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Old 02-13-2009, 11:35 PM   #46
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


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Some kind of code violation? Fire hazard?
Yes, but not a fire hazard. The violation is not having the neutral and hot within the same cables in a circuit.

Now before we go on... decide. And that decision is this...if you want to get this correct and code compliant you are going to have to get to those JB's and correct the miswire or run new cable.


Now the other thing is...you said the 2 wire cable at the fixture is dead I gotta believe as 220/221 did that this was at one time the incoming power to this light circuit. Almost certain of it.

The only other power source that works is (and this you aren't going to like) is where your electrician got power with that green jumper and his wiring scheme is the only way to get this 3 way to work. I only have one change to what he did.

So let me know and I'll post the connections and cap offs.

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Old 02-14-2009, 12:11 AM   #47
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


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The only other power source that works is (and this you aren't going to like) is where your electrician got power with that green jumper and his wiring scheme is the only way to get this 3 way to work. I only have one change to what he did.
I'm game - let's hear it.

Eventually, I'd really like to change this whole thing around, so the foyer light is controlled by a SP switch by the door. Right now, I have stairs with no direct lighting. I'd like to illuminate the stairs (recessed lights?) and have that lighting be controlled by 3 way switches at the top and bottom of the stairs.
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Old 02-14-2009, 12:26 AM   #48
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


Ok first the cap offs.

1.) Cap the black of the 12/3 at he fixture
2.) Cap the white in the 12/3 in the upstairs 12/3 switch box.
3.) Cap off and abandon the 12/2 at the fixture.

Now

1.) Connect the red and black of the 12/3 in the upstairs switch box to the two brass traveler screws of the 3 way switch.
2.) Make a jumper or pigtail (power off here) and connect to the constant hot wire of the single pole switch and then connect the other end to the dark colored common screw of the 3 -way.
3.) Go to the downstairs switch connect the red and black of the 12/3 to the brass traveler screws of the 3 way switch.
4.) Take the white coming from the 12/2 coming in at the left that has its black connected to the single pole switch....only don't connect it to the single pole. Connect it to the dark colored common of the 3 way.
5.) The white of the 12/3 appears to be part of the switch leg for the single pole due to a miss wire somewhere so my guess is it goes to the single pole switch to complete the switch loop.
6.) If you have a tester go to the fixture after turning power back on. Test the red wire of the 12/3 three to the white of the 12/3 for switched power you may have to toggle one of the switches.

Good luck and let us know what you get.
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Old 02-14-2009, 03:19 PM   #49
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


That works. AFAICT, the only change was to cap off the blacks at the fixture?

I have a receptacle a few feet away from the upstairs 3 way switch. If I could feed power to the switch from that receptacle, would that make this whole setup any more legitimate?
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Old 02-14-2009, 03:56 PM   #50
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That works. AFAICT, the only change was to cap off the blacks at the fixture?

I have a receptacle a few feet away from the upstairs 3 way switch. If I could feed power to the switch from that receptacle, would that make this whole setup any more legitimate?
First you need to congradgulate yourself for your continuity testing. That allowed me to get this back together and working... albeit not the way we would like.

Capping the blacks off was because the black in the 12/3 is miss wired to the traveler black going between switches at one of those jb's. This will energize that black in the fixture 12/3 only when that black traveler is hot between the 3 ways. It's pretty useless really.
The 12/3 white that is neutral in the ceiling box is using a neutral at one of those JB's but I have no idea what circuit neutral it is using. You could figure that out but it would really not help. The capped off white in the 12/3 at the upstairs switch box was supposed to be the neutral if things were right. But using it if you brought power from the receptacle does'nt help much because then your going to be splitting neutrals at one of those JB's. Current will have 2 paths to follow... so no I wouldn't change a thing.

Also the crossed whites at the downstairs switch box are another victum of the drunk who wired up those 2 JB's.

What you have is as good as it is going to get with what exists. I wouldn't lose sleep.. but isn't correct wiring.

I can understand your frustration with this, I have no idea what all went on in those JB's or what else may be screwed up. When the budget and time allows I'd rewire this whole deal and get rid of that JB mess.

Anyway I'm not seeing any immediate danger to causing a fire it just is poor and mistaken wiring in my eyes. The only issue is if the neutral is shared on two different circuits on the same leg joining in that JB where the miss wires occurred. But all your adding is that light fixture to the current load so I don't see it creating a fire hazard on 12 guage wire and 20 amp branch circuits.

I'm glad it is working... if I have overlooked something one of the other electricians will chime in if they see a hazard. So check back for a few days to see what others have to say.
.
Regards

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Old 02-14-2009, 08:42 PM   #51
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


Amazing. I have been following this thread and it just amazes me how people are willing to lend their time and knowledge. Good job Stubbie.
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Old 02-18-2009, 02:25 PM   #52
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


It wasn't much fun, but I have the light fixture back up and working. I wound up having to use more knockouts on the box, route out the medallion a bit, and cut up some more plaster and lathe to make space for the wires. I also cleaned up the medallion mounting (the previous owner had finish nails sticking out).



Many thanks to everyone, particularly Stubbie, who stuck with me through this 4 pages of spaghetti wiring.
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:18 PM   #53
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


Let there be light.....

Very nice Job....

The final outcome was the result of your good continuity testing so you deserve more credit that your giving yourself.

Seeing that light fixture installed so nicely makes my effort and the others who helped....worth it.
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:32 PM   #54
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Now that you did it, how did you do it?

While it is fresh in your minds, and for all the future 3 and 4 way switch forum inquiries, is there a general or specific troubleshooting procedure for these kinds of setups?
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Old 02-20-2009, 02:01 PM   #55
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Now that you did it, how did you do it?
I don't know exactly what is going on , except that red and black are being used as travelers between the switches, hot is coming into one switch from an adjacent switch loop, and neutral is on the other switch, from an adjacent 12-2 wire.

Keep in mind that, AFAIK, there is nothing typical about this setup.
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Old 02-20-2009, 04:16 PM   #56
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Help with 3 way switch wiring


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Originally Posted by pmoe View Post
I don't know exactly what is going on , except that red and black are being used as travelers between the switches, hot is coming into one switch from an adjacent switch loop, and neutral is on the other switch, from an adjacent 12-2 wire.

Keep in mind that, AFAIK, there is nothing typical about this setup.
So,
don't trust colors and
hots and neutrals for this setup can come from anywhere (since they originate from the same points).

So,
if you can find an unswitched hot and
an unswitched neutral and
continuity between wire ends,
you can make this work but
it still may not meet code and
you may be sending currents into neutrals that are not supposed to be in that particular neutral.
?

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