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Old 07-19-2009, 08:04 PM   #1
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Another 3-way switch question.


So I got some time to work on my basement today and figured I'd do the lighting. I ran some 14/2 from my panel to a box for some switches. The black wire went to the common on the first 3-way switch. From there I ran 14/3 between the two 3-way switches. The red and black wires of the 14/3 went to the same terminals on both switches. After the second switch, I ran the common out to the lights.

I'm hoping that I just wired it wrong, but here's what it's doing. If switch #1 (the one that the power comes from) is in the OFF position, switch #2 will operate the lights, except when the switch is OFF, the lights are on and when the switch is ON, the lights are off. No biggie. If switch #1 is in the ON position, the lights won't go on regardless of what position switch #2 is in. I'm hoping that it's just an easy fix, but the only thing I can think of is that I should swap the terminals on the travelers on one of the switches. Both switches are new Leviton switches.

Hopefully that made sense and it's one of those common boneheaded DIY mistakes.

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Old 07-19-2009, 08:18 PM   #2
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Another 3-way switch question.


3-way switches check this out

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Last edited by 300zx; 07-19-2009 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 07-19-2009, 08:21 PM   #3
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Another 3-way switch question.


You have your travellers and common mixed up somewhere. The common is usually a different colour screw. Open it up the switches and make sure the wires land up where they belong. It sounds like you have the concept you just wired something backwards, happens to all of us at times.

You said on and off in your descripiton, you are useing 3 ways switches right. On a 3 way there is no on or off just up or down.

Last edited by darren; 07-19-2009 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 07-19-2009, 09:11 PM   #4
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Another 3-way switch question.


Yeah, I meant up and down. Just went with typical descriptions. I will check the wires again, hopefully it is something simple. Watching the video now, thanks!
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Old 07-19-2009, 09:12 PM   #5
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Another 3-way switch question.


Quote:
Originally Posted by perpetual98 View Post
Yeah, I meant up and down. Just went with typical descriptions. I will check the wires again, hopefully it is something simple. Watching the video now, thanks!
the video should help you out
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Old 07-19-2009, 09:32 PM   #6
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Another 3-way switch question.


Ok, I figured it out, and boy do I feel like an idiot. Here's my word of advice for DIY people. Don't use the push-in terminals on a 3-way. Just way too many things can get hosed. Basically of the 6 wires on the back of my 3-way switches, I had 4 of them wrong. Both of my commons were switched with brass screws because of the way that the Leviton push-in terminals were layed out. Upon first glance, the common is the "lowest" screw on the switch, so I pushed the wire into the "lowest" hole when in fact it was the incorrect hole. I ended up screwing the wires to the terminals, flipped the breaker on and viola! Everything is working as it should.

Thanks again!
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:01 PM   #7
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Another 3-way switch question.


Don't ever use the pushin connectors on switches and recpetacles. They are a very common source of loss of power on part of a circuit.
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:56 PM   #8
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Another 3-way switch question.


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Don't ever use the pushin connectors on switches and recpetacles.
Sure.

NOW you tell him
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Old 07-20-2009, 07:35 PM   #9
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Another 3-way switch question.


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Originally Posted by 220/221 View Post
Sure.

NOW you tell him
Some time you just have to let them find out on their own!

No disrescpet to the OP.
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Old 07-21-2009, 12:09 PM   #10
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Another 3-way switch question.


Given all the complaints I've seen (and most books I have say to avoid them altogether), why are pushins allowed? There are so many NEC requirements in the name of safety that seem to have marginal benefit, yet pushins remain. Do pushins remain acceptable because they are a nuisance if they fail but not unsafe? Or is it more that they are really easy to screw up unless you are a pro who has done thousands of installations? (Of course, at some point even the pros had to learn...)

Robert
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Old 07-21-2009, 12:16 PM   #11
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Another 3-way switch question.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RST View Post
Given all the complaints I've seen (and most books I have say to avoid them altogether), why are pushins allowed? There are so many NEC requirements in the name of safety that seem to have marginal benefit, yet pushins remain. Do pushins remain acceptable because they are a nuisance if they fail but not unsafe? Or is it more that they are really easy to screw up unless you are a pro who has done thousands of installations? (Of course, at some point even the pros had to learn...)

Robert
My guess is because the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) approves them and if that's the case NEC 110.3(A) permits us to install them.

I don't ever do it either but whatever..

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