Three Way Switch Problem - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum


Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-07-2009, 02:35 PM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 15
Rewards Points: 10
Default

three way switch problem


I have an electrical problem I can't find the fix for.
I have two lights hooked in parallel on two three way switches.
There is a problem with voltage to the sockets when the light is turned off. Usually about 50 volts.
I became aware of this when I replace the bulbs with LED lights.
They always glowed a little, so got to checking.

There are three switches in one box one is a normal single switch the other is a three way setup that doesn't have the same problem. All are wired to the same power and neutral.

The main, with the three switches, has 120 volts and neutral coming into the box. box,
The 120 volt is wired to the common on this switch. the other two switch connections are wired to the second switch with the red and white of a three wire . The common on that switch is wired with the black back to the other box, where it is connected to the load on the wire to the lights.

I have a two wire from the this box to the lights.
The neutral from the lights is wired to the neutral that comes in with my 120 supply.
I replace the three wire from box to box,thinking short, and both switches. I remove the 120 volt supply from the main switch and the 50 volts goes away.
I check the neutral(the supply) to a ground on a plugin and I get no voltage on the neutral.
I am totally confused on this.

Scav.

Advertisement


Last edited by Scavanger; 02-07-2009 at 03:21 PM.
Scavanger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 02:55 PM   #2
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,294
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

three way switch problem


You need to rewrite your post.

Break it up into smaller, logical segments/paragraphs and use proper teminology. I tried to do it for you but had to many questions.

The you are using "common" in three diffent ways.

In this case, use common to refer to the common terminal of the 3w switch.

The white wire of the 2 wire system is the neutral.

And...where does the cable supplying the lights (switch leg) come from?



---------------

I have three wire from one switch box to the other.

OK

The main, I will call it, has 120 volts and common coming into the box.

The supply. Black hot, white neutral...OK

Total of three switches in this box, all wired to the same power and
common.

OK

The 120 volt is wired to the common on this switch. the other two are wired to the second switch with the red and white of the three wire .

OK


The common is wired with the black back to the main box, where it is connected to the load on the wire to the lights.

I lost you here. Explain exactly what this common is.

The common from the lights is wired to the common that comes in with my 120 supply.


Common = Neutral...OK


I have a two wire from the main box to the lights.

The 3 gang switch box, right? OK

I replace the three wire from box to box, and both switches.

Why???


I remove the 120 volt supply from the main switch and the 50 volts goes away.

OK

I check the common to a ground on a plug in and I get no voltage on the common.

Common = neutral?? If so, you will not get a reading from neutral to ground.

Of the three switches in the main box one is a normal single switch the other is a three way setup that doesn't have the same problem.

OK.

Clear up my confusion from above.

Advertisement


Last edited by 220/221; 02-07-2009 at 03:09 PM.
220/221 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 02:59 PM   #3
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 15
Rewards Points: 10
Default

three way switch problem


AH! ok sorry obout the neutral screwup. will fix so it makes sence.

Scav.

OK , rewrote it , hope I am a little more clear and correct.

Last edited by Scavanger; 02-07-2009 at 03:11 PM.
Scavanger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 03:24 PM   #4
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,294
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

three way switch problem


Quote:
The common is wired with the black back to the main box, where it is connected to the load on the wire to the lights.
I lost you here. Explain exactly what this common refers to.


OK...I got it. The common on the second 3Wayswitch .

Ok

Wiring sounds correct. I'll be back.

Last edited by 220/221; 02-07-2009 at 03:32 PM.
220/221 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 03:36 PM   #5
Member
 
joed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Welland, Ontario
Posts: 8,376
Rewards Points: 3,546
Blog Entries: 4
Default

three way switch problem


What type of switch are these? Are they illuminated switches? If they are anything other than regular snap switches then you don't actually have any problem.
You are probably also using a digital meter. It could be a phantom voltage from the high impoedance meter you are using.

