DIY Home Improvement Forum banner

Trouble shooting 3 way switch issues

627 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  oh'mike
Have a couple 3 way switches in a stairway that aren't wired right. The switch at the bottom works but the switch at the top only works if you switch the bottom one on first. So if you turn the lights off at the bottom switch the top switch won't work at all. Then if you turn the bottom switch so the lights come on the top switch will work.

So from what I know one of the wires on the common is wrong. Is there an easy way to figure out where the wrong wire is so I can fix it?
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
You have a voltage tester?

Figure out which conductor is the hot/energized conductor. That is the point for one of the three ways.

Figure out which conductor goes to the light fixture. That is the other point wire
If you can determine where the wires go then one common screw gets the power from the panel. The other common screw gets the power feed to the light.
You either have a faulty switch or the circuit isn't wired correctly. The main feed goes to the common on one switch . The common on the other switch goes out to the light .The other wires are travelers and go to the other terminals on the switches .
If you have a tester it is not to difficult to sort out--this is how I do it.

Find the hot wire--attach it to the black screw--the two remaining wires are travelers--attach them to the gold screws---

Go to the next switch--test and find a live wire--that is a traveler -mark it.
return to the first switch and flip it--
at the second switch--test the wires--your original 'hot' should now be dead and one other wire is live---that is a traveler-

place both travelers on the gold screws--the remaining wire is the switch leg to the light, place that one on the black screw.

Be careful--you are working with live wires.
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.