get a multimeter and test to a known ground. Only one wire in one of the boxes will be hot. Connect that wire to the switch common. Connect the other 2 wires to the traveler terminals of that switch. (Turn of the power while making connections). Test the second box (with power on). One wire will be hot, that is a traveler. Flip the switch you installed in the first box, find the hot lead in the second box- that is the second traveler. The third wire in the second box is the common.
__________________
Location:
Coastal South Carolina
rjniles is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2010, 07:24 PM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: NY lower Hudson Valley
Posts: 210
Rewards Points: 0
Default

Another 3-way switch problem.


Quote:
Originally Posted by speedster1 View Post
I swear that is what I did. I even had them labeled. Now when switch 1 is in the down position the other switch doesn't work. When switch 1 is in the up position, switch 2 works as expected.
Yesterday I was doing some volunteer work at a local church. Same scenario. Switch two only worked if switch one was in the on position. Opened switch one. White was common, and the travelers were red and black. Opened switch two. Red was common and the travelers were black and white. In switch two I swapped the red and the white wire and it solved the problem.

In your case try switching the red and the white in switch two.
zircon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2010, 07:01 AM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: WV
Posts: 277
Rewards Points: 0
Default

Another 3-way switch problem.


Thanks- I took a multimeter and found that the red was the common. Once I switched it the setup worked. I'm still puzzeled as to why it was setup like that. Thanks again for all your help

speedster1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Switched receptacle wiring problem. sheshore Electrical 6 09-27-2009 01:37 PM
Modification to an existing pump switch DRBLKJK Electrical 10 08-23-2009 03:06 PM
Problem changing light switch grgryl Electrical 14 08-10-2008 01:26 PM
3 way switch problem Rschrei518 Electrical 2 01-04-2008 12:35 AM
combo switch problem electric1 Electrical 2 06-11-2004 10:11 AM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.