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Old 02-11-2009, 08:04 PM   #16
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


I checked for continuity on the 12-3 that I assume is running between the switches.

red is continuous
black is continuous
white is not (this is the wire that's on the bottom of the switch controlling the porch light on another circuit)

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Old 02-11-2009, 10:02 PM   #17
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


You said the red of the the 12/3 at the ceiling was the wire connected to the black of the fixture. So the 12/3 at the ceiling has to go to one of the switches unless there is a jb somewhere.
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:38 AM   #18
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


Upstairs switch and lines going into fixture:

white at the switch is continuous with the black from the 12-3 at the fixture

Nothing else shows continuity.
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:28 AM   #19
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


If you have all the wires disconnected at the ceiling and the power 'on' is there 120 volts on the two wire cable black to it's white?

I really think you need to establish a power source that has a neutral with it
and rewire this 3 way. You have too much wrong with the existing cables. So that's where I'm headed.
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:10 AM   #20
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


contact me and I will email you a wiring diagram that might help but you must first id the cables.
turn off the power.
determine which is your hot and neutral wires.
id the wires from the light to which switch box they go to.
there is a 3wire cable between switch boxes, id it.
the best way to id these cables is with the power off and use some kind of continuity tester such as a ohm meter in a multitester.
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Old 02-12-2009, 11:48 AM   #21
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


Quote:
Originally Posted by spark-451 View Post
contact me and I will email you a wiring diagram that might help but you must first id the cables.
turn off the power.
determine which is your hot and neutral wires.
id the wires from the light to which switch box they go to.
there is a 3wire cable between switch boxes, id it.
the best way to id these cables is with the power off and use some kind of continuity tester such as a ohm meter in a multitester.
Problem is he has a three wire showing continuity between switches (except the white) and also a three wire at the fixture with the red switching the light. If that is the case there should be two 3 wire cables at one of the switch boxes. He also appears to have a goofy onward power thing going on. I see no option but to rewire the thing or who knows what you will back feed or switch.. maybe a neutral???
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Old 02-12-2009, 01:43 PM   #22
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


I think the best and safest option that will not make you loose sleep, is to rewire.


BTW is this on a 20 amp breaker? That 14/2 simpull cannot be used. Unless you replace with a 15.
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Old 02-12-2009, 02:42 PM   #23
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


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If you have all the wires disconnected at the ceiling and the power 'on' is there 120 volts on the two wire cable black to it's white?
No...that's the original problem I had. When I took this thing down and tried to re-hang it, I never saw power coming into any of the lines at the fixture. That's why I paid an "electrician" to come in...I figured something was very askew. And the guy jumpered juice off another switch and then told me this was perfectly legal and he had done a great job for me and I should shut up.

Given the mess this has turned out to be, I'd really like to just re-wire the thing with new Romex for a regular old switch by my entry door. The way things are now, I have to come in the house and walk across the foyer just to get to the switch. And I have no compelling need to turn off the foyer light from the top of the stairs.

The problem with that is that I have plaster on brick on brick exterior walls and I'd presumably have to hack up a plaster on lathe ceiling in the foyer to run those lines.
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Old 02-12-2009, 02:43 PM   #24
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


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Originally Posted by rgsgww View Post
BTW is this on a 20 amp breaker? That 14/2 simpull cannot be used. Unless you replace with a 15.
I'm not 100% sure which circuit the thing is supposed to be on, given that I have no power at the fixture. But I have all my house mapped out now, so I'm pretty certain it's on 15. If I re-wire, I'll definitely put it on a 15A circuit.
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Old 02-12-2009, 06:52 PM   #25
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


Quote:
I checked for continuity on the 12-3 that I assume is running between the switches.
First off, you can't assume anything.

Second, you are jumping all over the place with your descriptions.

The way I read it is:

2gang box, upstairs, with one single pole sw and one 3 way switch.

3gang box with two single pole switches and one 3way switch down stairs.

One light with a 3wire and a 2 wire cable.

Questions:

1) do the single pole switches work? What do the operate?

They appear to be simple switch loops with power in on the white, out on the black. This would require you to have 120v power at the light which isn't the case in the porxch light.

In any case,. you are missing a jbox somewhere. You need to start from scratch, disconnect all switches and start testing for power.


Or calll someone
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:49 PM   #26
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


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Originally Posted by 220/221 View Post
The way I read it is:

2gang box, upstairs, with one single pole sw and one 3 way switch.

3gang box with two single pole switches and one 3way switch down stairs.

One light with a 3wire and a 2 wire cable.
This is all correct.

