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Old 02-17-2008, 09:22 AM   #1
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Novice Needs Help With 3 Way Switch


I have a three way switch in my breakfast nook that used to turn on the outside garage light - 120V. Since that is no longer used, I'd like to replace the three way with a receptacle, but I'm confused on how to safely do it. Three way switches have always confused me. Here is what I have coming out of the wall box. 12/3 - Black, Red and White. The black is seperated and continues out of the box. Here's how the three way was wired. Red one on side of the three way switch, the blacks were tied together and put on one pole of the other side of the switch, and the white was on the other pole on the same side of the switch that the black is on. How would I safely remove the three way switch and install a receptacle so that the circuit stays hot all the time. No need for a switch anymore, but do need the circuit to continue out to the garage.
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Raine

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Old 02-17-2008, 09:42 AM   #2
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Novice Needs Help With 3 Way Switch


Sounds like you are missing a wire. You said a 12-3 comes in, and the black ties to another black and leaves the box? Do you have a 12-3 and a 12-2 coming in to the box? I ask because there are a couple of ways a 3-way can be wired. If you have a 12-2 in the box, you need to determine if that is the power coming from the panel, or if it is the switch leg going to the light.

If all you have is a 12-3, then you will need to rewire the other 3-way box to get the result you want.. Please examine the box more thoroughly, and report back.

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Old 02-17-2008, 09:45 AM   #3
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Novice Needs Help With 3 Way Switch


Go over that wiring again. It reads like you are sayiing that there is only one 12-3 cable in the box, yet you mention two black wires.

Also, can you tell us what wires you have in the box at the other 3-way switch.
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:57 AM   #4
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Novice Needs Help With 3 Way Switch


Could be a "California 3 way". Neutral as switch leg set up.
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Old 02-17-2008, 06:21 PM   #5
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Novice Needs Help With 3 Way Switch


Well, I hooked the receptacle up like I thought it should go, and that is red/black are hot, white is neutral. I tied the two black wires together and attached them to the hot side of the receptacle. On the same hot side, I attached the red wire. On the neutral side, I attached the white wire. When I turned the breaker back on, it didn't trip. Good news, right? I thought so too! When I checked the receptacle, I noted that I have a significant voltage drop. When I plug in a lamp, it burns dimly. What could cause this?

I have 12/3 coming into the box (red/white/black) There is a seperate black going out the bottom of the box. I assumed it was hot.
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:03 PM   #6
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Novice Needs Help With 3 Way Switch


Quote:
Originally Posted by Raine View Post
Well, I hooked the receptacle up like I thought it should go, and that is red/black are hot, white is neutral. I tied the two black wires together and attached them to the hot side of the receptacle. On the same hot side, I attached the red wire. On the neutral side, I attached the white wire. When I turned the breaker back on, it didn't trip. Good news, right? I thought so too! When I checked the receptacle, I noted that I have a significant voltage drop. When I plug in a lamp, it burns dimly. What could cause this?

I have 12/3 coming into the box (red/white/black) There is a seperate black going out the bottom of the box. I assumed it was hot.
Check the light outside, I'm sure it is glowing dimly too! I think you have out your receptacle in series with the old existing light.

You should not have a black wire all by itself leaving the box. Don't assume anything. Sounds like the switch leg and power is coming into the box at the other 3-way switch. If that is the case, you need to CHECK the other switch for power. Then disconnect the old wire going to the old light. Wire the black from the power to the black in the 3-wire. Wire the white from the power to the white in the 3-wire. Cap the red at both ends. Put the receptacle on the black, white, and ground of the 3-wire.

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Old 02-17-2008, 10:34 PM   #7
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Novice Needs Help With 3 Way Switch


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Check the light outside, I'm sure it is glowing dimly too! I think you have out your receptacle in series with the old existing light.
Good call. If this is true, it should be an easy fix.
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:40 PM   #8
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Novice Needs Help With 3 Way Switch


Yep he is , I'm not sure what else would cause that symptom. All the wires he mentioned were connected to the switch so no neutral in that box. Unless that California thing was going on. Give us a description of the wires in the other switch box and we can help you get a neutral to the box you want the receptacle.

I would be for finding out what is up with that single black wire cause that ain't right.

Or better yet just do as INPHASE277 described.

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