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Old 07-12-2012, 08:06 PM   #1
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Strange 3 way switch loop


I seem to have a strange 3 way switch loop. When I took down the old fixture, which had pretty crappy wiring to begin with (connections out of boxes etc.), everything looked normal. I thought I saw blacks to blacks and whites to whites. Easy enough right. Apparently I was wrong. When I got everything hooked up, the light came on. As soon as I flipped a switch, it popped the breaker. From what I see, there is no 3 wire that runs through the fixture. It only runs from switch to switch. All the diagrams that I have found show the red wire running through the fixture. Does this make any sense? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Old 07-12-2012, 08:14 PM   #2
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Strange 3 way switch loop


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I seem to have a strange 3 way switch loop. When I took down the old fixture, which had pretty crappy wiring to begin with (connections out of boxes etc.), everything looked normal. I thought I saw blacks to blacks and whites to whites. Easy enough right. Apparently I was wrong. When I got everything hooked up, the light came on. As soon as I flipped a switch, it popped the breaker. From what I see, there is no 3 wire that runs through the fixture. It only runs from switch to switch. All the diagrams that I have found show the red wire running through the fixture. Does this make any sense? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
how many wires at the fixture? Sounds like you have an old carter 3 way setup. Of course, you don't have to run the three wire through the fixture either.....



So did the light work BEFORE you touched it? IF so, why did you change the splice?


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Old 07-12-2012, 08:22 PM   #3
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Strange 3 way switch loop


Forget the first post, I'm guessing you have the feed at the light and a switch loop down to the first switch... and you made the splice up incorrectly...
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:36 PM   #4
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Strange 3 way switch loop


I changed it because of the improper splices that were there to begin with. I think that I need to pull the black power in and the black wire to the switch and isolate them from the rest of the blacks to the fixtures. Will try that tomorrow as I don't feel like crawling around in the attic right now.
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:39 PM   #5
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Strange 3 way switch loop


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I changed it because of the improper splices that were there to begin with. I think that I need to pull the black power in and the black wire to the switch and isolate them from the rest of the blacks to the fixtures. Will try that tomorrow as I don't feel like crawling around in the attic right now.
Um, the light worked before, now it doesn't , yet you claim the splices were improper... lol.... too funny.
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:40 PM   #6
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Strange 3 way switch loop


Typical mistake. People see a black and white connected together and think they need to "fix it" even though it was was working just fine.

What you have is a switch loop. The black power wire needs to connect to the switch white wire. Then the fixture connects to the power white wire and the switched black wire back from the switch.
It should look something like this.
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:59 PM   #7
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Strange 3 way switch loop


yup you flipped the switch and put a dead short between hot and neutral.
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:18 PM   #8
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Strange 3 way switch loop


Thanks for the diagram Joe. Any way that it could be wire with the black power wire to the black switch wire. I was pretty sure that there were no black to white connections. I would have marked any "special" connections like that. Also, there is another fixture connected as well, how does that play in?
Stickboy, by improper, as I said earlier, there were connections outside of the box, and the one wire going to the box, had no clamp. That does not include the other two which did not even enter through the box but rather through where the lights mounts. Sorry if I claimed them as problems. What do you suggest I call them?
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:31 PM   #9
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Strange 3 way switch loop


the black and the white going to the first three way could have been reversed. This is wrong of course but not much you can do about it without rewiring the whole setup. By any chance did the light have two whites hooked to it?
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:41 PM   #10
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Andrew, not sure about about the 2 whites. When I try again tomorrow, I will try to isolate those 2 blacks that I mentioned earlier. Should all the whites be ganged together then?
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:42 PM   #11
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Andrew, not sure about about the 2 whites. When I try again tomorrow, I will try to isolate those 2 blacks that I mentioned earlier. Should all the whites be ganged together then?
Without knowing what goes where, there is no possible way we can just tell you how to make the splice up.

Can you take a picture of the splice tomorrow? it generally helps, and makes this less painful.
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:50 PM   #12
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I will take pictures tomorrow.
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:27 AM   #13
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Strange 3 way switch loop


Al the whites should not be ganged together in the switch loop. One of them is being used as a hot. It is possible it was improperly used as the switched hot back from the switch. But that would mean two whites connected to the fixture.
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:16 PM   #14
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Strange 3 way switch loop


I did not get a chance to go up there, but I think I am starting to figure it out. I think i just got frustrated and stopped thinking. Let me pick your brains on another question. None of my lighting wiring has ground wires, or most of the house for that matter. Should I steer away from metal boxes and stick with plastic?
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:28 PM   #15
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I did not get a chance to go up there, but I think I am starting to figure it out. I think i just got frustrated and stopped thinking. Let me pick your brains on another question. None of my lighting wiring has ground wires, or most of the house for that matter. Should I steer away from metal boxes and stick with plastic?
honestly it doesn't matter, whatever you want to use.

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