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Old 02-22-2009, 07:00 PM   #1
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Wierd 3-Way Swirch Problem.


Ok, I've got a duct blower to help move some heat from above a woodstove to an upstairs bedroom. I have switches on both floors to control it. Current comes in through the bedroom circuit (arc-fault breaker) and the blower is between the switches. So I've been working from the following diagram, and my wires are marked identically.

(Oops - apparently I can't link HTML any better then wires. Image attached below.) http://www.homeimprovementweb.com/in...ch-option3.htm

Initially, I had a problem where the switches kind of worked - but the each switch had to be in the correct position. So, for example, if the left switch was up, the right switch worked. If the left switch was down, the right switch did nothing. And vice/versa.

I quickly figured out I had the hot wire switched with a traveler on the left switch. Swapped them, and tried again. Now, the left switch works, but if I throw the right switch, it trips the breaker?!? I assume the opposite will be true also. So I've now run the following tests and checks.

- Swapped the arc-fault breaker for a known-good regular breaker. I was concerned that the capacitor on the fan motor might be interacting with the arc-fault. There was no change, but it trips slower - slow enough that I can hear the fan start to spin up.

Conclusion - breaker OK (but rest of tests done with regular breaker.)

- Visually confirmed in the fixture and at both switches that the colors/marks matched the diagram above. Hot and load wires connected to the black screw on each switch. Travelers on the brass screws. Verified connection between travelers in the fixture matched the diagram, and made sense with respect to what I saw in each switch.

Conclusion - Travelers ID'd correctly and wired properly (but obviously not!?)

I've now unwired both switches and performed the following tests:

- Checked both switches - No continuity between traveler posts. Continuity between common and only one traveler at a time.

Conclusion - switches are OK.

- Turned breaker on and checked that the wire I had ID'd as hot on the left switch did have voltage to it. And that none of the wires in the fixture box or right switch had voltage.

Conclusion - Hot wire ID'd correctly.

- Checked each traveler for end-to-end continuity, and no continuity to each other or ground, hot, or load.

Conclusion - Travelers ID'd correctly, not damaged, and not screwed up in the fixture.

- Checked for continuity from the common wire (black) on the right switch to ground (ie. through the load)

Conclusion - Load wire ID'd correctly.

So ... any ideas?!
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Last edited by Armitage; 02-22-2009 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:25 PM   #2
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Wierd 3-Way Swirch Problem.


That image is hard to interpret. Try this one.


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Old 02-22-2009, 07:35 PM   #3
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Wierd 3-Way Swirch Problem.


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
That image is hard to interpret. Try this one.

Yep, it's the same. The one I posted is bigger via the link.
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:52 PM   #4
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Wierd 3-Way Swirch Problem.


Solved (I think)
I started taking apart the connections in the fixture and found that I have the romex confused in the fixture box. Which I was sure of because I did that when the walls were open and I could trace the wires. Anyway, I had the neutral from the left switch marked as a traveler, so when the right switch was thrown that way, it went straight to ground.
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