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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
hello i had this 3 way switch connected this way for about 1 year and today i got the smell of burned plastic and wires partially burned and heard the breaker trip on me.when i fliped the switch... can anyone please let me know if the wiring was correct or incorrect? or could it have possibly been a loose connection? it was hard for me to type out an explanation so i drew a picture as best as i could lol thnaks..!!


https://imgur.com/sk2aHti
 

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That drawing is in no way correct for two switches controlling two lights.
But I do not see an issue that would trip the breaker.

Your problem could be a bad switch or a bad connection.
 

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I can't figure out in your drawing which screw on each switch is the common. I can't think that the red line is the common screws on each switch as that makes no sense. Also travelers are going to the lights each other than to the other switch. I don't see how this could have worked correctly in the past.
 

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Were the exposed ends of the wires burned all the way to the back of the box or only near the switch?

If only the ends near the switch were burned most likely it was a loose connection.

Wires that are stuck into the back of the switch and stay in place by themselves are more likely to develop loose connections than wires held in place, either in a miniature screw clamp or wrapped around a screw.

Loose connections tend to heat up, long before enouth current is drawn to trip a breaker.

Or the switch was working for years but perhaps the normal gradual wear and tear eventually resulted in the switch contacts not quite connecting. Then heat radiated out through metal parts to burn an inch or so of wires just outside the switch. Then wire insulation melted through allowing a live wire or part to touch a grounded wire or part and the breaker tripped.
 
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