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Old 01-04-2010, 10:56 PM   #1
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uncommon 3-way switch connection?


I'm trying to find a wiring diagram to re-wire a 3-way switch that has incoming power on 14-2 and then in the same box, 14-3 to the 3-way upstairs and a 14-2 wire to the light. All wiring diagrams in my wiring book (and via online searches) seem to be power>switch>light>switch or switch>light (connected to power source)>switch or power>switch> switch>light.
I took a picture of the wires before I disconnected wires to supply power from a different circuit and I think it's not going to be the same as before so the picture is creating some confusion (kind of a rat's next to decipher from a picture anyway). Can anyone share a diagram for this connection? Maybe this layout is a variation of the above layouts and I just don't understand the "electrical" flow and switching behind it, ie. travelers, etc.

>Edited 3-2-2010 and removed description of previous wiring since power is supplied from new circuit. <

Thanks and sorry for my ingorance when it comes to 3-way switches.


Last edited by 8roty; 03-02-2010 at 09:15 AM.
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Old 01-05-2010, 02:53 AM   #2
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uncommon 3-way switch connection?


http://www.thecircuitdetective.com/3and4wyinfo.htm

I do beleive that you will find your situation it diagram A.

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Old 01-05-2010, 07:59 AM   #3
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uncommon 3-way switch connection?


Not uncommon at all. Very common setup.

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Old 01-05-2010, 05:36 PM   #4
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uncommon 3-way switch connection?


I believe this is what you asked
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Old 01-06-2010, 09:41 AM   #5
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uncommon 3-way switch connection?


Quote:
Originally Posted by hayewe farm View Post
I believe this is what you asked
simple picture, and very helpful
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Old 02-28-2010, 11:51 PM   #6
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uncommon 3-way switch connection?


Tonight I finally was at the stage to make everything hot back at the electrical panel. My run includes a GFI at the 1st device and ends at the switch I had questions on in this thread. I rewired according to Joed's post, different from what the builder wired before. I flipped the breaker and reset the GFI and looked like things were good. 3 recessed lights above the fireplace turned on (switch was in on position). I then tried the 3-way switch at the bottom of the stairs and the GFI tripped immediately. I cannot get the GFI to reset after flipping the breaker switch off and back on. Does this mean the wiring is wrong in the 3-way switch to the 3-way switch upstairs? What steps can I take to troubleshoot? I realized later I didn't have a light bulb in the light at the bottom of the stairs but that shouldn't matter.
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:42 AM   #7
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uncommon 3-way switch connection?


Something is not wired correctly. Are you sure about where all the cables are running between the switches and light. You only mentioned one fixture in your original post. Now you have a fixture at the bottom of the stairs and three lights over the fireplace.
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Old 03-01-2010, 10:58 AM   #8
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uncommon 3-way switch connection?


Here is my rookie analysis of what I think are the 3 main ways to wire a 3-way switch. Feel free to correct me where im wrong.

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Old 03-01-2010, 01:19 PM   #9
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uncommon 3-way switch connection?


Those ways look correct but there are at 5 ways to do it.
power at one switch, fixture at other. Your 2nd drawing
Power and fixture at same switch. Your first drawing
Power at light switch loop. your third darwing
power and both switch at light.
power at switch. light between switches.

Some excellent drawings can be found here.

http://www.selfhelpandmore.com/switch-outlet/
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:49 PM   #10
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uncommon 3-way switch connection?


The run consists of GFI outlet which I then branched off the load to outlet >single-pole switch >3 mini recessed lights above fireplace. The other branch continues to outlet> outlet> 3-way switch.

The 3-way switch is at the bottom of stairs, which is wired in the same box to 3-way switch upstairs and single light at landing at bottom of stairs. I thought at first that I may have accidentally switched the travelers since the upstairs switch is a toggle style and the downstairs switch was a new decorator "rocker" switch and are configured differently. I flipped the red and white wires at the upstairs switch which had no effect.

I also may disconnect the switch from my run temporarily to make sure that is where my problem is. If it still trips, then I know the short is somewhere else. I'll study the wiring tonight, to make sure I did it correctly.

Thanks!
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Old 03-01-2010, 04:40 PM   #11
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uncommon 3-way switch connection?


Since u have 2 separate branches, the first step in troubleshooting would be hook them up 1 at a time and see if it trips. At least that will eliminate 50% of the places where there could be a problem.
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Old 03-01-2010, 06:08 PM   #12
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uncommon 3-way switch connection?


The switch is definitely where the short is. I removed it from the circuit and everything up to that point was good and GFI did not trip. Time to study the diagrams and troubleshooting again. It's exactly as posted as joed's diagram. What I'm not sure about is if the red and white are connected to the appropriate non-common screws on each switch, again one being a toggle and the other a rocker switch. Does it matter what color goes to each traveler screw? I'm going to put in another exact toggle 3-way switch to see if the 3-way downstairs is bad.
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:17 PM   #13
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uncommon 3-way switch connection?


I replaced the downstairs 3-way rocker with a simple 3-way toggle switch exactly the same as upstairs with the screws in the same spot. The GFI still trips. Argh!

To review to make sure this is all correct, the 14-2 entering downstairs box, black wire is connected to common screw. White wire is connected via wire connector to 14-2 white wire to light. The black wire on 14-3 connected to the upstairs common screw is run back to the box downstairs and connected directly by wire connector to black wire in 14-2 to light. The red and white wires between the 2 3-way switches are then connected to the same screws on each switch.

Anything wrong with this? Next, i'm going to replace the 3-way upstairs, maybe that one is bad.
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:26 PM   #14
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uncommon 3-way switch connection?


A traveler terminal on one switch is always connected to a traveler terminal
on the other switch. If you exchange the travelers, the circuit still works.

But you need to be sure you identified the common terminal. It often has a
screw stained darker or a marking such as "C" near it.

If you tripped the breaker when you flipped the switch a few times, there
is a slight chance the switch is now bad.
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:26 PM   #15
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uncommon 3-way switch connection?


You can not do anything wrong at the remote switch that will trip the breaker. The problem has to be at the switch with the power and fixture feeds in it. You have somehow connected the neutral from the power feed to the switch. Make sure you have the white wire from the proper cable on the switch.

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