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Old 10-01-2011, 04:11 PM   #1
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Three-way switch issue...


OK, rather than hunt through past posts to find one with my specific situation, I'm going to describe what I have and see if anyone can help. I recently replaced two three-way switches and the light fixture they serve. The route the power takes is power supply>switch #1>3-wire cable #1>fixture>3-wire cable #2>switch #2. As things stand right now:

-The black wire from the power supply is attached to the common terminal of switch #1.
-The white wire from the power supply is wire-nutted to 3-wire cable #1.
-Red wire and black wire from 3-wire cable #1 are attached to switch #1 to the two non-common terminals.
-At the fixture, red wires of 3-wire cables #1&2 are wire-nutted. White wire from 3-wire cable #1 is wire-nutted to white wire from fixture. Black wire from 3-wire cable #1 is wire-nutted to white wire of 3-wire cable #2. Black wire from 3-wire cable #2 is wire-nutted to black wire from fixture.
-At switch #2, black wire from 3-wire cable #2 is attached to common terminal. Red and white are attached to non-common terminals.

I know that looks confusing, but I want to be specific. Now, here's what happens:

Switch #1- on Switch#2- on = Light on
Switch #1- off Switch #2- off = Light on
Switch #1- on Switch #2-off = Light on
Switch #1- off Switch #2-on = Light off

Basically, both switches can turn the light off and on, but only independent of each other. So, you can't turn the light on at one and then turn it off at the other, defeating the purpose of a 3-way switch. Before you ask, I swapped out both switches with the old ones that I knew worked and the same thing happened. I don't know what else I can try. I have followed wiring diagrams I've seen for this particular situation. Anyone know what I'm doing wrong?

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Old 10-01-2011, 04:21 PM   #2
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Three-way switch issue...


Did this three way circuit work before you changed the switches and lamp?

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Old 10-01-2011, 04:26 PM   #3
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Three-way switch issue...


The common from switch 2 has to connect to the light.
The white in cable one goes to other side of light and is wire nutted to the incoming neutral.

Last edited by a7ecorsair; 10-01-2011 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 10-01-2011, 05:13 PM   #4
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Three-way switch issue...


1- Yes. It did work before.
2- The common from switch #2 (black wire) does connect to the lamp and the neutral (white) is attached to other side of light and wire-nutted to incoming neutral. It doesn't make any sense why it's not working.
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Old 10-01-2011, 05:47 PM   #5
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Three-way switch issue...


Ok simple when at the fixture the black wire#1 ? switched to white wire it became a traveler with red wire and the black from #2became the final switch leg so at switch #2 black is on the common terminal.
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Old 10-01-2011, 05:58 PM   #6
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Three-way switch issue...


whatsup - I'm not quite sure what you're suggesting that I do. Could you clarify?
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Old 10-01-2011, 08:00 PM   #7
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Three-way switch issue...


Quote:
Originally Posted by crh1 View Post

-The black wire from the power supply is attached to the common terminal of switch #1. OK

-The white wire from the power supply is wire-nutted to 3-wire cable #1.
To the white wire of cable 1

-Red wire and black wire from 3-wire cable #1 are attached to switch #1 to the two non-common terminals. OK

-At the fixture, red wires of 3-wire cables #1&2 are wire-nutted. OK

-White wire from 3-wire cable #1 is wire-nutted to white wire from fixture. OK

-Black wire from 3-wire cable #1 is wire-nutted to white wire of 3-wire cable #2. OK BTW it should have black tape at each end to ID it as a re-identified wire

-Black wire from 3-wire cable #2 is wire-nutted to black wire from fixture. OK
-At switch #2, black wire from 3-wire cable #2 is attached to common terminal. OK

-Red and white are attached to non-common terminals. OK
Are you sure you have correctly identified the common screw on the switch? Your wiring appears correct.
How do you know which screw is common?
BTW - Three way switches do not have an ON of OFF, they merely have UP and Down.
You have two 3 wire cables at your fixture, are you sure you have correctly identified which one goes to switch 1 and which one goes to switch 2?

Last edited by a7ecorsair; 10-01-2011 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 10-01-2011, 08:12 PM   #8
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Three-way switch issue...


I feel confident about the common screw on the switches. They are black and labeled "common" on the back. I see your point - up=on, down=off.

To try and isolate the problem, I attached the switch #1 to the fixture by itself and left the red wire free so that it was in essence a two-way switch. It worked fine. It's only when I try to attach the second switch that it doesn't do what it's supposed to do. Weird.
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Old 10-01-2011, 08:29 PM   #9
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Three-way switch issue...


Quote:
Originally Posted by crh1 View Post
I feel confident about the common screw on the switches. They are black and labeled "common" on the back. I see your point - up=on, down=off.

To try and isolate the problem, I attached the switch #1 to the fixture by itself and left the red wire free so that it was in essence a two-way switch. It worked fine. It's only when I try to attach the second switch that it doesn't do what it's supposed to do. Weird.
OK, leave the red wire free and disconnected from cable 2 red.
Take cable 1 black and connect it to cable 2 white.
Connect cable 2 black back to the light.
Put switch 1 in the position that turned the light on when it was by itself
Go to switch 2 and see if it will turn the light on and off.
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Old 10-01-2011, 09:42 PM   #10
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Three-way switch issue...


Ok this doesn't have to be this complicated? go back to your original post and refrence the switch positions. Now stop and think specifically about switch 2, you have a travler and switch leg switched!

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