Last edited by joed; 02-07-2009 at 03:39 PM.
joed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 03:42 PM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,294
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

three way switch problem


So.....you are reading 50 volts, line to neutral (black to white, hot tab to screw shell) at the light fixture sockets ?

Any voltage to ground?

My first test would be to take the switch(es) out of the equation via wirenuts. Then you are dealing with wiring only.

Quote:
It could be a phantom voltage from the high impoedance meter you are using.
He said the lights glowed.
220/221 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 03:43 PM   #7
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 15
Rewards Points: 10
Default

three way switch problem


Has to be voltage, the LED lights glow.

Scav.
Scavanger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 03:48 PM   #8
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 15
Rewards Points: 10
Default

three way switch problem


Using normal snap switches. Note , if I remove 120 volts from the circuit the voltage goes away .
I checked from center contact in the socket to the shell. Voltage. Checked between a ground in an outlet to the center contact , voltage. Yes digital meter, will get my analog out and check again.

Scav.
Scavanger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 03:53 PM   #9
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 15
Rewards Points: 10
Default

three way switch problem


analog meter,,, voltage.

Scav
Scavanger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 04:01 PM   #10
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 15
Rewards Points: 10
Default

three way switch problem


removed red and 120 volt from main switch. Hooked these together.
on secondary switch. remove white . Throw switch 120 volts at socket. Throw switch again 50 volts at socket.

Is there some way that a wiring problem somewhere else in the house could cause this. My box is a 32 yr old Square D Q O box... the neutral and ground strips are both grounded to the box.
The confusing part is I have not found the problem anywhere else,,,,, yet.

Scav.
Scavanger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 04:07 PM   #11
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 15
Rewards Points: 10
Default

three way switch problem


double checked my breaker box. ground and neutral strips are one and the same. Insulated from box.

Scav
Scavanger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 05:18 PM   #12
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,294
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

three way switch problem


In the second switch box, is there any other wiring besides the 3 wire cable?


1. Remove both switches.

2. In the 3 gang box, wirenut the black hot to the red going to the other switch.

3. At the other switchbox, wirenut the red to the black and check voltage.

If there is voltage,

1. In the 3 gang box, wirenut the black hot to the white going to the other switch.

2. At the other switch box, wirenut the white to the black and check voltage.

Is there a ground wire in this system? Alway check voltage to ground and to neutral. This help determine which way the current is coming from.
220/221 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 05:29 PM   #13
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 15
Rewards Points: 10
Default

three way switch problem


There is no ground connected, only neutral
I am going to unhook the lights and switch from the power and neutral coming in. Will take and extension cord and use a couple jumpers to hook the neutral and the 120 from a plug in to the neutral of the light and the common of the first switch. If I get rid of the voltage this way I know there is some kind of feedback.
If this doesn't eliminate the voltage I will try what you just suggested.


Scav.
Scavanger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 09:16 PM   #14
Member
 
joed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Welland, Ontario
Posts: 8,376
Rewards Points: 3,546
Blog Entries: 4
Default

three way switch problem


About the only way get a true 50 volts at the light socket is to have something in series with light. Could the switch loop have been tapped to try and power something else? How much voltage do you measure across the switch with the bulb in and removed?

Tell us exactly how these lights and switches are cabled/wired.
joed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2009, 12:19 AM   #15
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,294
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

three way switch problem


Quote:
Tell us exactly how these lights and switches are cabled/wired.
He did, in a roundabout way.

Power and sw leg in a 3gang box, 3 wire dead ended at the other end, red and white travelers, black returning to sw leg.

Advertisement

220/221 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
3 way switch question cyberfreak95 Electrical 7 01-10-2009 06:01 PM
Dimmer Switch Vandiyan Electrical 21 12-15-2008 08:23 PM
Problem changing light switch grgryl Electrical 14 08-10-2008 02:26 PM
3 way switch problem Rschrei518 Electrical 2 01-04-2008 01:35 AM
combo switch problem electric1 Electrical 2 06-11-2004 11:11 AM




Top of Page | View New Posts