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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all; new to he forum and need advise about 3 way switch wiring. Long story short was attempting to move a 3 way light fixture and when I removed the mud ring, I discovered that there were 18 wires crammed into a 4 X 4 work box. I am not a novice to electrical work and have done several 3 way switch installs. So the problem I am having is when I removed the switches and attempted to locate the hot wire & travelers, I put power to one of the wires in the switch box, and all 3 wires became hot. So I then attempted to switch the power to the other switch box and all 3 of the wires then became hot. Both switches were removed when I attempted to do this. So I found this awesome forum and discovered a thread from Aguerdan dated 11-19-19 and he had the same problem, which was a “California” 3 way and the travelers were hot. So I read the whole thread and he never said how he solved the problem. I assume I will have to pull new 12-3 wires ( no neutrals) in the switch box, and use the neutral wire for a traveler. I can get a neutral in the attic for the fixture. Any help would be great. Thx Shawn.
 

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retired framer
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If your old switches were single pole or only had two wires each you are right. You will need a 3 wire to both switch from the light. then you need to find which wire has the power.
 

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Naildriver
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There are no "3 way light fixtures", only the way in which they are switched. Tell us exactly what you were trying to accomplish. If you were just changing out a 3 way switch for another one, then it would have been done wire-for-wire.

I don't understand what you were doing energizing the switches and having all the wires hot. What else did you do to the wiring?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The power for the 3 way switch was supplied from the light fixture box to one switch then the 2 travelers from that switch box also passed through the light fixture box to the other switch box. I was attempting to separate the wires so I energized one wire going to one of the switch boxes to locate the hot & travelers and when I did that all 3 wires became hot going from the light fixture to the switch box without tying them together. I then attempted to try the other switch box and all 3 wires were hot in that one without tying the wires together. The house was built in the 50’s I think the insulation may be bad on the wires causing them to all become hot.
 
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