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Old 09-09-2012, 09:53 AM   #16
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Three way switch I can't figure our for the life of me


I have a feeling the white in the second box actually goes to the light. You don't have enough wires between the switches. You need a neutral along with the travelers.

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Old 09-09-2012, 07:29 PM   #17
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Three way switch I can't figure our for the life of me


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Originally Posted by jrclen View Post
I have a feeling the white in the second box actually goes to the light. You don't have enough wires between the switches. You need a neutral along with the travelers.
It worked before he changed the switches...he's got enough wire....just not in the right places.
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Old 09-09-2012, 07:49 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by S65b40 View Post
The wire in the second box was actually just dangling there tucked in the back. It wasn't even used in the original installation. No cap no nothing. Just tucked behind ...
I'd be willing to bet that it may have fallen out of a wirenut, or been touching a bare ground wire tucked in the back of the box. That would have allowed the light to "work" although not correctly wired.

Try touching that loose white wire to the bare ground wire, and see if the light works.

You may have to find a neutral to connect it to.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:26 AM   #19
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Three way switch I can't figure our for the life of me


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Originally Posted by hammerlane View Post
Regarding the cable that has the travelers.... does it travel from box 1 to box 2 thru each light fixture or does it travel directly from box 1 to box 2? The diagram below shows the traveler cable going thru each light fixture.



In box #1 you say "2 white wires tied together (white from panel and white to ceiling light)" What is occurring with the black conductor which is in the same cable as the white conductor that is going to the light? See diagram below.
Wow awesome diagram. I just took a peek deeper inside and saw the black conductor wire u drew and it's just tucked in the back of the box no cap just cut and hanging there unconnected

Re the travler wires I have no idea if it goes thru the light or just directly to box 2. All I know is that I tied the two suspected travler white and black wires together (same jacket) In box 1 and took a multimeter to both white and black same jacket of box 2 and got continuity. So I know for sure they r travelers but don't know if it goes thru the light

Last edited by S65b40; 09-10-2012 at 01:36 AM.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:38 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by kbsparky View Post
I'd be willing to bet that it may have fallen out of a wirenut, or been touching a bare ground wire tucked in the back of the box. That would have allowed the light to "work" although not correctly wired.

Try touching that loose white wire to the bare ground wire, and see if the light works.

You may have to find a neutral to connect it to.
I went to home depot and one of the electricians told me the Same thing. Touched white to ground with the switches wired up right, and no success. They also told me to look for other neutrals In the Same box and tie the white in there but there were none.

Unless I didn't touch the right ground. I saw two grounds and touched both but what u said is very plausible. It was tucked way in the back and probably touching a ground until I pulled it out. I don't know what else to do

Last edited by S65b40; 09-10-2012 at 01:40 AM.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:44 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by hammerlane View Post
The diagram below shows the traveler cable going directly from box#1 to box #2
That black wire in box one was cut very short, sheath still on so it wasnt ever stripped or connected. I found or tucked way In the back of box 1

If u zoom in on box 1 picture I supplied, u can see that black wire behind the wire nutted white wires. It looks white but it's really black. It has white paint overspray on it.

Look carefully and u will see that loose wire on the right of the two whites.

It was left this way before I did the upgrades. What am I missing here?

Last edited by S65b40; 09-10-2012 at 01:50 AM.
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Old 09-10-2012, 05:42 AM   #22
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Three way switch I can't figure our for the life of me


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What am I missing here?
Have you looked in the light fixture boxes to make sure something has not come loose in there?
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Old 09-10-2012, 06:25 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by missouri bound View Post
it worked before he changed the switches...he's got enough wire....just not in the right places.
best advice so far
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Old 09-10-2012, 07:59 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S65b40 View Post
That black wire in box one was cut very short, sheath still on so it wasnt ever stripped or connected. I found or tucked way In the back of box 1

If u zoom in on box 1 picture I supplied, u can see that black wire behind the wire nutted white wires. It looks white but it's really black. It has white paint overspray on it.

Look carefully and u will see that loose wire on the right of the two whites.

It was left this way before I did the upgrades. What am I missing here?
You curled your wires around the screws of the switches, good, were they that way before the new switches were added? The only reason I ask is, your white wire in pic 2 has never been curled, I also see a lot of over spray in the box, but not on the copper of the same white wire, maybe lost a wire nut, but I also dont see the spring marks that a wire nut would make.
I'm wondering if you got a bad switch. just my two cents

Edit : In pic 1 is the black wire 14awg? The white wire in pic 2 appears to be 12awg? could be the angle I'm looking from

Last edited by Gac66610; 09-10-2012 at 08:04 AM. Reason: question
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:42 AM   #25
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Have you looked in the light fixture boxes to make sure something has not come loose in there?
nothing looks to have come loose. basically the old switches were the kind where they just plugged the wires directly into the back. The old switches had screws but none of them were used. They were from the 80s. I had a hard enough time getting the old wires to release from the switch and when i tried to stick them in they way they did on my new swtiches, i noticed the guages were different and they did not fit. Someone told me new code doesnt allow u to stick them directly in.

anyhow, the drawing you did is exactly what i have setup. the box 1 black wire is hanging there loose as it were before and so is the white one from box 2.

ive checked it over and over, looked at it a million times and im just clueless. ive wired the several other 3 way switches in my house the exact same way and all of them work. i even did a 4 way...i just cant get this one for some reason.
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:44 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Gac66610 View Post
You curled your wires around the screws of the switches, good, were they that way before the new switches were added? The only reason I ask is, your white wire in pic 2 has never been curled, I also see a lot of over spray in the box, but not on the copper of the same white wire, maybe lost a wire nut, but I also dont see the spring marks that a wire nut would make.
I'm wondering if you got a bad switch. just my two cents

Edit : In pic 1 is the black wire 14awg? The white wire in pic 2 appears to be 12awg? could be the angle I'm looking from

no that wire was never capped or used. it was tucked in the back. i tested my switches with multimeter and they are definitely good. even exchanged them for new ones just in case
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:16 AM   #27
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Check the connection of the two white wires under the wirenut. You may have one pulled loose or broken.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:34 AM   #28
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Check the connection of the two white wires under the wirenut. You may have one pulled loose or broken.

Checked...un capped and recapped the same way. its good...real hair puller here
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Old 09-10-2012, 06:10 PM   #29
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Three way switch I can't figure our for the life of me


You could start trouble shooting the circuit with your volt meter / ohm meter. Start with the switch where the source power is located. Work your way to the 2nd switch and then on to the light. Also check to see if the white wire at the light fixture actually provides a path back to the electric panel neutral bar.
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Old 09-10-2012, 07:42 PM   #30
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Well, how many lights? Could it be bad light bulbs? Just throwing stuff out there.
Maybe thats been suggested.

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