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OmegaRed1723 10-09-2009 12:19 PM

Need Help Troubleshooting 3-way + Single Pole Switch Install
Hi folks—first post here. I've been replacing all the builder grade electrical in my house with decorative Lutron switches, dimmers, and receptacles. Until now I've had no problems, replacing more than 30 switches and dimmers (mix of single pole, 3-way, and 4-way). But I came across a 2 gang box with wiring unlike anything else in the house. After changing the switches, they no longer function.

The box has two 12/3 and two 12/2 cables coming into it. See picture below:

The single pole switch on the right controls a single keyless fixture in our garage. The 3-way switch on the left controls a receptacle. I connected the wires on the new switches EXACTLY as they were connected to the old Leviton switches (I labeled each wire prior to making the change). Neither the light nor the outlet function after changing the switches.

Notes: There is a black hot wire from the far left 14/3 cable that is connected to the right switch. Also, the 3-way switch does not have a second switch accompanying it. Not sure of the significance of either...:confused:

Again, I connected the wires to the new Lutron switches EXACTLY as they were connected to the old switches. If anyone could help shed some light on this I would appreciate it. I can take more photos if necessary. Thanks in advance!

Code05 10-09-2009 01:21 PM

See if you can resize your picture. It makes the screen huge and hard to read.

HandyPete 10-09-2009 02:55 PM

You have some testing to do!...

Supplies: Multimeter for voltage and continuity, pen and paper

1) locate the hot and neutral from the panel (maybe more than one).

2) locate the two wires that go to the keyless.

3) locate the two wires that go to the receptacle.

4) tell us how many wires are left and where they are in the photo!


oh..and I really don't like that black wire from the left without being together with a neutral! (very suspicious)

joed 10-09-2009 07:09 PM

Can you put the old switches back make it work?
Did you undo the wire nuts?
Exactly what doesn't work? The light won't turn on? Won't turn off?

300zx 10-09-2009 07:57 PM

What is the blue tape on the red wire?

OmegaRed1723 10-09-2009 08:24 PM

Haven't been home this evening to trace the wires. Question for Pete: when you say to 'locate the wires', do you mean trace them all the way to the electrical panel?

To clarify on what isn't working: the left switch (3-way) is supposed to operate a receptacle. However, when I turn the switch on or off there is no power to the receptacle (checked with multimeter). The right switch is supposed to power a keyless light fixture. It does not power on/off.

I have not tried putting the old switches back inI may test that tomorrow to check the continuity of the wiring. But mechanical switches are mechanical switches, and the odds that not one but both of the new ones are defective (out of the 30+ I've already installed) seems pretty remote.

The neutral wires fastened with wire nuts have not been touched at all by me. They were already secured in that fashion when I arrived on the scene.

The blue tape is on the red wire that's attached to the constant terminal on the 3-way switch. It was there when I opened things up, and I assume it was there to distinguish the constant wire from the other one. Why, I'm not sure, since it doesn't appear to be a 3-way installation. That's why I'm so confused.

I'm just a simple DIYer. I've replaced my share of switches, and was competent enough to be able to do almost my entire house with ease. This box may prove to be above my pay grade, but I'd like to give it my best shot before calling in professional help! Thanks again for the pointers.

joed 10-09-2009 10:25 PM

Switches are switches except when three ways are involved. The common screw can be in a different position so if you transfer the wires by position the new one may not work. The common screw is different between brands sometimes.

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