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Old 10-17-2015, 09:00 PM   #1
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One box, 3x 14/3 wires, 2x 3way switches controlling each their own light


So I've been doing most of the replacement for the light switches without any issues and now I'm in the process of replacing the last one and I think I acted a little carelessly as I untied the whole configuration and now I'm lost...

So I have this one electrical box with 3 sets of wires (14/3), each has a white/black/red/ground lead. As per the picture only #2 is live the other two have no current going through them (at least according to my indicator).

cable set #1 is suppose to control the ceiling fan in the living room along with a switch one floor above.

cable set #3 is suppose to control the light in the kitchen along with a switch in the hallway.

To resume, one electrical box, 2x three-way switches for two difference lights, 3 sets of 14/3 cable, only one live.

I need to hook up two switches (one being a dimmer).

Attached is a picture of the electrical box

edit: In case someone misses it in the title, I'm trying to install two 3-way switches
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One box, 3x 14/3 wires, 2x 3way switches controlling each their own light-untitled.jpg  

Last edited by bender248; 10-17-2015 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 10-17-2015, 10:33 PM   #2
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Which one of the conductors of the cable in the middle is live?

Last edited by poiihy; 10-17-2015 at 10:57 PM. Reason: deleted quote to save space
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Old 10-18-2015, 06:29 AM   #3
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Well all I have is one of those pen shaped current detector, as far as I can tell it reacts with every strands on the middle 14/3. I could get something to tell me the voltage and see which strand has the positive voltage (I think that's what you mean?)
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Old 10-18-2015, 05:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poiihy View Post
Which one of the conductors of the cable in the middle is live?
Ok so I'll try to provide more details

In the middle set of cables:

B-W : 125v
R-W : 95v
R-B : 3.5v

All other cable combinations end up at 0v
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Old 10-19-2015, 03:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bender248 View Post
Ok so I'll try to provide more details

In the middle set of cables:

B-W : 125v
R-W : 95v
R-B : 3.5v

All other cable combinations end up at 0v
Ok, so the black wire of the cable in the center is the line in power. The other readings you are getting are phantom voltage.
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Old 10-19-2015, 08:36 PM   #6
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This is a bit tricky to troubleshoot over the Internet. You might need an ohmeter. To be honest, the 14/3 with the line to neutral 120 throws me off. I'd take it one wire at a time.
I'd start by figuring out which wires are travelers. You'll need to take apart the threeways at the other end and and remove the two wires on the brass screws. Put them under a nut and use an ohmeter to find the set of wires at your mystery box that has near infinite resistance. Once you do that to both three ways you'll have three wires, one from each cable, left to ID.
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Old 10-19-2015, 08:43 PM   #7
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A tip for next time. I twist sets of travelers together, cork screw switch legs and put a wire nut on line voltage wires whenever I install or take apart switch boxes to make the finish work easier. I have had my hands on so many jobs lately that I use a label maker now too.
I worked with a guy who used a dab of nail polish to color code wires.
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arrow3030 View Post
A tip for next time. I twist sets of travelers together, cork screw switch legs and put a wire nut on line voltage wires whenever I install or take apart switch boxes to make the finish work easier. I have had my hands on so many jobs lately that I use a label maker now too.
I worked with a guy who used a dab of nail polish to color code wires.
Speaking of wrapping wires together, in our other house, whoever wired the house wrapped the hot conductor around the traveller wires of a 3-way switch, and did similar to other switches. Basically wrap one wire around others to bundle together. Kinda neat.
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Old 10-20-2015, 06:01 PM   #9
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Thanks for the help, electrical is one of those things that always threw me off. I have an electrician coming on Thursday to help solve this. Hopefully it`s going to be just a piece of cake for him. I capped the wires with marrets for now.
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