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Old 11-12-2007, 09:51 PM   #1
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hi folks, newbie here. have a ques. regarding 3-ways. i recently wanted to change the s swtiches by my back door, bought new white ones. 2 of the switches have a black wire connecting them together, one is the porch light and one is the garage light(outside the door),when you ;eave the swith in thr garae on you can contol it from the back door. when you turn the other one on the porch light goes out and the other stays on , theose have black and whit. the middle swich is my inside ceiling fan 3way with a swtch across the kitchen .this swtich has a red,black white. they are eagle brand. the new white ones are frome lowes-cooper brand. when i changed the switches .one wire at a time. the white wires were on the black screws the blacks were on the brass .when i put them in exactly, the porch light stayed on ,somehow the swtich was by -passed ,and the kithchen light (the middle swtch) on did not workae all the only one that worked was the garage light. I had a similar problem in the hallway sithing the old switches for new white ones(again cooper) in the hall, put in the new swtich (also a 3-way it was replacing) lost the 3 way capacity,now you can only put the light on and off from the swtich that initiated it ,can't turn it on here and walk down the hall and trun it off ther??is something different with the new swtches? seems the new swithes from cooper don't work like the inesthat are already there, mostly eagle? I spray painted them and put them back,all is well. any ideas why the new swtiches did not work? I am stumped,and am not very electrically savvy.

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Old 11-13-2007, 10:07 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by tcseacliff View Post
hi folks, newbie here. have a ques. regarding 3-ways. i recently wanted to change the s swtiches by my back door, bought new white ones. 2 of the switches have a black wire connecting them together, one is the porch light and one is the garage light(outside the door),when you ;eave the swith in thr garae on you can contol it from the back door. when you turn the other one on the porch light goes out and the other stays on , theose have black and whit. the middle swich is my inside ceiling fan 3way with a swtch across the kitchen .this swtich has a red,black white. they are eagle brand. the new white ones are frome lowes-cooper brand. when i changed the switches .one wire at a time. the white wires were on the black screws the blacks were on the brass .when i put them in exactly, the porch light stayed on ,somehow the swtich was by -passed ,and the kithchen light (the middle swtch) on did not workae all the only one that worked was the garage light. I had a similar problem in the hallway sithing the old switches for new white ones(again cooper) in the hall, put in the new swtich (also a 3-way it was replacing) lost the 3 way capacity,now you can only put the light on and off from the swtich that initiated it ,can't turn it on here and walk down the hall and trun it off ther??is something different with the new swtches? seems the new swithes from cooper don't work like the inesthat are already there, mostly eagle? I spray painted them and put them back,all is well. any ideas why the new swtiches did not work? I am stumped,and am not very electrically savvy.
ok i am there with you! I was going to post the same question. I simply replaced switches and kept the same wiring scheme and have the same problem... the three ways dont do what they're supposed to do. If switch A is on, switch B will not turn it off. If switch A is off, switch B WILL turn it on. I could figure it out I'm sure if i diagrammed it but KNOW someone where has the answer

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Old 11-13-2007, 10:45 AM   #3
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Are you using the right type of switch? A normal light swith is a single pole switch (2 screws/terminals with ground screw). A 3-way switch is a double pole switch (3 screws/terminals with ground screw). One of the three way switches will receive the power feed and connect to two travelers. The other 3-way switch will receive the two travelers and have a wire to the light.
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Old 11-13-2007, 12:22 PM   #4
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the cooper 3-ways have 4 screws (one black) and a green ground screw. when you transfer wire for wire color for color, they don't work right,very puzzleing. I' thinking there is a code change somewhere within the switch industry, cause these switches from cooper, don't perform when you switch wires one a a time.
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Old 11-13-2007, 12:45 PM   #5
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Check out this link:

http://www.selfhelpandmore.com/switchoutlet/3way/

Note: You need to determine where the power source is located. It can be at the light or in either of the switch boxes then select the appropriate link.
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Old 11-13-2007, 12:49 PM   #6
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I will research that great link,but can you explain why the new switches do not switch like the old ones,even when you switch them over screw for screw,color for color? what does the white on the black screw designate? my switches have the white on a black screw.
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Old 11-13-2007, 12:50 PM   #7
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Well you can't wire a single pole switch wrong changing wire for wire and about the only thing you can do to a 3 - way is get the wrong wire on the common (dark colored) screw so I would say that is the only way the new switches do not work correctly (wrong wire on the common) If you are getting the right wires interchanged on the common screw the travelers don't matter. A 3-way is a 3 way at that point.
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Old 11-13-2007, 12:51 PM   #8
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so my switches with black screws, what does that make the white wire attached,common or hot?
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:00 PM   #9
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A white wire attached to the black screw means it should be a constant hot coming from the fixture box where the power originates for creating a switch loop. The black going back to the light in the same cable is the switched hot but there is a bunch of ways this could done and a bunch of ways this could be done that are not conventional to proper methods.

I'm sorry but I really couldn't follow how the switches were wired in your first post. I'll look at that some more today and get back with you.
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:07 PM   #10
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Sorry just realized you asked a question. All wires attached to a switch are hot wires some are switched hots and on one three way dark screw (common screw) will recieve the constant hot the other dark screw on the 2nd 3 way will have the switched hot going to the light. Or it could be vice versa the 2nd 3 way after constant power enters the 1st 3-way box could be carried thru to the second three way. In your case most likely the switched hot is on the opposite 3 - way and the black coming back in the 14/3 is wirenutted to the black in the cable going back to the fixture. This will be your switched hot. You can easily verify all this with a voltage tester.
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:16 PM   #11
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the switch for the garage has a ground,white and black, that black connects over to the porch switch,which has a black and white to the porch fixture,so that now fixture has 2 blacks and a white. the problem is the 3-ways sold at lowes have 4 screws .Is it possible those swtiches were not 3-ways? i did not see any others beside those and single pole ,it said 3-way.
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:22 PM   #12
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i just put the garage light on from inside the house. if I leave the garage in the off position the house switch will not work. also when the porch light is switche on while the garage light is on it goes off and vice-versa.I guess the black that connect the two switches does that. I must say,I don't know how you guys keep this crap straight, I would probably burn my house down if I went any further,so i just painted the swithces white and returned the white ones to lowes, I'll get over it.
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:24 PM   #13
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If you have 4 screws plus the green ground (5 screws total) then you have 4 way switches and that is your problem. This is a common problem with lowes and HD stocking bins incorrectly or custormers screwing things up. 4 ways allow for switching lights from 3 or more locations.

3 way switch




4 way switch

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Old 11-13-2007, 01:30 PM   #14
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tha is the problem!! I wish I was skilled enough to post that switch like you did, yes the swithes I bought must have been 4way, also ,the swithes from lowes, the holes in the back are to small to just push the wire on ,the duplexes that were pushe in the holes would not fit these new ones so i put them on the srcews ,is that wrong? were these made for a smaller guage on purpose?
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:43 PM   #15
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No you probably have 12 awg... many backstabs (holes) will only accept 14 awg which is the smallest allowed wire for branch circuits in your home.

The picture (icon) with the mountain in it on the post or edit page is where you post images.

You find an image (as long as it isn't in a pdf file) and right click on it... some browsers will say copy image location and some wont so click on properties and copy the location site.. then come back and click on the image icon and paste it, then click ok. It will put the image in your post but make sure you have the cursor located where you want the image to occur. You can go here and practice in the test forum if you like.....go to google and use google images to practice with.

http://selfhelpforums.com/

Right click on one of the images I posted and you will see what I mean.

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