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Old 01-08-2015, 11:54 AM   #1
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Wiring for 3-Way Switch


I unsuccessfully replaced a 3-way switch. On the old switch (from 1976), the ground was connected and a white wire was backstabbed to a screw on the left side. On the right side, a red wire was backstabbed on the bottom and another red wire (not cut) was looped around the top screw. I duplicated this on the new 3-way, but the light did not go on.

How do I fix this?
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Old 01-08-2015, 12:22 PM   #2
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What do you mean by red wire not cut?

Look at the old switch. One terminal will be labeled com or common. Two will be labeled traveler (if not they are the only two left anyway). Look at the new switch and find the same thing. Place the wire that was on the old switch "com" on the new switch "com". Place the travelers to the new switch traveler terminals (doesn't matter which one). Put the ground wire on the green terminal of the new switch.
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Old 01-08-2015, 12:35 PM   #3
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Did the red wired that was looped go to another switch? If it did that is the common wire. It needs to go to the common screw of the new switch. It may not be in the same position as it was on the old switch.
Also use the screw connections instead of the back stabs. Back stabs are a common source of failure.
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Old 01-08-2015, 12:40 PM   #4
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your issue most likely is that the terminals of your old switch meaning the location of the common and traveler terminals are not in the same orientation as the new switch. Place the traveler wires on the traveler terminals and the last wire on the common terminal. This last wire will either be constant power or the switched leg to the device.

Last edited by rosem637; 01-08-2015 at 12:42 PM.
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Old 01-08-2015, 01:15 PM   #5
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Are you sure it's a 3-way switch?

Like jogr said, check to make sure you have the wires correct. If you have it wired wrong, usually you'd get light sometimes. Does it work if you flip the untouched switch at all?
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Old 01-08-2015, 01:33 PM   #6
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A red is probably common. That goes on the black screw, and the travelers on the brass screws. You have to figure out which wire is the common with a voltmeter, or try different configurations until it works again. The common is typically your line power in, or switch leg out.

What else is connected to what in the switch box?
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