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Old 04-11-2009, 03:15 PM   #1
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HELP!!! three way switches


My husband has steam coming out of his ears at this point so I HOPE that someone can help!

The only switch to the exterior lights in the back yard was in the garage and we were attempting to put a second switch in the living room next to the side door.

We got 14-2 wire. Not sure that was correct or not because it only has one black wire and one white wire in addition to the ground. When we opened the box at the existing light switch there were two black wires going to the switch and two white wires that were connected to each other with a wire nut.

We ran a 14-2 from the existing switch to the new switch. We took one of the black wires in the garage and connected it to the common and connected the other black wire to the black wire of the 14-2 going to the living room. Then we connected the white wire from the romax to the brass traveler nut on the three way switch.

Next we went into the living room and connected the black wire to the common and the white to the traveler positions. We didn't get any power to the lights when we tried either switch. So we disconnected both black wires at the existing switch and changed their positions. The one that connected to the romax went to the common and visa versa. Still nothing. Then we undid the white wires and connected them in the garage to the new three way switch and were able to get power back.

This is our existing problem. We can't use both switches. When we shut one off the other ceases to work. After a bunch of switching of the wires the black and white wires in the living room are both connected as travelers, not one common and one traveler. I will get the configuration of the wires in the garage once my husband cools down.

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Old 04-11-2009, 03:38 PM   #2
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HELP!!! three way switches


Can't do it with 2 wires. Must be three wire.

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Old 04-11-2009, 03:42 PM   #3
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HELP!!! three way switches


That's what I thought. Can we just use another run of 14-2 and only use one wire from it?
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Old 04-11-2009, 03:46 PM   #4
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HELP!!! three way switches


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Originally Posted by tlavery View Post
That's what I thought. Can we just use another run of 14-2 and only use one wire from it?
Yes that will work. Kind of a odd way of doing it but it can work that way. Just make sure you cap off the wires not being used
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Old 04-11-2009, 03:48 PM   #5
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HELP!!! three way switches


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Originally Posted by tlavery View Post
We got 14-2 wire. Not sure that was correct
You should of got 14-3 if you have 15A circuit, or 12-3 if you have a 20A circuit, however 14-2 will work you will just need to have 2 runs of it.

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We took one of the black wires in the garage and connected it to the common
Are you sure you took the correct wire? one of those blacks in the garage is a switch leg (it connects to your light and the switch. The other black is the supply.

At the existing switch first you need to find out which black wire is the supply to the switch, connect this wire to one of the white wires that you have going to your new switch, connect it to the common. Tape the wire black on both ends so when some one opens up the switch they know it isn't a grounded conductor.

connect the new black wires to the traveler positions on both switches.

connect the wire that goes to the light to the common in the existing switch.

put a wire nut on the unused white wire on both ends and label it with "Abandoned in place." don't cut it off.
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Old 04-11-2009, 04:07 PM   #6
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HELP!!! three way switches


OK here is the latest configuration in the garage. The two wires from the new romax are connected to the traveler positions. The two white wires that were in the box to begin with are back to being joined together with the wire nut. The black wires are also connected to the switch. The new three way switch has two ways to connect the wires. One is to wrap the wire to the screws on the side and the other way is to push the wire into a hole in the back of the switch. The new romax utilizes the screws and the black uses he holes on the back. The black wires are connected in the top two holes which I THINK means one black is connected to the common and one is connected to a traveler, but I'm not positive on that.
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Old 04-11-2009, 04:14 PM   #7
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HELP!!! three way switches


tomorrow we are going to make a second run of the 14-2 since that is what we have. How do I make sure that I have the leg and the supply in the right spots. What I mean is how do I figure out which one is which? Thanks for all the help!
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Old 04-11-2009, 04:21 PM   #8
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HELP!!! three way switches


t,
On the back of the 3-Way switch use the screws because they are easier to change the wiring. The odd colored screw is the common. The other two screws are the same color and they are for the travelers.

When you get settled send me a PM We share the same last name
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Old 04-11-2009, 06:39 PM   #9
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HELP!!! three way switches


You need three wires for sure. Not sure whether 2 runs of 14/2 is code compliant.
The connections are simple once you get the wire to the new switch.
I am going to skip ground wires in the description. Connect all of them together and to the switch if it has a ground screw.

Remove the two wires from the existing switch. Leave everything else alone. The wires could be both black or black and white. Might even be black and red. It doesn't matter.
Connect one wire to the common screw of your new three way switch.
Connect the other wire to the black wire to your new switch.
Connect the red and white wires to the remaining two traveler screws of the new switch.

At new switch connect the black to the common screw.
Connect the red and white wires to the remaining two traveler screws of the new switch.
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Old 04-11-2009, 06:45 PM   #10
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HELP!!! three way switches


Quote:
Originally Posted by tlavery View Post
tomorrow we are going to make a second run of the 14-2 since that is what we have. How do I make sure that I have the leg and the supply in the right spots. What I mean is how do I figure out which one is which? Thanks for all the help!
A voltage meter would be easiest. test the wire to the ground wire or metal box.

If you have open walls in your garage, follow the cables, one will go from the switch box to the light and figure out which wire goes to that cable.

If not typically the supply will come from the sides or bottom of the box and the wire going to the light will go out out the top. this will be trial and error.
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Old 04-11-2009, 11:41 PM   #11
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HELP!!! three way switches


Thanks for all the info! We may just break down and get the RIGHT romax. we will have other projects where we can use the 14-2. I'll let you all know how it goes. Joed.....I had seen those same instructions on another thread here and was confused when I saw that the romax that we bought only had 2 wires. That is what threw me. Thanks for ALL the replies! I think that it will be able to get it up and running correctly in the morning
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Old 04-12-2009, 03:04 PM   #12
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HELP!!! three way switches


THANK YOU to all those that helped with advice1 We got it working FINALLY!
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Old 04-12-2009, 03:13 PM   #13
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HELP!!! three way switches


Hey PaliBob for some reason I can't find a link to contact you. Anyway my last name is Avery. Most people think it's Lavery. The L is my middle initial
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Old 04-12-2009, 04:42 PM   #14
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HELP!!! three way switches


Thanks for replying. Darn, Here I thought we might be 5th cousins. 5th cousins are not that uncommon. Douglas MacArthur, Franklin Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill were all 5th cousins to each other.

A little trivia on Romex which was invented by General Cable in 1922 at their Lab in Rome NY. This was when K&T was the way to go
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knob_and_tube_wiring.

The Lab guys came up the idea of insulating both conductors and putting them in a single cable. This was a radical new idea so when it came time to name this new cable they started with Romex short for Rome Experimental and the name stuck.

Of course they were limited on insulators so for many years so the conductors were rubber insulated and the cable was covered with a woven sheath. There is still a lot of this wire in some pre WW2 homes.

Quote:
1922-Invented Romex®Brand* non-metallic sheathed cable at the company's Rome, New York, facility. (*A trademark formerly owned by General Cable, now owned by Southwire Company.)
From General Cable History
http://www.generalcable.com/GeneralC...mpany/History/

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