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Old 03-11-2012, 05:31 PM   #16
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Replacing A 3way Electrical Switch.


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Originally Posted by RDS1958 View Post
You need a multi tester to check the wires in each box and the light box to find the source or always hot wire...then follow one of the diagrams provided in the replies here..the idea is this: the source HOT wire goes to the common conductor on one 3 way (even if it enters thru the light box it has to continue to one of the switches first) and then you run travellers from the other two terminals on the switch to the corrsponding two terminals on the other 3 way then the common of that second 3 way goes to the light which completes the circuit...the other terminal of the light gets the neutral of course ...what seems odd is one three way had a red whire indicated a 3 conductor cable but this wire didnt show up in the second switch box normally the red and white wires are from 3 cable and are the travellers...the black wires are either the source wire or the switch wire to the light...sounds like someone is using two 14-2 cables in place of 14-3 cable for part of the run..I did this myself when I had plenty of 14-2 and didnt want to waste it and go buy 14-3 I just snipped off one of the white wires (not connected to anything)
That is confusing to us too. Your idea is a new one to consider. We will definately try this (eliminating one of the white wires). Thanks for the suggestion.

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Old 03-11-2012, 05:34 PM   #17
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Replacing A 3way Electrical Switch.


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Following are three common setups for 3-way switch configuration. Depending on whether the ALWAYS HOT wire is coming into a switch box or the load(light) box:
Diagram 3 is where incoming power(ALWAYS HOT WIRE) comes into the load box.

Diagram 1 is where incoming power(ALWAYS HOT WIRE) comes into one of the 3-way switch boxes box and the other 3-way switch is AFTER the load.

Diagram 2 is where incoming power(ALWAYS HOT WIRE) comes into one of the 3-way switch boxes box and the other 3-way switch is before the LOAD
I appreciate the diagrams. They make everything easier to understand. Where does the 4wire switch fit in?
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:39 PM   #18
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Replacing A 3way Electrical Switch.


A switch with 4 wires connected to it can mean it is a 4 way switch or is a multi-function switch if it has more than one toggle to it.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:40 PM   #19
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Replacing A 3way Electrical Switch.


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when you put the 'old switches' back, you got the common wire of the hall switch on a traveller screw
Sure. But with two black wires and two white wires, none of which are metering at 120v, which one is the common? And with 4 gold screws, two on each end, which one is the traveler?
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:40 PM   #20
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Replacing A 3way Electrical Switch.


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Originally Posted by tribe_fan View Post
Have you answered Joed's question? There has to be a third switch somewhere. To simplify three ways, I like to think as input power goes to the common of one switch, and the load goes to the common of the other 3 way switch.

Four way's go in the middle, and there can be as many as you want.
We thought so too but aren't finding one.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:42 PM   #21
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Replacing A 3way Electrical Switch.


On a 4 way you have two travelers, no common.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:43 PM   #22
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Replacing A 3way Electrical Switch.


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Are you renting?
No, we own the apartment.
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:19 PM   #23
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Replacing A 3way Electrical Switch.


if there were 2 cables at the '4 way' switch box, each cable should land on one side of the 4 way switch, ie left 2 and right 2 not top 2 or bottom 2
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:38 PM   #24
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Replacing A 3way Electrical Switch.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Techy View Post
if there were 2 cables at the '4 way' switch box, each cable should land on one side of the 4 way switch, ie left 2 and right 2 not top 2 or bottom 2
No,, not necessarily. Depending on the brand you use, the traveller sets could be top and bottom or left and right. Either way, the screws will be color-coded so you'll know.

@OP are you sure that the old switch located at the 4 wires controlled that set of lights? And are you sure it was a 4-way switch there originally? And did you remove and/or change any connections once the switches were off?

All that being said and assuming that this is a 4-way, this is most likely what is happening: the 4-way switch has two blacks and two whites available. They are obviously the traveler sets. Following the instructions on your switch, connect the two sets properly. This would mean that the red is feeding power through to the 3-way switch at the end of the line. So, at your 3-way switch, the red is the common and the black and white are the travelers.
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:52 PM   #25
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Replacing A 3way Electrical Switch.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Techy View Post
if there were 2 cables at the '4 way' switch box, each cable should land on one side of the 4 way switch, ie left 2 and right 2 not top 2 or bottom 2
you are incorrect....
A 4-way switch has the conductors from one cable to both top screws on each side of the 4-way then both conductors from the other cable to bottom screws on each side of the 4-way ,
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Replacing A 3way Electrical Switch.-4-way-switch-wiring-diagram.jpg  
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:55 PM   #26
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Replacing A 3way Electrical Switch.


A few more 4 ways
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Replacing A 3way Electrical Switch.-4-way-power-light.jpg   Replacing A 3way Electrical Switch.-4wayswitchdiagram2.jpg   Replacing A 3way Electrical Switch.-wiring-4-way-switch.jpg  
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:56 PM   #27
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Replacing A 3way Electrical Switch.





I guess it does depend on manufacturer, my bad.
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:59 PM   #28
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Replacing A 3way Electrical Switch.


Chris: which wire on the kitchen switch is your ALWAYS HOT wire?
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:59 AM   #29
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Replacing A 3way Electrical Switch.


Only one toggle. We have renters so it will be a few days before we can get in to try any of these ideas. Keeping my fingers crossed.
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Old 05-19-2012, 11:09 PM   #30
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Replacing A 3way Electrical Switch.


I'm sorry that I left you all hanging for so long. We did bring in an electrician who ended up going into the attic to locate a third switch. He did find it, located in a spare bedroom (an odd place). Thanks to all who gave advice & shared your wisdom. You definately know your stuff. Unfortunately in our case, it was a sort of treasure hunt.

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