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Old 08-10-2008, 07:27 PM   #16
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can't get new light fixture to work


Ok, I have updated my diagram here as I try and keep it all straight. I suspect that if you disconnect the black wire in cable #3 at the ceiling box you will loose power to switch box #1, and if you disconnect the black wire in the ceiling box to cable #1, I suspect you will loose power to switch #2 in switch box #2 (the one that seems to be on its own).

The only real unknown at this point is the cable #2 in the ceiling box, and the cable #3 in the first switch box. I will try and make this diagram digital and upload it here for everyone else to take a look, I've got it wired just as you described it and once you get back with those findings in the voltage check, I think I can provide an answer for you.

Edit:
I just noticed, in your original post you said there were only 3 white wires nutted together in the ceiling box, but per your last description I count 4 white wires in the ceiling box. From what I understand: the white wires from all 4 cables in ceiling box are all tied together, making it 4 total wires.


Last edited by theatretch85; 08-10-2008 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 08-11-2008, 11:30 AM   #17
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can't get new light fixture to work


OK there are 4 whites nutted together in ceiling.....must have mis-counted the first time.

Voltage checks.........had a problem when checking cables 2 & 3 in 2nd switch box. I don't know if I did anything wrong but when checking the black wire in cable 2 (which was still connected to switch) it blew....... sparks, noise and black now on screw and voltage meter prong black and point bent slightly. Voltage meter still works however because I tried again at celing and got a reading. However, nothing registered on meter again for black wire in cable 2 of switch box 2. Also nothing for cable 3 black wire that also went to screw on switch box 2.

Therefore, this is what I can tell you:

1) When all 3 black wires separated at ceiling:
- black wire on cable 2 at switch box 1 is NOT hot.
- black wire on cable 2 at switch box 2 is hot (or was before it blew as described above.)
- black wire on cable 3 at switch box 2 ??
- black wire on switch 1 at switch box 2 is NOT hot.

2) When 1 dead black ceiling wire is put with the 1 hot black ceiling wire:
- black wire on cable 2 at switch box 1 is hot.
- not sure about switch box 2.
- black wire on switch 1 at switch box 2 is NOT hot.

3) When other dead black ceiling wire is put with the 1 hot black ceiling wire:
- black wire on cable 2 at switch box 1 is NOT hot.
- not sure about switch box 2.
- black wire on switch 1 at switch box 2 is NOT hot.

4) I don't know if outlets are going dead when disconnecting the hot wire in the ceiling, but there is a light nearby that does not work when the 3 black wires in the ceiling are separated.

This is becoming so confusing, but I think I followed your instructions. If not, please let me know.
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Old 08-11-2008, 12:19 PM   #18
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can't get new light fixture to work


Hmm, I suspect a ground wire or the box got in the way of the meter lead at switch box #2, no power at that switch I would check the breakers in you panel, probably just tripped a breaker. I assume this switch 2 in box 2 controls an outside light? I am at work now on my lunch break and I don't have my diagram in front of me at the moment, but I will check it when I get home and post back with an update.

Step 1 shows what I thought you would find, however step 2 is where I am a little confused. If I remember the diagram correctly, if you have power at the black wire in cable 2, switch box 1, you should also have power at switch box 2, black wire on the 1st switch. Double check the wire nut connection at switch box 1 with the black wires that are tied together, this may be the point of failure here. The way I have it figured out, power should be fed to switch box #2 via the black wire in cable 1 at the first switch box. Try disconnecting the red and black wires in the ceiling box and try the test again at switch box 1 and 2. Also, look to see if the position of the 3 way switches change the results any.

I suspect the wire connected in step 3 feeds outlets or that near by light you talked about. It could also feed power to another room. Is this light a plug-in light or a hardwired light (ceiling or wall mount)?

It sounds as though switch #2 in switch box 2 is not apart of this circuit, and will be verified by checking the breakers in your main panel (there is probably a tripped breaker).
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Old 08-11-2008, 02:25 PM   #19
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I just checked black at cable 2 at switch 2 in 2nd switch box again. It is hot. Black at cable 3 at switch 2 in 2nd box is NOT hot. Switch 2 in box 2 does control an outside light.

Checked black again at switch 1, switch box 2 (all ceiling blacks together). It is hot.
Checked black in cable 2 again at switch box 1 (all ceiling blacks together). It is hot.

Disconnected black and red in ceiling. Blacks above still hot.
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Old 08-11-2008, 02:57 PM   #20
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Ok, this is good news so far!

Now check the red and white wires on Switch 1 in box 2 for power, only one of these should have power. Flip the switch and check again, the oposite wire should now have power. If you do not have power at either the red or white wire, this means that 3 way switch is bad.

Once you have verified power at the red and white wires on switch 1, in box 2, check to see which wire is currently hot, and check the same colored wire in cable 1 of switch box 1. The red and white wires in cable 1 should be connected to the first switch in box 1. Flip the 3 way switch in box 2 and check the wires at switch 1 again. You should have power on one or the other wire (depending on the position of the 3 way switch in box 2). Then lastly check for power at the switch in box 1, the red wire in cable 2. I suspect you will not find power at this terminal with the switches in either position.

Post back what you find after doing the above.

Btw, was there a breaker tripped in the panel for that outside light?
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Old 08-11-2008, 07:58 PM   #21
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can't get new light fixture to work


No breaker was tripped when I checked. I just tried the the meter again with the wires that connected to switch 2, box 2 and found cable 2 hot.

1) switch 1 in box 2: when switch is up, red is hot, black is hot, white is not. When switch is down, red is not hot, black is hot and white is hot.
2) switch 1 in box 1: When switch is down at box 2, white is hot at switch 1 in box 1.


Did that answer the question?
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:03 PM   #22
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Hmm, well last thing to check, see that you have power at the red wire in cable 2 at the first switch box. This should be the red wire in the ceiling box. It sounds as though switch 1 in box 2 is working fine, its just a question of switch 1 in box 1. If it passes power out to the red wire in cable 2 at the first switch box, then you should have power at the red wire in the ceiling box. You may need to check for this with the red and black wires disconnected in the ceiling box; it shouldn't make any difference either way.

If you have power to the red wire in cable 2 at the first switch box, check to see if you have power on the red wire in ceiling box in cable 3. If you do, hook the light up to this red wire, and the bundle or white wires in the ceiling box.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:54 AM   #23
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can't get new light fixture to work


IT WORKS!!! Thank you so much for your time on this project. This one I could not have done without your assistance. Best wishes!
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Old 08-12-2008, 11:40 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carolcwilson View Post
IT WORKS!!! Thank you so much for your time on this project. This one I could not have done without your assistance. Best wishes!
That's good to hear! Little curious as to why it wasn't working before. Did you leave the black and red wires connected in the ceiling box? Or did you just connect the light to the red wire and the white wires, and leave that black wire disconnected? My guess would be that black wire feeds a switched outlet somewhere in the room.
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:52 PM   #25
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can't get new light fixture to work


I kept black and red wires together.

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