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Old 11-07-2009, 10:51 PM   #1
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Swapping old 3ways with new (different screw color configuration on new switch)


I have recently started to swap out some old switches, one of which is a 3way set up.

These particular switches have two screws on the top, and one on the bottom left of each (all brass colored).

The first switch has two sets of black and white wires coming in (14-2's). One set has the white wire going to the top left screw and the black wire going to the bottom left screw. The second set of wires has the white wire cut (not being used) and has the black wire going to the top right screw.

The second switch also has two sets of wires coming in. One set that has the white wire going to the bottom left screw and the black wire going to the top left screw (opposite the first switch). The second set of wires also has the white wire cut (not being used) like the first switch, and the black wire going to the top right screw.

My question is how do I hook up a modern 3way switch to this. The new switch I have has two brass screws on the top (one on each side), a black screw on the bottom right, and a green screw (ground).

Also if there is no ground wire is this ok?

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Old 11-07-2009, 11:01 PM   #2
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Swapping old 3ways with new (different screw color configuration on new switch)


Look at the old switch carefully. Three way switches need 2 travelers and one common. Most times the switches will have (in VERY small print stamped into the plastic) "common" indicated.

Keep track of this wire as it will need to go to the common screw on the new switch. The two others are interchangeable so connect them to the two other screws-in no particular order.

As far as the ground, you should have one unless the house is real old or if all your wiring is in metal conduit. If it is in metal conduit, you don't need the ground wire because the conduit acts as the ground.

Hope this helps.

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Old 11-07-2009, 11:21 PM   #3
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Swapping old 3ways with new (different screw color configuration on new switch)


Im thinking since the one set of wires installed in both boxes on the right with the white wire cut, and the black on the top right in both boxes is the "traveler". The other set of wires were just swapped on either switch.

As for my ground, the house was build in 1957 so she has been around for awhile . The boxes are metal, but the wires are just ran in the open through the floor beems in the basement. There is a ground wire running to most of the lights in the basement that are also acting as juntion boxes. I have already started to pull new wire to these boxes for my computer and tv so I can have a three prong plug and the ground hooked up.

Just wasn't sure how important it is to have a ground hooked up with a light circuit.
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Old 11-07-2009, 11:33 PM   #4
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Swapping old 3ways with new (different screw color configuration on new switch)


Sorry, you kind of lost me there.
Each three way switch needs 2 travelers and one common. Just determine which ones are which and hook up the new switch the same way.
If your wiring (meaning the individual conductors) are just floating around in the walls and ceilings, you may have some issues larger than what can be solved here. Even though the boxes may be metal, if there is not metal conduit run and somehow making contact all the way back to the service panel then the boxes are not grounded.

If you can post some pictures, it would help clarify.
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Old 11-08-2009, 09:34 AM   #5
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Swapping old 3ways with new (different screw color configuration on new switch)


Sorry I did kind of go on a tangent there. Hopefully these few pics can solve the issue with the switches.

The ground im not too worried about I guess, all of the boxes down in the basement have a single ground wire running in and out of each box that leads back to the bus bar in the panal. I could possibly at some point find which of those boxes has the wires running to the 3 way switches, and pull a ground later.

Anyways here are the pics,

Here is the first switch




Second switch








Last edited by Michblaze02; 11-08-2009 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 11-08-2009, 09:39 AM   #6
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Swapping old 3ways with new (different screw color configuration on new switch)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Michblaze02 View Post
Sorry I did kind of go on a tangent there. Hopefully these few pics can solve the issue with the switches.

The ground im not too worried about I guess, all of the boxes down in the basement have a single ground wire running in and out of each box that leads back to the bus bar in the panal. I could possibly at some point find which of those boxes has the wires running to the 3 way switches, and pull a ground later.

Anyways here are the pics,

Here is the first switch
http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s283/Tblaze02/DSCN3332.jpg
http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s...2/DSCN3334.jpg

Second switch
http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s...2/DSCN3335.jpg
http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s...2/DSCN3337.jpg

Sorry, I tried to link the pics so the show in the post but for some reason it wont work for me.


nevermind
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Old 11-08-2009, 09:44 AM   #7
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Swapping old 3ways with new (different screw color configuration on new switch)


I would say the two black wires are your travelers and the white is common(Black scew) try that and see if it works never seen a 3 way thet looked like that.
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Old 11-08-2009, 10:16 AM   #8
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Swapping old 3ways with new (different screw color configuration on new switch)


Also if thet white wire in be back is not being used put a wirenut on it
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Old 11-08-2009, 12:25 PM   #9
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Swapping old 3ways with new (different screw color configuration on new switch)


Jezz.,

I have see that set up many time like that .,

Ok here what you will do let start at the first photo .,

the first conductor on left side { you will see white conductor is not hook up } that is your common source the other two is your shuttle { traveler } conductor that is straght foward hook up and that is what we called three way switch loop.

now at second photo .,

The white conductor on left side that go to bottom screw ok that is your common while the other two is shuttle conductors that should work

for some reason if the three way switch act funky just swap one white and single black conductor on right side { only if both not working right }

that should do the trick if other issue just holler and there is total of 9 tries to get both three way switch working but if only at one spot there is 3 tries but I am pretty sure if you follow the directions you should have this done in first shot btw that is old frontloader switch that kinda spooky if not carefull.

Merci,marc
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Old 11-08-2009, 12:59 PM   #10
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Swapping old 3ways with new (different screw color configuration on new switch)


Take the wires off of the old switch one at a time and label each wire;
you may use "top right", "bottom left" etc.

If you could not identify the common terminal, use a multimeter set to
ohms (or an ohmmeter) to test continuity between the switch terminals
(two at a time). One combination will register no continuity for both
switch positions. These are the traveler terminals. The other terminal
is the common terminal.

The wire that came from the common terminal goes on the dark screw
of your new switch (if that switch did not have a dark terminal you
would have to do the same multimeter tests to find its common terminal).
The other two (traveler) wires do not have to match positions like "top right".
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Stop wasting time re-adjusting the pattern. Have several lawn sprinklers, one for each pattern.

Last edited by AllanJ; 11-08-2009 at 10:23 PM.
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Old 11-08-2009, 02:17 PM   #11
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Swapping old 3ways with new (different screw color configuration on new switch)


Im finally trying to give this a go, so far it sort of works . Is there a possibility of causing an issue with flip flopping the wires around to see if it works, or is it just a matter of how they transfer the power to each other?

Think I got it now, I tried AllenJ's method on the old switch to find which was the actual common. Thank you all for the help, i'll have more issues in the future im sure.

Here is my set up on the new switches.

Switch 1


Switch 2


Last edited by Michblaze02; 11-08-2009 at 02:44 PM.
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