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Old 08-29-2010, 09:01 PM   #1
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3 Way Light Switch Replacement is kicking my a**!


I am replacing two 3 way light switches that turn on a light at the bottom of a stairway. I don't know what I'm having so many issues, obviouslly something isn't connected the correct way.

Here are some pictures:

This is the switch upstairs. It only has one feeder bundle with 3 wires in it (black/white/red)



This is the light box. There are two feeder bundles with 3 wirenuts.




This is the switch downstairs. The hot is coming in at the bottom with a wirenut, feeding my problem switch and another one. The red and white that were on the original switch go to a feeder cable, and the white cable from that feeder goes to a wirenut.





So, can anyone help me figure out which cables should go on the COM screw? I believe the other two wires don't matter, they can go on either of the other two screws.

I have tried everything, except moving the red wire. The switch works like 75%. If it's switched downstairs in one way, the upstairs switch works fine. If I change the switch downstairs to the other direction, the upstairs stops working. I'm tired of running to the panel and switching stuff around, thus why I'm posting here!
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:20 PM   #2
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The common is the dark or odd colored screw. In the first pic it is the white on the common. On the second switch it is the black that is not part of the cable with the red.
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:56 PM   #3
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forgot my photobucket login, so use this
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File Type: bmp 3wayz.bmp (62.1 KB, 119 views)
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:25 PM   #4
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up stairs sw needs to have the red to common.white and black to either of the other two screws.in pic of the two switchs,the one on the right is the one you are working with,so white and black of 3-wire cable(white,red,black)to up stairs switch,go on brass screws and the other black will go to common screw this goes to light which is the black and white set of wires going up in center of box.

Last edited by oleguy74; 08-29-2010 at 11:30 PM.
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:42 PM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback, I'm trying everything you guys are telling me.

I'm working with the left switch on the 3rd pic.

Right now, the upstairs switch (first pic) only works if the bottom switch is flipped in one direction. If I move the bottom switch to the other direction, the upstairs switch doesn't work.
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:02 AM   #6
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Ok at the first photo you show us that is the three way switch loop and the red is common { there are few electricians trick to do indentify which is common and what not so that is one way to indentify it}

On third photo the hiot connection will be on " Common " or dark colour screw and that should get it running correct for ya.

The other two is not that circital due it is a shuttle { traveller } conductors.

But there is total of 9 tries if you complety screw it up but if you get one side to work then it will reduce the amout of tries to much lower maybe you may have only have to move one conductor and ya done with it.

Merci.
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Old 08-30-2010, 04:28 AM   #7
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You say the upstairs switch only has power when the 1st floor switch is in one position, but not in the other position. At the 1st floor landing you may have mixed up the 2 black wires on the switch. placing the hot (black) wire on the traveller screw instead of the common screw.

When wired properly, at the 1st floor switch the hot screw should always be hot, and one of the 2 traveller screws must also be hot, which one depending on the position of the switch.
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:53 AM   #8
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Thanks. So you guys are saying the red wire on the upstairs switch (first pic) should be my Common? I will try that when I get off work. Thanks!
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Old 08-30-2010, 04:08 PM   #9
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Maybe your switch is bad. You can check it with an ohmmeter.
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