Quote:
1) do the single pole switches work? What do the operate?
Yes.

Downstairs triple gang box:

1) Left of 3 way switch - porch light
2) Right of 3 way switch - light beside basement door

Upstairs double gang box:

1) Left of 3 way switch - 2nd floor landing light

Quote:
In any case,. you are missing a jbox somewhere. You need to start from scratch, disconnect all switches and start testing for power.
This house is 95 years old and was re-wired for 2 family at some point in the late 50s (I'm guessing, based on the type of wire used). There are all sorts of hidden, inaccessible junction boxes.

Also, AFAICT, there is no power coming into either line at the fixture itself. If this is the case, am I SOL here?

Last edited by pmoe; 02-12-2009 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:03 PM   #27
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


Not SOL but you do need to A) refeed it, or B) find the hidden JB.

Forget the SP switches. They work, leave them alone.

Check the JB above the landing light???

Originally, I think the power came into the medallioned light on the 2 wire. I think the missing JB splits in a "Y" from the light 3 wire to the two switch 3 wires. I think the feed to the light failed and someone cobbled it from the SP switch with that jumper.

Makes sense. Find the other end of the 2 wire at the light and put it back to original.

Also, the wiring isn't 95 years old. It looks like mid 1960's.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:34 PM   #28
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


I just today had a call to a home with the same deal as for the wires in the ceiling box but it wasn't a 3 way. 80 year old man changing a light fixture he just couldn't remember how the fixture connected before he took it down to replace it. I charged him a cup of coffee and a few good stories.

But 220/221 is correct your missing something probably a jb box or whoever ran the wire didn't want 3 wire cable to the fixture. I do know you wouldn't cap anything off if you needed all the wires or someone started trial and error and screwed the thing all up. I wouldn't get to hard on the electrician if he had to deal with this either but he is dodging you just the same.

My point is you have a three wire entering that ceiling fixure. You must have 3 wire between switches if that 3 wire in the ceiling goes to a switch then ya gotta have 2 three wires coming into one of the switch boxes. I think you have a hidden JB somewhere. It would be more likely for that two wire cable in the ceiling to be going to a 3 way switch.

You have to find the incoming power and a neutral to go with it to this 3 way. Or bring your own power to a switch box and rewire the thing.

I'm reasonably sure they wanted the red of the 3 wire to switch the light but on both 3 wires it is on a traveler screw so it isn't correct.... and the two blacks were constant power elsewhere the whites are probably neutrals. Problem is you do not have a conventional 3 way with the wiring you have, it's what I call resourceful wiring. The box with the porch light from what I can tell has no chance of a neutral being in it. So I would go to the other 2 gang and see what ya got there, so you have a chance at this. bottom line ya gotta find a cable that is incoming power no and ifs or buts.
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:41 PM   #29
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


Quote:
Originally Posted by 220/221 View Post
Originally, I think the power came into the medallioned light on the 2 wire. I think the missing JB splits in a "Y" from the light 3 wire to the two switch 3 wires. I think the feed to the light failed and someone cobbled it from the SP switch with that jumper.
I think I must have done something to kill the feed at the light way back when I was wiring something else.

I know this is all very confusing, but the original wiring setup at the fixture was:

3 - 2
R -> B
W -> W
B

I'm not sure where the fixture fit into that picture, because that's the bit I forgot when I took it down.

After the cobbled together job with jumpered hot from another switch, it became:

3 - 2
R -> fixture
W -> fixture
B -> B
W -> capped
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:53 PM   #30
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


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Originally Posted by Stubbie View Post
But 220/221 is correct your missing something probably a jb box or whoever ran the wire didn't want 3 wire cable to the fixture.
Is there any way to determine where the JB might be, besides ripping down plaster?

Quote:
I wouldn't get to hard on the electrician if he had to deal with this either but he is dodging you just the same.
It's not just the two wires under a screw jumpering from one switch to another...it's hanging a fixture w/o a box with one screw holding a bracket to a joist, leaving a medallion off, taking money for an incomplete job, telling me a 120V heater would draw fewer amps than a 240, telling me a I needed 10-3 for 7' of baseboard heaters, suggesting I cut a medallion in two, calling me a crook, etc.

Quote:
Or bring your own power to a switch box and rewire the thing.
If it came down to it, would it be OK pull hot from the SP switch loop at the double gang box using pigtails?

Quote:
and the two blacks were constant power elsewhere the whites are probably neutrals.
Here's the thing...I don't think there's anything downstream of this fixture that is effected by it not working - and I just mapped every receptacle, light, etc in the entire house. In the original scheme, the blacks were not tied together.

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