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Old 11-12-2007, 05:35 PM   #1
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Unknown switch, what is it for?

I just purchased a home, and at the top and bottom of my stairs there are two sets of light switches. There are also two sets of lights(one at the top, and one at the bottom)

from the bottom:
one switch controls the bottom light, and the other controls the top light.

from the top:
one switch controls the top light, and the other switch does nothing. I assumed the broken top switch controlled the bottom light as well.

I opened up the box and found a switch with 3 connections. I used my DMM to test for voltage across all three wires and found none. I turned off the circuit, and removed the switch and still found no voltage across the wires. More so, the both sets of switches still operate properly without the broken switch or the wires being connected. What is an easy way of finding where these wires go/what they control short of digging through the walls and tracing them?


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Old 11-12-2007, 05:58 PM   #2
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Check the switch at the bottom. Some one probably replaced and didn't connect it properly. Or maybe on purpose disabled the upper switch.


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Old 11-12-2007, 06:12 PM   #3
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Don't work nothing hot! you seem pretty smart. Do you know how to check continuity with that Meter?

Joed may well be on the right track. Patience. you just bought the house so you got time. Post back and we will figure out what you've got.
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Old 11-12-2007, 06:31 PM   #4
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I think i know how to use the multimeter...

anywho, i just opened up the downstairs panel and see that the switch that should control a shared light only has two poles wired. Actually one pole has two wires connected to it. Now i gotta figure out how to put this back together.

any ideas there?
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Old 11-12-2007, 08:28 PM   #5
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This is where your continuity meter comes in. Unless the wires are in pipe. Sounds like two travelers landed under load side of single pole. Are you familiar with how to hook up a 3 way switch? Describe wire colors and it may help.
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Old 11-12-2007, 08:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by DanBress View Post
any ideas there?
Yeah. You should have kept track of what wires went where.


Sometimes I feel like if I answer any more questions it is like someone trying to climb over a fence to jump off a bridge and me giving them a boost.
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